FileMaker on Tuesday released three new editions of its Bento personal database software for consumers and SMBs, including the first Bento app to be “optimized” for Apple’s iPad 3.
FileMaker, a wholly owned subsidiary of Apple, sees the iPad as an ideal platform for Bento, particularly with the addition of the retina display in iPad 3, said Beth Nagengast, product marketing manager at FileMaker, in a briefing for TabletPCReview.
A younger cousin to the company’s more enterprise-oriented FileMaker Pro software for MacOS and Windows, Bento is geared to giving very small businesses, independent consultants, freelancers, and home hobbyists a streamlined and easily personalizable way of doing things like tracking projects, organizing contacts, and planning their schedules. After initially releasing Bento for MacOS only, FileMaker added an app for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch back in 2009, following up with the first edition for iPad in April, 2010.
In the new Bento 4 for iPad, users can look at and interact with information through a choice of three views: Table, Split, and Full Screen. The new iPad app also allows for one-tap linking to the Bento Template Exchange for free downloads of ready-to-use templates for performing tasks like expense reporting, inventory management, and maintaining “to do” lists, to name just a few.
In effect, though, customers can also easily create their own Bento “apps,” though built-in design tools for creating forms and customizing existing templates, according to Nagengast.
To take advantage of the iPad 3’s bright retina display, Bento 4 for iPad also includes 40 “retina display-ready themes” for customizing the display of information through coordinated backgrounds, fonts, and shading in selectable “personal styles.”
In addition, you can create your own libraries on the iPad. Other features include the ability to perform to calculations and add GPS location fields. To keep information private and secure, you can choose to encrypt database fields, Nagengast said.
Also on Tuesday, FileMaker released new editions of Bento for the iPhone and the Mac, but both of those new releases are simply compatibility upgrades to Bento 4 for iPad, she told us.
In a series of demos, Nagenpgast showed how you can use Bento 4 for iPad to manage a project such as creating a new Web site or to plan an event such as a sales meeting at a resort location. In planning an event, for example, you can manage and view contacts, tasks, expenses, and photos quickly and simply, all in the same place, according to the product marketing manager.
Early users of Bento 4 for iPad have ranged from physicians to disc jockeys, photographers, and film editors, for instance.
FileMaker also offers separate editions of its FileMaker Go mobile business database app for the iPhone and iPad. Users of FileMaker Go have included pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. and Acorn Rentals, a nationwide car rental agency in Australia.
Bento 4 for iPad is available immediately in the iTunes app store. Pricing is $4.99 from now through July 31 and $9.99 starting August 1. Bento for iPhone is priced at $4.99. The new Bento 4.1 for Mac, also compatible with Bento 4 for iPad, is available in both the Mac App Store and on Filemaker.com at pricing of $29.99 through July 31 and $49.99 through August 1.
Correction: An early version of this story stated incorrectly that Bento 4 for iPad is the first edition of Bento for iPad.