Last week, at Intel’s Santa Clara HQ, journalists from China, Russia and the UK, rolled up at a lunch time press conference hosted by Intel Capital, Intel’s investment and M&A organisation.
The speakers were Arvind Sodhani, president of Intel Capital, and Renee James Intel senior VP and general manager of the Software and Services Group.
The presence of James must have got the journos antennas twitching. It certainly did for Softtalkmobile.
James is usually planted firmly on the software side of things at Intel, so we assumed this would be an announcement related to the possible acquisition of a reasonably large software house.
Instead Sodhani announced a $100 million (€74m) fund for Intel AppUp.
Essentially, the fund is designed to invest in software tools, service companies and developers who are creating innovative apps and digital content for the mobile and PC ecosystem at the Intel AppUp Center.
At another level it wasn’t that great a surprise. The Intel AppUp developer program and the AppUp Center have been consistently sniped at in the past year or so.
When you consider the startling success of some app stores, this is hardly surprising. Those who have been doing the shooting have naturally assumed that Intel has been trying to compete with the success of Apple, for example.
This approach, while understandable, misses the big picture.
Softtalkmobile has always held the the view that Intel AppUp is playing the long game when it comes to app stores and developer programmes. The $100 million investment seems to confirm this view.
James pointed out that monies will be invested in developers doing innovative things with apps for Intel architecture (IA) devices. As an example, Urban Airship and 4tiitoo were rolled out at the conference as examples of developers receiving funds.
Urban Airship’s platform enables developers to build a new class of apps that are smarter, more context-aware and more valuable to users. 4tiitoo specialises in the development of open-source based software and supports apps from multiple platforms and technologies.
Specifically, the $100 million fund will focus on infrastructure applications, middleware and context-aware computing. The fund is also designed to encourage developers to move to HTML 5 and create apps that can used across any device and platform including Windows, Android, Chrome, Tizen (when it surfaces) and even iOS.
An equally important element is the development of curation services.
The Intel AppUp Center currently has about 5,000 apps in it with 200 to 300 enjoying top ranking. However, there are lots of apps that people would like to use but can’t find easily and quickly – hence the importance of curation services, in which apps will be grouped, or curated, according to their relevance and interest to users.
Intel AppUp Center is currently in 28 countries and its presence is growing, so the curation drive has also got to be relevant to local markets, for example, apps with local flavours and in local languages.
The big picture is best summed up by Sodhani, who said: “The Intel Capital AppUp Fund will help encourage the creation of companies interested in delivering or enabling applications that enhance and extend the online experience for the 15 billion devices expected to be connected by 2015.”
That’s the long view – which, as we see it, the Intel AppUp Center has always been about. Of course, to realise long-term ambitions, short-term goals need to be used as stepping stones, but it’s worth holding in mind that the Intel AppUp Center of 2015 is going to be a much larger beast than it is today.
On a separate but related note – the Intel AppUp developer program is hosting a webinar about developing or porting HMTL5 applications to the Intel AppUp Center on December 7th between 10:30 AM and 11:30 AM GMT.
You’ll get some good insight into the developer program, the business model and the opportunities for developers. You can reserve your place by clicking here – but don’t delay spaces are limited.
Source Mobile Entertainment