Because there can never be too many application stores, Intel has joined the online app store party with its AppUp center. Previously in beta, the online store for consumers will offer a number of free and paid social networking, gaming, and productivity applications for netbooks.
Applications from Accuweather, Barnes & Noble, Funkitron, Gibson Guitars, iWin, Kaplan, Konami, and Lifetime are currently available from AppUp. Only netbooks with Intel processors running Windows will be part of AppUp at this time.
The company finalized a deal with Best Buy in the US to include AppUp on all netbooks sold in those stores. Similar deals are in place with UK’s Dixons and India’s Croma, Intel said. Asus will have its own branded version of AppUp on its netbooks starting in October.
Most netbooks sold today run Windows on Intel’s low-power Atom processors, although several Linux variants are also available on the market.
Despite recent high-profile comments to the contrary, netbooks are still selling, especially to business users. Research firm Techaisle expects 36 million netbooks to be sold this year.
Even so, Techaisle does expect netbook sales to decline starting 2011 and through 2013 or 2014, as the price of standard-size notebooks become comparable and the tablets gain more momentum and traction in the market.
Intel is watching the netbook market. While Intel is initially targetting netbooks, the company plans to take the online store beyond mini-laptops to other mobile devices running Intel processors. The chipmaker is particularly interested in devices that will run MeeGo, an open-source operating system developed in by Intel and Nokia and hosted by the Linux Foundation.
Intel launched an AppUp Developer Program to provide the software tools necessary for building apps for MeeGo devices and netbooks.