Embarcadero Technologies, a company that provides database and developer tools, has launched AppWave, an app store for computers running the Windows operating system.
The store is designed to bring the mobile app experience to desktop and notebook PCs, an experience characterized by software that the company says is easy to install and remove.
Microsoft has an app store, but it only offers apps for the next release of its operating system, Windows 8.
To access AppWave, you need to download and install the store's free custom browser. It allows you to browse the outlet's offerings, as well as install and remove them from your computer. It will also notify you when there's an upgrade available for an app, although it won't upgrade the app automatically for you.
All the current offerings are free programs that can be downloaded elsewhere on the Internet. They include OpenOffice, Google Chrome, Firefox, Evernote, Angry Birds and Picasa.
However there's an advantage to using those programs from AppWave. The installation process is faster. The AppWave software uses a technology called "Smart App Streaming" that lets you run the app while it's being downloaded.
Apps are stored and run locally on the machine, so subsequent launches do not require a network connection. Unlike virtualization technologies, and similar to mobile devices, AppWave's new "Smart App Isolation" technology allows applications to run at full speed and fully integrated with each other and the desktop environment while maintaining "out of the box" PC performance, regardless of the number of apps you download.
Inspiration for the Appwave store came from the app stores for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, and the App Store for Apple's computer line, according to Tony dela Lama, Embarcadero’s senior vice president for research and development.
"That immediacy, that time to satisfaction that you would get from an application is where the world is today," he told PCWorld. "Anything that takes longer than seconds is way too long."
However, there's a significant difference between apps in a place like Google Play or Apple's App Store and those in AppWave. Mobile apps are designed for immediate satisfaction; PC software isn't.
The apps in the AppWave store are still PC software programs at heart. So while AppWave improves the speed of installing a program on a PC, it can't quite emulate the mobile app experience. If the store catches on and developers begin to create software with the outlet in mind, that could change.
In addition to an online consumer store, Embarcadero is also looking to market its AppWave platform to businesses. Enterprise AppWave stores could make life much easier for IT departments, according to dela Lama.
"IT organizations have thousands of users to push software out to and it's a very onerous and difficult process," he explained. "so what we've done is shave off the mountain, make it much simpler so you can have that mobile-like experience on your PC."