Mobile Roadie: Android App Maker Review

Mobile Roadie is a popular online app maker for Android, iOS, and mobile web apps. App builders like this one are an interesting choice for those who don’t know how to develop Android apps coding Java. Read on to find out if Mobile Roadie can deliver!
When you sign up for the free trial, you are immediately asked to provide a title, icon name and type for your app. Like all the other app creators I have reviewed, you don’t have to provide credit card info when signing up. However, the free trial only lasts 14 days. During this period, you’ll have access to all of the features of the app creation content management system (CMS), but you won’t be able to submit or launch your app. The free version lets you create a mobile website but if you want an Android or Mobile app, you will need the $99 / month account and for an iPad app the price is $299 / month.

Making an app with Mobile Roadie

After signing up, you are directed to a page with an introductory video and a choice to either go through a setup wizard or go directly to the CMS. The video is slick and gives a nice overview of Mobile Roadie’ features: pretty impressive!
The setup wizard recommends sections based on the “app type” you chose earlier. In my case the app type was “blog” and this yielded exactly zero recommendations!
Oh well, moving on… or so I tried, but the “Next” link didn’t load the next page. So I went back and clicked the “skip to CMS” link. Here you are offered a choice to download the “MoRo Connect” app for previewing your app and upgrading to the paid version. Android and iOS versions of the connect app are offered so naturally I installed the Android version via Google Play. More on this interesting feature later…
On to the main page of the CMS: this page is quite busy with all kinds of options and information. There are some useful videos to get you started with the CMS, submitting and maintaining your app.
Along the top of the screen there are options for adding “App Vitals”, adding content and picking a theme. Clicking one of these changes the main area of the page and in the case of App Vitals, it displays fields for inputting publisher information etc.
Choosing the Add Content option, an array of modules appears which you can add to your app. Many usual suspects are here but also a few interesting ones such as connecting to a Ustream or Livestream account.
One option I missed here was a module for displaying a web page. Several of the modules use internet content but simply displaying a page isn’t on the menu…
The Pick Theme option displays a selection of themes for your app: however, all but the standard one are locked for users of the free version. This theme is however customizable: you can make changes to the colors of the header and footer, upload images for the header or the screen’s background, change fonts and arrange sections. Many of the changes you make are previewed in an app emulator like section of the page.
On the left hand side of the CMS screen is also a list with options: “Dashboard”, “Build”, “Manage”, “Design” and “Engage”. Choosing the options along the top of the screen also changes the selections on the left. I initially found this somewhat confusing. However later I discovered that the items along the left of the screen represent all the options for building and editing your app while the ones at the top are part of an “App Checklist”. Completing all the items on this list enables submitting the app.

App submission and advanced features

Earlier I briefly mentioned the MoRo Connect app. With this app you can view your Mobile Roadie creation on your mobile device as you build it… a very nice feature that I hadn’t encountered yet in other app makers.
If you have a pro account ($99 / month) then you can add feature packs for more design options, premium content sections, commerce, analytics, extra integration options and categories/search. Each option costs and additional $99 / month.
App submission to Google Play (or the iTunes App Store) is handled by the Mobile Roadie Team. You won’t get a .apk file to play with or to publish under your own account. Unfortunately, providing iOS developer credentials in the App Vitals section is mandatory… as I don’t have an iOS developer account and do not intend on getting one anytime soon, completing the checklist was not possible!

Conclusion

Mobile Roadie is clearly aimed at businesses. Like Andromo, the free version doesn’t allow you to publish an Android app. If you don’t intend to upgrade to a subscription of (at least) $99 / month, then Mobile Roadie isn’t for you. You can however make a mobile website for free but that is a separate product and thus beyond the scope of this review.
Feature wise, Mobile Roadie has some nice touches but so do many of its competitors. The MoRo app, which allows you to preview the app on your device as you build it, certainly stands out.
Soon I will be putting out an article comparing all the app creators I’ve reviewed until now… so if you want to know how Mobile Roadie stacks up against it’s competition, stay tuned!