Why AppUp? A Quick Review of the AppUp Model

This article is sponsored by Intel AppUpSM developer program

Intel launched a beta version of the AppUp Center in January of 2010. We've since come out of beta and added many new features. Here's a look back and forward to help you know what to expect with AppUp. Before you read on, though, we'd like to invite you to enroll in our developer program; also, check out our Million Dollar Development Fund and the Intel AppUp developer challenge, which awards cash prizes on a monthly basis.

Why App Stores Matter

The launch of recent smartphone app stores is relevant. Smartphones are a new computing device that require a new service to sell, distribute, and purchase apps for that device. Existing solutions do not suffice. These new phones require a single and convenient gateway to browse and purchase verified applications for that device. With this new app store model you can, at an instant anytime and anywhere, have a need for an, app then within seconds have that app working on your device. No longer do you need to hunt across many websites, using a variety of installers, with disparate reviews and different methods for purchasing the app. There is one standard for distribution, search, browsing, rating, purchasing, and installing applications. This makes it extremely easy and convenient for consumers and developers.

The App Store Gap

However the market is evolving. Devices will continue to come in all flavors, sizes, and shapes. A store per manufacturer, per carrier, or device will again lead to fragmentation. What about when we get apps on our TVs, netbooks, PC-based tablets, and other smart consumer electronics outside of the smartphone model? How do we get those apps as conveniently as we do on our phones? And what if I have apps purchased from my PC, or TV and now I'm the road using a netbook and I want that app? Also, what if you as a developer create a new service or capability that helps deliver solutions for the store and/or developers?

What's missing is a model that allows developers to get their apps and component services into a store framework for distribution across many devices, many manufacturers, and service providers, while also allowing consumers to access apps they may have purchased on other devices.

The AppUp Model

This is where AppUp comes in. AppUp is an app store framework designed to allow developers to submit apps or app components to stores that serve various devices and operating systems, where those apps are sold by various manufacturers, service providers, and retailers. And from a consumer's perspective. we allow for them to have the AppUp client installed on a multiple systems where their existing purchases are tracked and available for download across compatible systems.

So with AppUp you get all the benefits of an app store, along with the opportunity to distribute and buy apps across manufacturers, service providers and device types.

The Start of AppUp

For Intel, netbooks represent a large existing market of computing devices that lacked apps verified to work well for a netbook. As of 2009, nearly 40 million netbooks had been sold--more than iPhones. And research predicts 150 million netbooks in the market by 2014. Additionally, the AppUp store allows clients to be installed using one account on up to five netbook devices. Thus each of those netbooks has access to all apps purchased under that account.

In terms of development environments, we started with C/C++ and Windows support for our SDK. Again this was a starting place as Netbooks this provided the broadest solution for that community. The SDK for our program has been very lightweight and primarily focused on establishing app initialization and authentication to ensure the app was bought and properly licensed for use on the system running it.

Intel also recognized the need to allow our community to build on the value of the marketplace by creating services and components that will help developers build and sell their apps. With the beta program we created a developer catalog and marketplace within our community. This is already paying dividends for Intel and developers. To date we've seen solutions that are enabling a broader set of apps to get into the store than the SDK alone enables.

Broadening Developer Environments

Beyond C/C++, we have recently announced support for Adobe's AIR runtime and Microsoft .NET. However, these supported languages and runtimes are not the boundaries of app development for AppUp. For Windows apps we have wrappers to be implemented around any language or runtime that Windows can support. Thus, if your app is not written in a language our SDKs support then a wrapper solution allows you to use one of our natively supported languages as a layer in your application for our SDK. Meanwhile, your apps runs in its native environment. The message here is that choice is at the cornerstone of the AppUp model. You can develop apps using the tools, languages, and runtimes that best suit your app needs.

Broadening OS, Device and Storefront Options

Currently, AppUp supports Windows and Moblin aligning with the prevalent OSs for netbook systems, with MeeGo coming soon. MeeGo is a new, full-featured OS that is designed to support netbooks, new smartphones, tablet devices, smart TVs and more. Intel and Nokia announced MeeGo as the next-generation OS that marries the best of Moblin and Maemo operating systems. Shortly after, in May, the netbook version of MeeGo was released. In October, the handset and tablet versions of MeeGo released. Things are moving quickly and we can expect an AppUp client to follow for each of these devices.

Industry and Ecosystem Support

AppUp Center launched as an Intel store. The model is to partner with manufacturers, services providers, and retailers to extend the reach of the Intel AppUp center. Recently, Intel announced agreements with retailers U.S.-based Best Buy, U.K.-based Dixons, Croma India and netbook manufacturer ASUS, to sell netbooks with Intel AppUp center pre-installed, and available online for download.

Show Me The Money

In the end, none of the above matters much if monetization of apps is not realized. We are working to broaden the number of devices and storefronts for AppUp. We believe the potential to monetize applications is ever increasing with AppUp. We also believe there is a huge opportunity for developers to create and sell solutions that help other developers monetize and distribute applications. Perhaps the best option for developers is to consider the ground-floor opportunity for AppUp as it evolves beyond beta. Those who deliver the early apps and early core services and components will in all likelihood translate to earlier success for those developers.

Sign up Today!

If we've piqued your interest, I'd like to once again invite you to enroll in our developer program and also check out our challenge. We also have a great FAQ that can answer most questions, and an excellent community forum that can handle just about everything you can throw at it!