Yesterday we wrote about how the Intel AppUp app store for netbooks went out of beta and was released to the world. While initially we had some issues logging in, those problems have gone away today and now we can provide a first impressions look at the software, how it works and what we think of it at this stage of the game.
When you first launch AppUp (it'll run on most Windows XP and Windows 7 systems as well as MeeGo devices) you are greeted with a basic and lightweight program with a simple white GUI. Keeping in mind that Intel designed AppUp for lower powered netbooks, this is a good sign. You don't want some intensive program running on a netbook at a snail's pace - that would just be an unpleasant experience. First check mark ticked - performance is great. Before you can download and use any apps, you need to register and login to AppUp. Once you have logged in the first time, it saves your details and keeps you logged in even when you close AppUp and launch again.
Now that you are logged in, you are greeted with the main store area as you can see above. It lists some featured apps with a large scrolling image to see what's hot. Below that you also have 'Staff Picks', 'What's Hot' and 'New Releases'. On the right of the screen you can browse apps by category. As AppUp is still new, you don't have the vast selection you do with other stores like the Apple app store, but I was fairly surprised to see even at this stage, there is a pretty good range to try. The concept is the same as other app stores - there are plenty of free apps as well as 'lite' or demo apps, but there are also paid apps for sale, too. I actually struggled to find a paid app, but they are there. It was great to see that many of the apps are free.
The first app we tried was a kids graphics program called "My Little Artist". It's a free app for kids to get a little creative with a virtual paint brush. It's actually pretty fun I must say - some of my fantastic artist work is above. I know, thank you. Basically you just click on the app and before you know what is happening, the app is downloaded. The downloading part took roughly a minute and the installation of the app only a few seconds if that.
Once that is done, you can launch the app from the app's page in AppUp (as you can see above) or you can go to your "My Apps" area (as you can see below) and launch it from there. An icon for each app is also added to your desktop, so you can quickly launch from there too. The program loaded very fast and to quit all I had to do was click on a door and the program closed and I was back at the desktop. Apps on Windows install like a normal program. They are added to your installed programs list under Control Panel and you can remove there or from within AppUp itself.
There is also a facility with AppUp to write reviews on all apps and also include a rating. As you would expect, reviews are not posted right away and are moderated by Intel prior to appearing in the reviews section.
As you can see above, there is also a screenshots area for every app so you can get a look at it before you download or buy it.
As for the category listings, we'll use "Staff Picks" as an example. Below you can see a listing of apps recommended by the folks at Intel.
And further below you can select a different type of view for listing the apps in each category.
So, that about sums up our first impressions of AppUp. I like what I see so far - it is a lightweight, free and easy to use app store for netbooks and other mobile devices running MeeGo. The apps are vetted to ensure they run well on these types of devices and there is a good mix for a vast range of consumers and many of the apps at this stage are free.
We'll be keeping a close eye on AppUp as it develops over time, but for now if you are interested, why not download it, sign up and give it a try? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below. I want to give the Boxee app a go now as it looks really good.