announced its Alive store, a single place to buy apps for all Acer platforms, including its newly announced Android and Windows tablets, plus its PCs and smartphones. The store, which launches in December in the UK and Italy, will begin rolling out to other markets ?worldwide in Q1 2011. With Alive, users store their app downloads "in the cloud" within Alive's "MyLibrary" section, and then can share those apps across devices.Last week, hardware manufacturer Acer
In Alive, apps are categorized in five sections: Listen, Watch, Read, Play and Application (general purpose apps). But where is the content coming from? And will third-party developers have a chance to submit their own apps for inclusion?
About the Alive App Store & Clear.fi
At first, Alive will only support Acer's Windows 7 devices, but later in the year, Acer's new Android tablets and other mobile devices should have access as well.
Content is shared between devices using clear.fi, an Acer technology based on DLNA, which can also share content between the device and the cloud - that is, to services like Facebook, Flickr and YouTube, for example. (DLNA is the organization behind a technology specification for sharing content across a network) Via clear.fi, the photos you have on your netbook can appear in the photo library on your phone and on your tablet. And you can push them up to online services like Facebook, if you want. The same goes for your music and video collections, too.
More importantly, the content can be "played or moved across the network seamlessly, with no need for physical drives," says Acer. It sounds like the "cloud iTunes" we've been waiting for, only it's Acer's version.
This feature could make the platform appealing to Acer users, but it's unclear how well (if at all) clear.fi will interoperate with non-Acer devices. If Acer chooses to utilize clear.fi's DLNA backbone to its fullest extent, then content could be shared with the thousands of DLNA-certified devices now on the market, including TVs, DVD and Blu-ray players, game consoles, photo frames, cameras, PCs, mobile devices and more. Unfortunately, Acer won't clarify whether or not that will be the case. (Thoughts?)
What's in the Store?
According to Acer PR, the content offerings in the various sections are as follows:
- Listen: music, audiobooks, radios, podcasts and other types of audio entertainment content
- Watch: movies, TV series, TV Channels, video podcasts and other types of short videos, like Music videos
- Read: e-books, e-magazines and e-newspapers as well as single news, articles and blogs
- Play: games of any kind
- Application: all the most common application categories, like Business & Finance, Lifestyle & Leisure, Learning, Travel & Navigation, Productivity, etc.
But at launch, Acer will only be filling the store with content from partners, like Adobe and Intel, for example. The full list of content partners includes 7Digital (mp3 music), Acetrax (over 2,000 movies for rental/purchase), Adnkronos (Italian news), AudioGo (audiobooks), Audiotube (music videos), Casual Games (games supplier), eBooks (from UK & Italian publishers), Gruppo Espresso (Italian newspaper), Muzu (music videos), Zinio (magazines), and, as noted, Adobe and Intel.
It seems as if there isn't a submission system for third-party developers in place, at least not yet. Nor is there a developer SDK (software development kit).
Can 3rd-Party Developers Get Into Alive?
But wait. Intel and Adobe are partners, which means third-party developers do have a backdoor to getting into Alive. Acer says that Alive will be one of the first storefronts for Adobe InMarket. If you remember, Adobe announced its new app distribution service, InMarket, back in October. Not an app store, but a portal for app submission, InMarket lets Adobe developers submit apps to all the app stores where Adobe formats are supported. The first app store supporting InMarket was actually Intel's own "AppUp" store, the app store for netbooks using Intel's Atom processors, also an Acer partner.
So if you're a third-party developer who has built an application using Adobe AIR and have distributed that app via InMarket, then you'll automatically be included in Acer's new Alive store, from the sounds of it.
What's more, Acer hints that the announced content partners are only the beginning for Alive: "Alive is open, active and dynamic, thus able to grow," Acer's press announcement reads. While that sounds like a lot of PR fluff, when thinking about the possibilities of DLNA, it could actually indicate something bigger is in store (pardon the pun).
But maybe that's just wishful thinking on our part. We'll know in a few weeks - stay tuned.