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Apps Builder helps repackage Web sites as mobile apps

An Italian startup is trying to profit from the move from Web to mobile with a migration and customization service. Don't expect the next HTML5 Cut the Rope, though.

Apps Builder lets people create basic apps that will run on multiple mobile devices as well as on the Web.
Apps Builder lets people create basic apps that will run on multiple mobile devices as well as on the Web. Apps Builder

In the battle between native apps and Web sites, an Italian startup called Apps Builder wants to help those on the Web side defect to the enemy.

The company offers a subscription-based Web service that converts Web sites into mobile applications. Last month it added Windows Phone app support to its earlier options--iOS, Android, HTML-based Web apps, and Chrome Web apps. And it's seeing some significant usage of its service.

Specifically, the company just passed the milestone of 20,000 apps developed through Apps Builder, and those apps have been downloaded a million times from their various app stores, said Chief Financial Officer Alessandro Perrone.

The tool costs $19 per application per month for the basic service, $49 per application per month for the advanced service, or $799 per application per year for the professional service in which the company does the app migration itself.

There's also a free version that creates only a Web-app version of the app; it also includes a banner touting the company that's removed for the paid versions.

"There's a huge migration of content from the Web to the mobile ecosystem," Perrone said."We want to provide the tool for this migration."

It's not the sort of tool that will let developers create complicated Web apps like Cut the Rope, though.

People can subscribe for a short period of time, enough to create the app and get it onto the app stores, but if they want to change it again, they'll need to re-subscribe, Perrone said. However, since the apps retrieve content from the Net, content such as menus or graphics can be updated without users having to download a new version of the app.

The apps themselves don't need an Internet connection to run, he added.

The company's co-founders are Chief Executive Daniele Pelleri and Chief Technology Officer Luigi Giglio. Investors in the startup are two Italian venture capitalist funds, Annapurna Ventures and TheNetValue.