Netbooks are about to make a big step in their evolution by getting their very own AppStore. It is developed by no other than Intel, which is behind the most popular CPU used in netbooks, the Atom (you can almost say it’s the netbook CPU).
The new AppStore will be targeting both Windows and Moblin (Intel’s own Linux-based OS designed specifically for netbooks) with more platforms on the way (Adobe’s AIR and Microsoft’s Silverlight for example). Intel has ensured themselves support from the major netbook manufacturers who will preinstall the AppStore client on every device they sell.
But make no mistake, this here AppStore is no imaginary thing, it’s already opened for app submission.
Of course, it’s going to be a while before it launches some time in 2010. The way the store is going to work follows Apple’s AppStore quite closely – applications need to pass through an approval process first, and then the developer splits the revenue with Intel 70/30.
This approach is proven to work so it’s a good choice, though I hope the approval process is more transparent. Time will tell I suppose. Word from Intel is that a lot of developers are joining in so the AppStore won’t suffer from the same problems other stores have been experiencing. Especially since many of the initial apps will probably be just regular apps that are already been used on netbooks right now.
A successful app store can be huge for netbooks. They are already eating into laptop sales, but a netbook packing 3G connectivity plus an AppStore could even eat away at some of the smartphone market.
Why, not – you can buy a decent netbook for 250-350 US dollars, but you won’t get an HTC Hero for that kind of cash. Some netbooks are subsidized just like mobile phones, if you’re thinking you can just get a phone for free on a contract.
You can join the Intel Developer Program today, if you feel up to a Developer Challenge
The Intel netbook AppStore will probably increase the number of netbooks sold with Linux too – many buyers can’t tell PCI from PS/2, so they stick with what they know and buy a Windows machine. Windows really has the advantage of familiarity – many people computer knowledge hardly extends beyond Internet Explorer and Word.
But with Linux things seem quite complicated to newcomers. For example, which IM client should I use – Kopete, Pidgin or maybe Empathy? To find out which is best, I’d have to go to each of the individual sites for the application and then check a forum or two to gauge users response to the app.
An AppStore keeps this simple – search for “chat”, read the reviews of the top three rated applications, pick one, install it and enjoy. I expect this simplicity will lead to the AppStore being used on quite a few laptops and even desktop computers, not just netbooks. And did I hear somebody say “Hello, Windows 8 AppStore!”