ThinΛpp - A Pre-Built, Fully Customizable Hybrid Mobile App
ThinΛpp - A Pre-Built, Fully Customizable Hybrid Mobile App
We've blended new hybrid technology with over $50k+ in features to create an ultra sleek way to create your own custom app in minutes.
We've blended new hybrid technology with over $50k+ in features to create an ultra sleek way to create your own custom app in minutes. Read more
About this project
WHAT IS THINΛPP?
ThinΛpp is a pre-built Hybrid App platform that makes it easy and affordable to create a custom mobile App - for any business, passion, interest, website or idea.
We wanted to take the best of the latest Web App technology and the best of Native Apps to create a unique, new Hybrid product that was an affordable alternative to those without the huge budgets to create (and maintain) their own custom apps.
ThinΛpp is: 85% Web App + 15% Native App.
ThinΛpp is coded/built with the most popular web based languages and latest internet standards. This makes it more flexible, more affordable, faster to develop and more accessible than traditional “native” based Apps while still having the same look, feel and functionality of a Native App. And, yes, Apps made with ThinΛpp can also be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play - and everything you see in ThinΛpp has been designed for you to substitute in your logos, images, text, backgrounds, icons, content, etc.
Mobile Websites vs Web Apps
As you can see above, the most noticeable difference (at first glance) between a typical Mobile Website and a Web App is that Web Apps are fullscreen (just like Native Apps). Note: You don’t have to download Web Apps - you “install” them (see the section on App Icons below for more on that).
What makes ThinΛpp so unique is that while the giants like Apple and Google battle for App dominance, we’ve made a product that is not platform/device specific - and works on everything - and is way more affordable, easier to make - and easier to understand. Google’s announcement simply proves that there is an increasing interest in creating Apps that do not need to be downloaded. However, ThinΛpp does have an App Wrapper version, which allows it to be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play.
The next thing we wanted to tackle was making it easy to access a Web App. App Icons make it easy for users to quickly access your website (or Web App) without needing to type it into a mobile browser. While this may seem like a small convenience, it can make all the difference in how often users use your website and/or app - or are reminded of your brand when they see the App Icon on their device/phone/tablet.
Most people don’t even know Web Apps have their own App Icons, just like Native Apps. In fact, once it’s on your phone’s homescreen there’s no way to even tell the difference.
Note: Another cool feature of ThinΛpp is that it comes with our ThinΛpp App Wrapper, which is what makes the ThinΛpp Web App into a "Hybrid" and allows your App to be uploaded to the App Store and Google Play. This allows your App to remember which page you left off on, so when a user opens the App (from the Icon) again they are still on the same exact page; Web Apps don't currently have this capability by themselves.
The usability, ease, convenience and technology of Hybrid Apps (if done right) along with the significantly reduced cost is definitely something to consider whether you sell a product, a service, have clients and customers of your own or just want to share your passion, talent, interest or cause with the world.
How To Add App Icons To Your Device
Image on left (below) - This was previously the only known way to prompt a User to add a Web App’s Icon to your phone’s homescreen.
Image on right (below) - ThinΛpp’ also has a custom full screen prompt that only appears if you are not in the Web App and automatically pulls your App Icon.
Note: Apple has been very hesitant to create a method for linking to a Web App (or Web App Icon) directly or starting the Add To Homescreen function from a link, however Google has recently made it possible for Android devices (and we’re in the process of adding this to ThinΛpp).
Note2: Up until recently there wasn’t even much support by Apple, Google and Microsoft for mobile browser based features that contribute to the Web App experience (ie. driven by the mobile browser on your cell phone). In fact, the evolution of mobile browsers themselves had been fairly slow up until the middle of 2015. This could possibly be because Apple, Google and Microsoft’s focuses were all respectively elsewhere. We, and a small movement of developers around the world, however have been eagerly tracking the progress of this technology with each new device (and mobile operating system) release...slowly improving until things finally arrived to a point where we felt the technology was good enough to present a really valuable solution/product.
So we can go on and on - and there is a LOT more, but it would probably be better if you just test the live demo and read more about ThinΛpp at http://getthinapp.com/hybrid (Note: we actually even used ThinΛpp to make our own official sales/info website GetThinApp.com).
And, just in case you already know (or hear) about the couple of popular hybrid platforms that are already out there - as great as they are, they still require a lot more development to mold them into something usable.
That's why what we've done and are doing with ThinΛpp is so revolutionary, we're taking a lot of the unknowns, unnecessary expenses and risk out of creating an App by giving you over $50,000 of already built features that have been design to look and feel like many other popular Apps.
For example - Why pay someone to build user to user messaging when developers supposedly already build it for plenty of clients? - We already built it in. We even built in an Uber-like referral system with promo codes that take part of the user's sign up email or name. And, A lot of other supposed App platforms pay no attention to modern design practices, UI/UX or true native mobile navigability - we keep it simple and elegant. There is a 3 bar "hamburger" menu icon that slides out a menu from the left with all your customizable menu links (and it can easily be switched to the right side).
Here are just some of the other features we took the liberty of pre-building into ThinΛpp:
- Swipe / Touch capabilities
- Real-time GPS Tracking
- Full Screen “App” Mode
- App Icon Prompting
- SMS Text Messages API
- Robust Member Profiles
- Authorize.net Payments
- PayPal Payments Integration
- E-Commerce Store
- Swipe Payments (coming soon)
- Push Notifications (coming soon)*
- and much, much more
We decided to tackle SMS Text Message integration first because we discovered most of our clients' users paid less attention to push notifications than text messages. And since push notifications were already so popular, we knew we'd be able to integrate those - our big focus (so far) has been creating the hardest parts of the hybrid parts of ThinΛpp first - to prove it could be done. And with this Kickstarter, we'll tighten everything up, add all the little customization settings so users can mold it into what they need/want and add the final touches.
THINΛPP & FOUNDER BACKGROUND
In 2008 I built the very first version of an idea I called SillyStats that I'd had for years. It cost me a couple thousand to build/develop (which was a lot of money for me back then and even now) and it was about the simplest version of the idea imaginable. I had received estimates and quotes average $20,000 back then until I found one genius developer who did the first version for $2,000. In fact it ended up costing me so much overall that I actually started teaching myself to code in order to offset the high costs. Thankfully I had a small background in HTML coding from being a freshman in college who wanted to work in the computer labs (because they paid twice as much as the cafeteria) during the year when open source HTML really started to spread.
So, anyway, I kept saving, kept learning to code and kept developing my website/idea more and more. By 2012 I finally built a version of my idea that was good enough that people actually started to "get" it - and I moved it to a name that I'd won in an auction years before, but had sat on because I felt all the other sites/versions up until then were always too embarrassing to put on it - it was AskEachOther.com And, within 4-5 months it was generating 5 figures per month. (Of course I had done some prep work on monetization - and now have relationships with all the biggest mobile/display advertising networks in the world, which is another cool element I'd like to bring to ThinΛpp - if I can get enough traction, I can help monetize Apps/Sites made with ThinΛpp almost instantly.)
I was living high for about 2 years until we basically ran out of money when ad rates began rising so much (mostly due to the height of the fraudulent ads phase of the internet industry) that they completely ate up all our profits - and after doing everything imaginable to plug the leaks, I couldn't help but wonder if something had just existed that helped me build my idea better (earlier) and get it to market quicker I might have saved up enough cash for the company to withstand that eventual rough patch, which by the way destroyed countless other startups too. You just don't hear about stuff like this unless you're already "in" the industry.
During this whole time I was constantly approached by other entrepreneurs and website owners who wanted to know how I "did it" and without even realizing it I had become a sort of coach or consultant to countless people around the nation. And I quickly went on to build smaller successful sister sites that would make AskEachOther stronger as the "head" site, which is another reason I realized a smarter, faster, more high quality way of building websites was needed. Wordpress is great and all, but how many famous sites that actually "do" something do you see made with it? If Wordpress is a standard sedan/car, then ThinΛpp is Tesla.
Interestingly enough these Internet Media Networks quietly became the next big thing in the internet - most people don't realize, but there are huge Internet Media Publishing companies that basically buy up similar pockets of websites that have similar user bases and create massive networks so that they can leverage the combined Audience (like AOL surprisingly, who's been a juggernaut for many users after their initial bust - click here check out their empire of properties.). So basically my gut instinct of diversification was spot on and would've saved me that rough patch had I realized it earlier.
I didn't charge these other entrepreneurs a lot - just enough for my time - my focus was mostly on forging valuable relationships with people who might one day become allies that would help me grow my ventures. And that's another reason why ThinΛpp is so important - because people have to be able to get their ideas out there in more presentable ways faster, so they can realize how much more there is to do and spend money on.
Right now there are only about 1.5 Million Apps in the world and recent studies have proven that most people only use 3-5. That's ridiculous. There are over 50 Million active websites in the US alone, so why so few Apps? Because they're way too complicated and expensive to build and maintain - but even more than that - they're way too expensive to evolve. Do you think the companies that have popular Apps get it right the first time? Doubtful. They hold tons of User testing (I've even been in some of the focus groups) and they do tons of versions of the Apps and constant improvements until they find what works. What normal person or entrepreneur has a staff just lying around to do that? THAT is why there are only 1.5 Million Apps. I truly think ThinΛpp could change all that if we get enough support to create some traction. Google's recent announcement at their I/O conference last week surely indicates that they think Apps should be easier too.
I BEGAN NOTICING PATTERNS IN THE CODE/IDEAS
By late 2013 I began noticing patterns in the coding execution of all these ideas entrepreneurs brought to me (as well as the AEO sister sites I was building) and I constantly grew frustrated because I just didn't understand why websites (and Apps) were just all so hard and costly. So I began brainstorming with a few trusted internet industry colleagues and friends off and on for about a year and we all concluded that some sort of more sophisticated coding framework - vs all the typical CMSs that are out there would be super helpful.
All the while mobile and Apps were just blowing up like crazy everywhere, which would become yet another obstacle that would eventually stand in our way (but would eventually overcome also).
ENOUGH TALK, TIME TO BUILD
By early 2015 I grew tired of talking about it and started to build this theoretical platform. The first version took me about 4 months to build with the help of a couple of developers and myself (I had become quite experienced in UI/UX, so I did all the front end layout and design work and some of the lighter development). All in all it helped me make about 6 custom sites last year (2nd half of 2015 alone).
By the end of 2015 I also began to tackle the ever controversial mobile app capabilities part of website development. And thankfully since that time there have been major updates in mobile browser based technology that have made things very interesting for Mobile Apps (or rather browser based Web Apps as comparable alternatives to Mobile Apps).
HTML5 and the original excitement it had created about Web based Apps had begun to die down, but practical every day user needs and giant social media companies like Facebook had put the pressure on both Google and Apple (indirectly via their user bases) to improve their mobile browsers.
These improvements suddenly started to bridge the gap between mobile browser based Apps (ie. Web Apps) and Native Apps (ie. ones you buy and download in the various App Stores, like iOS Apple, Android and Windows).
But, of course people who had tried before had already given up and didn't quite believe it. Lots of features were constantly broken in new OS updates in some of the most popular cell phones, which discouraged lots of developers from continuing to push the envelop. But I kept on and found work arounds where others had already given up - and found fixes in later versions that others assumed would stay broken.
CURRENT DAY STATUS OF THINΛPP & REASON FOR KICKSTARTER
Today, I have a real, working version of ThinΛpp that I consider somewhere around version 2.1 (it's about 1 year old) and more of a "build-to-taste" product/solution that we've been targeting as more of an "enterprise" solution, which I've made about 10 custom website/web apps with - each becoming easier (and better) than the last and all averaging about $4k. Currently though, (because we keep improving) we can now make most ideas in about 8 to 16 hours. I call this whole part of our operation our ThinΛpp Custom Solution or ThinΛpp Enterprise.
So, the reason why I'm launching a Kickstarter is to make it even more customizable (currently it's about 80 - 85%) version of ThinΛpp (for people), so that out of the box customers can control every visible feature, link, button, color, etc. This version can and may be built on the same base foundation as the current ThinΛpp, but I'm not sure yet as I like to constantly measure whether or not we are sacrificing overall performance for convenience (of updating). In either case (whether we make a 2nd version or continue to expand the main ThinΛpp), I think of the next version (that will come from this Kickstarter) as ThinΛpp Liquid - because it will fluidly be able to adapt to almost any idea (and use). Sort of like pouring liquid into any shaped container - and it just takes on that form.
Plus, the other key reason for this Kickstarter is I'd like to build a community around ThinΛpp, so we can have a "crowd-funded" like monthly subscription service where Members can vote on which features they'd most like to see added next and then get thousand dollar features for a few bucks a month. This would help us constantly improve and enhance the underlying software, features and coding technology - similar to what Apple originally did by pairing iTunes with iPods (and later iPhones). This would give ThinΛpp unlimited possibilities.
It's only a matter of time before I get there on my own, but a successful Kickstarter would allow me to share ThinΛpp with the world so everyone can have their own 100% fully customizable (and brandable) App - much, much sooner, plus we'd have an instant ThinΛpp community!
ps - Mobile browser technology is what makes ThinΛpp so unique and flexible and while no one's really talking about it except a small group of developers around the world who track it for work (or passion), it's about to be a gamer changer. We're on top of this and will keep being on top of it, so as it grows ThinApp will grow stronger.
For example, Apple recently had to make some updates to Mobile Safari, which were game changers that we've already of course put into ThinΛpp - this was brought on by the pressure put on them by the users who use monolith social media apps like Facebook and Instagram which link out to other articles and content on the internet and typically open in "in-app" browsers. These upgrades however, totally helped Hybrid Apps although that's not why Apple did it.
So of course Apple is trying to keep control over the quality and process by which Apps are made and introduced to the world. Google on the other hand is getting a little sick of this (as mentioned by their Instant Apps announcement last week and recent updates to Chrome for Web Apps), which is awesome for the world of mobile apps because the pressure they're putting on Apple by constantly upgrading mobile chrome and Android makes Apple sometimes HAVE to update key elements of Mobile Safari - all of this helps Hybrid App technology BIG time and we want to stay on top of it for the world and put those features in ThinΛpp every single time they come out.
SOME SPECIFIC AREAS I'D LIKE TO IMPROVE
1) User Customization Settings - these are where people make updates, add logos, etc, in the back end to customize ThinΛpp to their idea/needs
2) Deployment / Maintenance - when people sign up for a new ThinApp it would be helpful it the software automatically installed for them. In addition, when we make new updates it would be helpful if the new updates automatically "pushed" to everybody's sites/apps at once in the background. It would allow us to keep the focus on continuing to enhance the usability and adaptability of the entire platform - just as Apple is constantly improving their iPhone's iOS.
3) Mobile App Enhancements - We've created 3 different prototypes that prove how seamless you can integrate web-based mobile sites (or rather Web Apps) with Native Apps (ie. ones you download from the various App Stores) and we need to do a bit more work to fully take advantage of these integrations.
For example, we have created an "App Wrapper" that wraps ThinΛpp in a Native App for iPhones (and iPads), but we think it would be valuable to create Web Services API (this is how Apps talk to Websites and save data), which would allow ThinΛpp to control, push and pull information to and from its App versions.
This would allow us to use the GPS chip of the phone/device, yet instantly pull it inside ThinΛpp which does also have real-time GPS (just not in the background).
Note: Background refreshing GPS is actually fairly new even in iPhones.
We also have an Android version, which is about 90% complete, but just needs to be cleaned up as far as general aesthetic design (UI/UX). We decided to tackle Apple first because that was the more difficult task we wanted to prove could be done because of how much they dominate the App world. Making an App on their platform is far more complicated than Android, so finishing our Android App Wrapper won't be a problem.
Once again, here's our info page: http://getthinapp.com/hybrid Make sure to click the "Learn more" link to see a brief overview of our technology - and make sure to check out our video! Hope you back us - it'll definitely be worth it!
ThinΛpp Rewards Note
If you're in Chicago and pledge $499 or more, we can work on your project together in person. And everyone who pledges will be on our About page's Manifest as a person who helped make ThinΛpp public.
Also, everyone who pledges will get the current version of ThinΛpp instantly free to start exploring - since the official public version will be based off this about 80% or more of it will be the exact same, so you'll actually be able to start building a project right away and getting familiar with the platform.
Just sign up here and choose the Kickstarter Backer option. Our goal is to release the official public version around August 1, 2016 or sooner!
Here's the actual URL Backer sign up link in case the "here" link about doesn't work: http://getthinapp.com/plans
Risks and challenges
Actually this is about the most low risk project imaginable. I already have a full working version of ThinΛpp completed that has over $50,000+ of coding, development, UI/UX, features, etc, which I've made available as a demo and have been using for bigger budget projects (which I don't even profit on that much because I'm more interested in advancing the platform), but I would consider that version not suitable for the masses, as it requires a bit more guidance and support than I have the resources for at this time. That's why I'd like to make ThinΛpp more customizable (fully customizable) before I release it to the public.
I made sure I figured out all the seemingly impossible technology other people around the world said couldn't be done first, so that all was left was tedious clean up and automating/streamlining the platform. So really, that's all that's left and unfortunately making it smooth for the end user takes a LOT of time, user feedback and money.
So, your support and backing will help me get this to the world faster and build a community around ThinΛpp!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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