Acer has just announced plans to launch its own application store designed for all the operating systems is supports, including Microsoft Windows, Windows Mobile, Google's Android platform and Google Chrome. The new store will launch mid-year for the first three platforms listed, with apps for Chrome set to launch later on. Although no exact time frame was given, the Chrome apps are likely to appear by the third or fourth quarter of 2010 to coincide with the debut of Acer's line of Chrome OS netbooks, a group that will account for 10% of Acer's ultra-portable PCs.Have we reached app store saturation yet? Apparently not. PC manufacturer
The Acer App Store
Acer, currently the world's second-largest computer vendor, mentioned the application store among a series of initiatives designed to boost the company's profitability, according to a report on Bloomberg.com. From what it sounds like, Acer is glomming onto every major tech trend with plans that include everything from an e-reader to a Tablet PC. In fact, Acer chairman J.T. Want even admits this is the case: "We'd like to proactively purse any opportunity," he said.
One of those opportunities is the new Acer application store, an online venture that will offer hundreds of different applications, both free and paid. However, the company wouldn't share pricing details or name developers, noted the Bloomberg story.
Although application stores are typically associated with mobile phones, Acer wouldn't be the first vendor to launch an applications store designed for use on PCs. Earlier this month, chip maker Intel launched the AppUp site, an application store designed specifically for netbook computers. Interestingly enough, AppUp is meant to be a white-label offering that PC manufacturers can customize to their own needs. At the time of its launch at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Intel announced several partnerships with other PC makers to bring the AppUp store to consumers. Included among those launch partners was Acer. Gianpiero Morbello, Acer's worldwide marketing VP said that by accessing the AppUp catalog, their company would be able to distribute "innovative software downloads to Acer Atom processor-based netbook customers and move to easily support additional Acer customers on any device powered by an Intel processor."
So Is This Yet Another App Store?
However, despite the sparse details surrounding the upcoming Acer app store, it does sound like the manufacturer is planning their own venture of sorts. Intel's store only supports Windows netbooks and the Moblin Linux operating system - not mobile devices like Windows Mobile or Google Android and definitely not Google's new netbook OS, Google Chrome.
Intel confirms that the previously announced joint venture is still on, with their company providing behind-the-scenes support for infrastructure, testing, and validation of apps. And while Intel isn't privy to Acer's other plans, it does appear that this would be a separate store from whatever Acer is envisioning for the other platforms outside of Atom-based netbooks.
It's understandable that Acer wants to generate some hype surrounding their products by offering an app store to their customers, but at this point they may be simply confusing the issue. Many of the platforms Acer plans to support already offer their own application stores - even Google's Chrome OS, the Web-based operating system set to launch by year-end. And, of course, one could argue that the Internet itself has been the app store for Windows computers for many years now.