In private beta since September 2009, Podio opened its online work environment to the public on Thursday. On Podio, you will find the standard applications you need to run a business or an organization, from project management and CRM to accounting and HR. Across all apps, there is a collaboration layer that allows people to rapidly exchange information and crowd source various tasks via usual social networking tools such as a live stream for micro-blogging or messaging systems limited to specific work environments and teams, called “spaces”.
The key feature of Podio is the great flexibility it offers in customizing any work space by building apps yourself – no developing skills are required – or by simply getting them from the Podio Appstore.
It is very simple to get started: you just have to create a space, invite contacts and start adding and customizing the apps needed to complete your mission. The platform provides basic features such as document sharing, active streams, task management, contacts, multi-lingual support, reporting and calendaring that can be used across all applications which are integrated in a unified user interface.
From the brief demo I got from Phil Chambers, CTO, Podio, I could tell that the user interface is easy to use, and integrates cleverly the social networking tools to enhance productivity and collaboration. I have seen many web 2.0 collaboration platform such as Basecamp or Central Desktop, but this is the only one I have seen offering users the ability to build their own applications so rapidly.
Pricing looks fair to me; it is free for up to 10 users, than $99 up to 25 users and then, each additional user costs $4 per month.
Features include, from the press release:
Podio App Store – More than 200 specialized work apps can be leveraged in any space. If you do no need all the features in an app, each application can be modified.
Podio App Builder – If you can’t find the application in the Podio App Store, you can build your own. Podio allows anyone to bring together features and functionality into a single, custom application that can be leveraged by everyone in your online work environment. Users have so far developed more than 2000 individual applications on their own.
Android and iPhone App – Take your workspaces on the go with Podio for iPhone and Android. Manage tasks, view documents and update calendars and status all from your phone.