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DIY Mobile Apps: To Infinity and Beyond

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Whenever I'd whine about doing chores as a child, my grandma would always say, "If we can put a man on the moon, you can make your bed." I grew up hating the "if we can put a man on the moon" schtick; but now, my grandma's words echo more loudly than ever.

"Welcome to the new world of commercial space," says Geekwire co-founder and editor Todd Bishop, who recently wrote an article about the launch of a private spacecraft by asteroid mining company Planetary Resources.

Yesterday, Planetary Resources, in fact our close Redmond neighbor, launched their Arkyd 3 engineering demonstrator, a piece of spacecraft designed to test whether the company can utilize mobile device technology and limited manpower to operate their equipment in space. (Nevermind the craft exploded shortly after liftoff-- we all need a practice run once in a while!). Eventually, though, the company hopes to mine and study asteroids for precious metals and natural resources.

Perhaps most compelling about this story, as Planetary Resources' president and head engineer explains, "Our goal is to have three people in their pajamas and an iPad operating the spacecraft, at most."

Can we just pause for one second to imagine Houston's flight controllers coordinating critical space missions in their pajamas? I digress.

Bishop also points out that Planetary Resources has shelled out hundreds of thousands of dollars for the launch.

Okay, if that didn't make you pause for at least a moment, just read on. Hundreds of thousands of dollars. For a spacecraft launch. In 2014.

There you go! Crazy, right? Planetary Resources found a way to launch their equipment into space for a months'-long trip for under a million dollars, all from the convenience of an iPad. These are innovations that, just a few short years ago, we didn't even have the technology to imagine, let alone execute.

If we can send equipment to the moon in our pajamas and on the cheap, the possibilities are truly endless. What else can we do with our iPads, in our nighttime underclothes?

In fact, mobile app development was once the "mission to the moon" of the mobile application world. Whereas it once took sophisticated designers, an IT department, a hefty budget, and six months to a year to build a mobile app; making your own mobile app is now as easy as creating a spreadsheet-- something over 500 million people are already doing.

AppSheet has made it monumentally easy to build and deploy rich mobile apps that are ready to help simplify your daily activities right out of the gate, whether you're a small business, a team within a business, or simply a human who needs better productivity tools.

And you don't even have to put real clothes on.

Welcome to the new world of mobile apps.

Posted by Julia Guthrie on Oct 28, 2014 6:14:03 AM