App stores seem to be the latest craze right now, and Intel has become the latest company to succumb to it. With the freshly opened beta of the AppUp center, the chipmaker aims to give netbook users "quick and easy access to applications specifically tailored to their mobile lifestyle."
In a nutshell, the AppUp center (accessible at intelappup.com) offers a collection of free and commercial applications for netbooks running either Windows or Moblin, Intel's netbook-centric Linux distribution. A first batch of apps has already made it through validation and onto the site. Intel names a few examples: a game called Arnold Palmer Golf, Boxee, a Wikihow app, and Yoonoo, which can help users keep tab on their social networking sites. All of those apps look to have user interfaces tweaked for small netbook displays.
Intel is also working with Acer, Asus, Dell, and Samsung on partner stores, "tailored" versions of the AppUp center. Asus, for instance, plans to open an AppUp-powered Eee App Store for its line of Eee PC netbooks "in the coming months." Judging by the screenshot of it Intel links from the announcement, the Eee store looks very similar to the AppUp center, just with different logos.
Looking ahead, Intel plans to expand the AppUp center to include web-based applications written using Microsoft's Silverlight and Adobe's AIR runtime environment. The store will also grow to include software for "the large categories of handheld [consumer electronics] devices, smartphones, consumer electronic appliances, TVs and other devices based on future Intel processor families." Developers interested in joining up can do so from this site—Intel says thousands have already downloaded the "starter-kit."