Intel to Launch Atom App Store

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Intel CEO Paul Otellini unveiled some interesting tidbits in his keynote address this week at the 2009 Intel Developers Forum. He revealed a next-generation 22nm chip for 2011 and addressed recent developments in the EU antitrust case against Intel, among other things. The thing that caught my attention though was Otellini announcing that Intel is rolling out an app store.

The buzzword of Otellini's address was ‘continuum'. Otellini used the term, rife with ominous Borg-like connotations, to describe Intel's evolution from serving the personal computer market to serving the personal computing market.

That trend isn't new, per se. Processors and microchips have been used in everything from handheld calculators and personal computers to washing machines and refrigerators for some time. The volume of chip-enabled devices and the scope of the functionality they provide have continued to grow though.

The evolution of mobile phones into micro-laptops, and of laptops into mobile devices is just one aspect of the migration from traditional computing sitting in front of a PC to computing anywhere and the continuum apparently.

As an example of the expanding scope of computing, Otellini pointed to recent deals Intel has forged with automobile manufacturers Daimler and BMW to provide Atom-based entertainment systems in vehicles.

To support the continuum and the evolving personal computing platform, Intel is also jumping on the app store bandwagon. Intel wants to provide the tools and platform to encourage developers to build applications for Atom-based devices. It plans to launch as a development platform and eventually offer applications to end-users in an Atom app store.

I have to say, Apple is quite the trend setter. The entire mobile device world is busy trying to emulate the features and functionality of the iPhone, and it seems like every company remotely related to technology is embracing the app store craze.

The problem is that most of them are a disappointment at best. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but poor imitations don't garner the same level of success as the original. Apple's app store, aside from its recent issues and apparent conflicts of interest, has been a success for Apple and for the iPhone app developers, but that doesn't make the concept right for everyone.

The Blackberry app store has been disappointing, verging on embarrassing. Google's Android Market hasn't managed to capture the Apple app store appeal (although improvements made in the recent Android ‘Donut' SDK may significantly improve Android Market). The Palm Pre has experienced a relative degree of success. Microsoft went out of its way to get iPhone developers to defect to the Windows Mobile app store (why bother competing when you can poach?).

Regardless, the app store thing is getting out of hand. The platform for distributing apps was an innovative idea for Apple and it has worked well for them. That doesn't mean every company, device, or platform needs to inundate us with their own version.

What happens when you start to have crossover? Like, a Blackberry running on an Atom-based device? How would you decide which app store to shop at? Maybe we can start an app store for app stores? Sort of the Walmart of app stores. Instead of having to visit a separate app store for every device you own you could just visit the app store clearinghouse for one-stop-shopping. Think about it.

Tony Bradley is an information security and unified communications expert with more than a decade of enterprise IT experience. He tweets as @PCSecurityNews and provides tips, advice, and reviews on information security and unified communications technologies on his site at

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