Intel hopes to boost flagging AppUp store

Compared to other app stores, AppUp's usage has been poor

Intel is making some changes to its AppUp store in hopes of improving what it admits has been dismal usage.

During its AppUp Elements conference for developers in Seattle, Intel said that 807,000 applications have been downloaded and 350,000 consumers have registered to use the store. The store, which launched in 2010, was designed to spur application development for netbooks. It also includes apps for PCs.

"We've sucked on getting consumers. It's proved more of a challenge for us than we thought," said Peter Biddle, general manager for AppUp.

To help spur usage, Intel plans to offer new features that developers can add to their apps, like in-app billing. In addition, it plans to offer a service that easily connects developers to other services they may want to tie into their applications, like location information or restaurant reviews.

It also plans to offer ways that third parties can curate the store. "We thought, maybe we should just try to compete directly with iTunes, but that seemed like a step back," said Biddle. "But now we're stepping forward. We're embracing the notion that the world will be good about telling other parts of the world about the neat things they've found."

Apple's App Store is the largest of its kind but has been criticized for being so large that it's difficult for people to find useful applications. In hopes of avoiding that kind of problem, Intel will allow people to create their own stores. For instance, someone with a photography website could build a store to steer people to photography-related apps in AppUp.

Intel already has 22 curators today but expects to have thousands in the future, it said.

Intel also announced on Wednesday the AppUp Creator, a beta service aimed at making it easy for anyone to build applications. Users can create a simple Web app and include elements like discussion forums, videos and photographs by dragging and dropping the elements onto a page.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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