IDF 2012: Intel says transparent computing is the future

Renee James - Senior Vice President and General Manager, Software and Services Group – took charge of the Day 2 keynote at IDF, and urged the development community to embrace transparent computing.

James kicked off her presentation by painting a very gloomy landscape for potential app developers. In fact, if the intention was to terrify anyone in the audience who might have invested a significant amount of their cash in an app idea, it’s safe to assume that mission was accomplished.

The scariest slide indicated that 63 per cent of all apps produced make less than $5,000 per month in revenue, while 33 per cent only manage between $100 and $500 revenue per month. Obviously that’s a pretty bleak story for app developers, and as you can see from Intel’s slide below, the poor developer in the picture can’t even afford to buy shoes!

James compounded that first slide with a second one, stating that 50 per cent of the cost of producing an app goes into marketing, while 76 per cent of apps are only used for around three months.

There’s no doubt that some of those figures were used for effect, but for the most part Intel is right – app development is a horrendously cutthroat market, and it’s not showing any signs of changing. It’s that marketing figure that really stands out, proving that apps are no different from any other product – you could have the best app in the world, but if no one knows about it, you won’t make a penny.

James also cited platform diversity as one of the major problems for app developers. What platform do you launch on? How do you port to a competing platform? Will you need to code from scratch for each platform you want to launch on? These are all real questions that illustrate real problems for developers.

Of course what developers really want and need, is a way to code once and roll that app out on every platform. Such an option would reduce development costs, time to market and staffing resource. Intel feels that the answer to this quandary is HTML5, and on many levels I wouldn’t argue with that point of view.

In theory HTML5 should allow developers to create a fully featured app that can run on whatever device you happen to be using, no matter what the OS or hardware configuration might be. But what works in theory isn’t always as simple in practice.

To aid in the process of developing transparent apps, James announced the Intel Developer Zone, which is a resource designed to help and educate app developers and guide them along the transparent computing road. Only time will tell if Intel’s faith in HTML5 will be borne out, but in fairness, it’s not like there’s many other options right now.