Intel online software stores set to conquer world
First North America, now Europe, then...
Intel has expanded the beta versions of its online Windows 7 and Windows XP netbook-software storefronts to include Moblin 2.1 in the US and Canada. It has also announced it will soon move across the pond to offer Windows and Moblin 2.1 apps to anyone whose currency is denominated with a £ or €.
On March 31, the Intel AppUp Center Beta will become available in 27 European countries - although at launch only English will be supported, with other languages to be rolled out over time.
Intel's Peter Biddle, headman of AppUp products and services, told The Reg that a multi-language roll-out is on the way. "There's a bunch of moving parts in this system - not the least of which being things like VAT. We're starting with English and the Euro, and then we'll be rolling out localizations into local European languages over time."
Developers must submit their netbook applications to the Intel Atom Developer Program for validation before those apps can be accepted into the AppUp Center storefronts. However, Intel promises that the validation process will be less onerous than what many developers have experienced from, say, Apple's App Store police.
"We heard very clear feedback from the software-development community that we needed to be transparent and not seemingly random or capricious," Biddle said. "That's why we published our guidelines right off the bat. That's why we are being as transparent as we possibly can about what the requirements are going to be, as well as providing you with direct and accurate feedback about where you are in the queue, and the reasons - if you do fail validation - why, and remedial steps to fix it."
The AppUp Center will be managed by Intel, but netbook vendors will be able to add their own custom front-ends to Intel's "storefront" back-end. "We call them 'storefronts'," Biddle told us, "because when you think about what it takes to run a store, things like back-end, validation, and catalog are all implied - and those are all things that we manage."
No specific netbook-manufacturing partners were part of Thursday's announcement, although Intel CEO Paul Otellini had said during the AppUp Center's coming-out party at this year's Consumer Electronics Show that Acer, Asus, Dell and Samsung had all committed "to build AppUp Center storefronts of their own." However, Biddle said: "We're still working with those guys and super-excited about them. And they're awesome."
Those still-to-be-announced netbook vendors will have a high degree of freedom in designing their front-ends. "Right now you go to the Intel beta storefront. In the future, we look to you being able to go to an Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Samsung storefront - and other unannounced partner storefronts - and at that storefront you will see the offerings that that e-tailer wants to highlight, as well as the listings they want to make available. They have control over the catalog, over what gets listed. They also have control over ... a 'top five,' for example, or 'store picks,' or 'editor picks.'"