Mobile Roadie  has updated its platform, changed its pricing structure and now offers native iPad apps and mobile-optimized web pages. The three-year-old company offers a do-it-yourself app creation and hosting platform that now powers 3,000 apps - 1,500 in the last 9 months - to 20 million end users. The company has a range of customers - including soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo - but focuses on music and powers apps by the likes of Taylor Swift, David Guetta and Adele.
The changes were made to adapt to the way people now access online content. "We're now living in a mobile first world," said Michael Schneider, CEO of Mobile Roadie in a statement. "With traffic from mobile devices and tablets surpassing desktop shortly, every brand and small business worldwide needs a high quality, low cost mobile presence."
The addition of native iPad apps allows Mobile Roadie to take advantage of the tablet's larger screen to offer parallax scrolling, slideshows and high-resolution graphics layers. Content can be synced with apps for iPhone, Android and mobile website versions. The iPad tier costs $499 per month or $4,999 per year.
The company's new mobile-optimized web pages help solve a problem in the age of the smartphone: web pages often are not built with small screens in mind even though mobile traffic represented 10.6% of all web traffic in late February, according to Chitika  (much more mobile traffic comes from apps). The mobile offering is free with limited features or $9 per month or $99 per year with commenting and social features.
Existing pricing tiers have been changed. The prices of both the low-tier "Core" and top-tier "Pro" have been increased but the set-up fees have been dropped. "Core" costs $99 per month or $999 per year and additional feature packages cost an additional $99/$999. The "Pro" tier costs $499 per month or $4,999 per year. The mid-tier "Plus" offering is gone. The distance between the two tiers can be bridged with features packages that cost $99 per month or $999 per year apiece.
Mobile Roadie clearly thinks site design - as well as content - should be optimized for mobile browsing. So does usability expert Jakob Nielsen of the Nielsen Nielsen Norman Group , although his April 12 post "Mobile Site vs. Full Site" created much disagreement  (full report available here ). Nielsen's tests revealed that mobile sites should have fewer features, briefer content and enlarged interface elements "to accommodate the 'fat finger' problem." Following these guidelines will give mobile users "a vastly better user experience" for a majority of the tasks. That's what Mobile Roadie is shooting for - and it's making mobile easy and affordable, too.