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9/16/2011
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Appcelerator Opens Mobile Developer Market

The Titanium app development platform gets an online store for buying code, files, and cloud services.

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Mobile cloud development platform provider Appcelerator on Monday introduced its Open Mobile Marketplace, an online store where developers using the company's Titanium platform can shop for code and services.

Titanium allows developers to create applications using Web technologies like JavaScript and convert the Web code into native code that runs on Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, or Windows. It is similar in concept to other cross-platform development tools like Adobe Flash, Ansca Mobile's Corona SDK, Unity3D, PhoneGap, and Rhomobile, to name a few, and has attracted some 1.5 million developers, mainly for business-oriented and entertainment apps.

Appcelerator's move from platform provider toward the more expansive role of ecosystem orchestrator follows a well-worn path in the industry. Ansca Mobile, for example, recently introduced an app discovery service called LaunchPad for its developers, which provides app makers with access to app analytics, ad network InMobi, and social platform PapayaMobile.

Scott Schwarzhoff, Appcelerator's VP of marketing, says the trend toward ecosystem formation is a reflection of the fact that so many of the technology companies that have emerged in the post-PC era operate at the intersection of mobile, social, and cloud computing.

"That construct is extending even into the software development world," said Schwarzhoff in a phone interview. "Applications are basically just a collection of services."

[For another side of cloud development, read Facebook Builds Bridge To Heroku Cloud.]

And in a world where everything is a service, markets can be formed anywhere there's a large concentration of buyers. Schwarzhoff observes that it's easy to open a market with a group of sellers, but if you don't have buyers, it can be pretty rough going.

The Open Mobile Marketplace offers an opportunity for Appcelerator's partners--AdMob, Box.net, Bump, DoubleClick, Greystripe, Omniture (Adobe), PayPal, Salesforce, Scanbuy, Twilio, and Urban Airship--to sell their wares to developers.

It also provides developers with a way to sell Titanium code modules or cloud services and designers with a way to sell graphics. Sellers of digital files will collect 70% of the market price, with 30% going to Appcelerator. This is pretty much the industry standard revenue share, except for Google's Chrome Web Store and Google+ Games, where the fee is only 5%.

Appcelerator's Marketplace may make the Titanium platform more popular for a wider variety of applications. Until now, each of the various cross-platform development systems has performed well for a particular type of application. Unity3D, for example, remains the leading choice for 3-D mobile game development. Corona SDK is popular for rapid 2-D game development. And Titanium, similar to Rhomobile, has attracted a wide following of developers working on enterprise or entertainment apps.

But thanks to the Marketplace, Titanium developers can expect Appcelerator's platform to become more flexible. Developers will have access to gaming modules that provide support for GameKit, OpenGL, and Box2D physics. And as more services and wares get added, the platform appears to be well-positioned for further growth.

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