Intel AppUp Store preps to exit beta, invade Best Buy shelves

At CES in January, Intel gave everyone a glimpse at the AppUp Center—effectively an iTunes App Store copycat targeted at Windows- and Moblin-powered netbooks. The chipmaker is now getting ready to pull the software out of beta and release it into the wild, with backing from major e-tailers in the U.S., the United Kingdom, and India.

Scott, who's roaming the halls of IDF as we speak, tells me the AppUp Center will come out of beta later today. Intel has secured retail partnerships with Best Buy, Dixons, and Croma, so if you go shopping for a netbook at those stores this fall, don't be surprised to see the AppUp Center software pre-installed.

We've also learned Barnes & Noble's free Nook app will be available via AppUp, and that developers will get access to Havok physics free of charge. Presumably, Intel would like to see some games on Atom netbooks... in spite of their extremely limited graphics capabilities. Let's keep our fingers crossed for some really good 2D physics games.

We'll have to take a look at the full release, but the AppUp Center beta (already available at seemed to me like an awkward replica of the iTunes App Store. The main window is stuck at a resolution of 1024x600, scrolling app lists is sluggish, app descriptions are needlessly terse, and there's no easy way to check out developer websites to find more information. Even the built-in search doesn't seem to do its job very well, finding no matches for "word processing" even with Corel Write listed on the home screen.

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