52apps CEO: We will build a great app every week of the year

With a little help from students in South Carolina, the startup has an ambitious game plan.

52apps, a mobile software startup, has an ambition in mind -- to create a problem-solving application compatible with an iPhone or iPad every week.

The company, based at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, has enlisted the help of students at the academic institution. CEO Steve Leicht, one of three staff members at the company who are not students, said that any app can be created in five days using "premade programming Lego blocks".


The San Francisco Chronicle reports that once this chunk of code has been applied to app development, it gains GPS features and the ability to share content across social media sites including Twitter and Facebook. Naturally, if small teams are going to compete with well-funded or experienced developers, these features are now expected by iPhone and iPad users.

Simplified development tools like this will allow anyone with little experience to try their hand at creating an application. Vivek Wadhwa, a lecturer who has roles at Stanford, Duke and Emory universities said:

"What they are doing is very cool. The startup scene in South Carolina is very small, but there are sparks of light, and this is one of them."

Leicht told Bloomberg West that his company will aim to create an app that "solves a specific problem that's not being addressed by an application today." But where do the ideas come from?

According to Leicht, it is local communities that provide inspiration. "We're soliciting ideas from the community for those applications," Leicht said. "So we have app idea days where we actually go out in almost a Shark Tank fashion to let people present those ideas, as well as we have an online submission form on our website."

Every Monday, the 52apps team will meet to choose the week's application. The programming begins by lunchtime, and a beta version is tested by Thursday. On Friday, the celebrations begin and the app is sent to Apple's App Store.

Since 52apps launched in June, six applications have been submitted to Apple. Two are now available; Tapnotes which lets users play back selected portions of recordings, and PDF Recombinator, which creates PDF files from images. The other four applications are pending approval from Apple.

Applications created from ideas submitted by the general public receive royalties of between 5 and 10 percent of sales. The two co-owners have created a popular application in the past, SmartNote, which has been downloaded over 500,000 times.