Product catalogs get an iPad makeover with Cooliris’ new Decks app

March 10, 2011

Fresh off a recent $9.6 million funding round, Cooliris is launching a new app that aims to re-invent the old-fashioned product catalog for the iPad generation.Decks

The new Decks app, available on Thursday in the iPad apps store, lets consumers create personalized catalogs of their favorite brands and products in a format that the company says is optimized for a tablet PCs’s touchscreen.

Each catalog, which the company likens to individual cards of a deck, automatically updates to showcase new deals and promotions, and can be flipped through in a slide-show-like experience – think Flipboard for shopping.

The launch of Decks comes a month after Cooliris, whose backers include VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, released a group photo-sharing app for smartphones dubbed LiveShare. And CEO Soujanya Bhumkar says the company’s 3D video navigation product for desktop PCs is nearing the 40-million download mark.

Catalogs, he says, are ripe for an upgrade.

“Today what happens is, I get one big catalog. It is not customized to my experience. People think one size fits all. The truth is one size fits none,” he told Reuters.

The idea of Decks, he explained, is to let a consumer browse snazzy-looking catalogs, heavy on photos and multimedia, and quickly buy the items that catch their eye. A catalog can be customized to highlight only deals on jogging sneakers from Zappos.com in the $50 to $100 range, for example, or to display only Puma sneakers. And without opening a separate application or navigating to a separate website, a consumer can quickly pull up a different catalog displaying the latest restaurant deals or new movie openings in their neighborhood.

Of course, a deep well of merchandise is key for an app like Decks to truly strut its stuff.

At launch, the app has only five participating providers: Zappos.com, Groupon, The New York Times Best Sellers List, top movies and the most popular iPad apps.

But the company says it intends to forge partnerships with more brands and merchants, and that its do-it-yourself Decks Editor allows any business to create its own catalogs that can be added to the application.

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[...] The iPad has already changed the magazine, newspaper and comic book industries, so what print industries are left…? Oh, yeah; catalogs. Luckily, now there’s an app for that. [...]