Intel pushing for more multi-platform mobile apps

There are thousands upon thousands of mobile apps available today, but Intel believes that the future of the app economy is calling for more multi-platform applications.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Increasingly, people expect the mobile and computing experiences they have to be provided by apps rather than the machines themselves, according to Peter Biddle, general manager of Intel’s AppUp products and services division.

Speaking at Intel's Software Media Day in San Francisco on Thursday, Biddle argued that the key to making mobile customers happy is to hand them a positive experience, and then continue to delight them with that experience on multiple devices.

There currently over 800,000 mobile apps available and counting, with roughly 120 app stores selling them. However, only two vendors are selling the vast majority of these programs: Apple's iTunes App Store and Google's Android Market.

The problem with producing multi-platform, multi-device and multi-CPU supported apps that Intel wants to see is that it's very difficult for developers to be able to make such products. Biddle noted that there are few tools in iOS SDK to extend their identities when developing for Android devices.

However, Biddle's argument posited that this model isn't going to work in the long-term as customers don't care where they are using an app and where the data is stored (i.e. the cloud or locally) -- so long as they can pick up where they left off on other devices.

Thus, Intel has proposed a long-term vision, which is basically an open platform based on the following three ideas:

  • Give creators a great end-to-end platform creation, delivery and services
  • Enable customers with the best infrastructure and integration
  • Provide consumers with great differentiated apps, content and services

For now, the simplest resolution might be what Biddle referred to as the "hybrid-app" model, which Intel is investing in and follows along the same lines as what was iterated during Dreamforce 2011 last week: an app based on HTML5 and Javascript. This method resolves a number of problems as it opens the doors to multi-platform apps with features (i.e. in-app billing) that might be prohibited by one app store but allowed by another.

This simplifies the problem for the short-term as it eases time and work constraints on developers, but it also suggests that mobile users will be connected to the Internet at all times -- which might be true for most smartphone owners but not the majority of tablet users. Thus, these consumers are still going to be interested in buying apps for local use without the necessity of an Internet connection.


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