HP Wants To Carve Out A Slice Of The Mobile App Store Pie

Due out next month, the HP Access Catalog will offer clients a private “app store” for end users to browse, search and download mobile applications and digital content onto their , including Android, iOS and -based mobile and tablet , as well as . Pricing of the offering, a component of the HP Anywhere enterprise mobility platform, will be based on a per-user annual subscription ($50 per employee, per year).

It’s a flexible and easy-to-use service that will appeal to enterprises, IT and end users, said John Jeremiah, Senior Product Marketing Manager, HP Software. Unlike some of their competitors, the service support multiple platforms, and unlike some others, it’s easy to set up and use, he said.

The numbers show why HP is joining the app-store melee, and the market is getting crowded. SAP, and Dell have built their own corporate app stores, and , and a number of others that make software to manage mobile devices also offer such markets. According to Gartner, 25% of enterprises will implement an app store for managing corporate software by 2017.

IDC just reported that smartphone market hit a new record in 2013, with worldwide shipments surpassing the 1 billion mark for the first time. Android and iOS accounted for 95.7% of all smartphone shipments in the fourth quarter of 2013, and for 93.8% of all smartphone shipments for the year.

Gartner was slightly less bullish, placing 2013 smartphone shipments at only 968 million units, an increase of 42.3% from 2012. Smartphone accounted for 53.6% of overall mobile phone sales last year, the first time they exceeded annual sales of feature phones. From an OS perspective, Android’s share grew 12% to reach 78.4%, followed by iOS (15.6%) and Windows (3.2%).

In the brave new anywhere, any time, anything mobile world, devices and operating systems paint only part of the picture. At the end of the day, you have to be able to do something with these devices and OSs, and that comes down to the applications.

With the billion (or so) units shipped last year, there are now more than a billion smartphones being used, each downloading an average of 70 mobile apps last year. According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2013 to 2018, mobile data traffic will increase nearly 11-fold over the next four years (to 190 exabytes annually by 2018), and three times the pace of fixed traffic growth over this period.

It’s no surprise then that mobility is a top priority (71%) for the enterprise, with 63% believing it to be the greatest factor in helping their organization gain a competitive advantage. Of the organizations surveyed, approximately half have implemented technologies to support mobile devices, with 48% using and 47% using .

HP has been working with IDC to develop a mobile maturity model, and one finding is that 80% of apps being developed are Web apps, said Genefa Murphy, Director, Mobile Product Management, Analytics and User Experience, HP Software, in an interview late last year. However it’s still early days, she said, as organizations ramp up to deal with both B2C (business to consumer) and B2E (business to employee). A lot of customers are still still trying to figure it out, with out including scale, security, federated identity and access management, said Murphy.

One trend gathering momentum is app development as a service (i.e. AaaS and AdaaS, application development as a service), she noted. “Because in mobile seeing is believing, customers are starting to look for quicker ways to develop, build and deploy an application,” she said. Customers roll out apps quickly and get feedback from customers, both manually and automatically, and then make changes based on that feedback, she added.

Trying to do this in-house can be a huge nightmare, according to Digital Management, Inc., a provider of mobile enterprise solutions and services. If a large company deploys multiple apps, such as 50 apps a year, the end user expects that there will be at least 4 or 5 updates per year, which will mean that there is 250 updates per year, it said.

A component of the enterprise mobility platform, and using the same technology supporting the HP Vertica Marketplace, an online store, the leverages open-standard technologies such as HTML 5 and single sign-on authentication and authorization capabilities with SAML 2.0 integration, to deliver a flexible, secure cross-platform solution. Hosted in HP’s PCI-compliant data center, the service is reliable, robust and available for users, regardless of their location or device.

Announced earlier this week, the Vertica Marketplace is an online destination for developers, users and technology partners to create and sell big data analytics solutions built for the HP Vertica Analytics Platform. The use case is a little different from the Access Catalog, but it’s built on the same backend and leverages the same workflow, said Jeremiah.

Looking ahead he said the company will be focused on getting customers on board. HP is also exploring the options of having applications from third parties in the catalog, but there’s nothing that can be announced at present.

Author: Steve Wexler

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