Creating a central site for corporate users to find and install mobile apps, both internal and via online catalogs, is possible now with a new hosted Web service from Partnerpedia. The service currently supports Android applications, with support for iOS apps on Apple iPhones and iPads due this summer.
The company's Enterprise App Store (EAS) brings together authorized mobile apps, both those that are written internally and those third-party apps that reside in Google's Android Market and Apple's iTunes App Store. The approach also makes it possible for IT groups to manage the enterprise licenses for third-party mobile apps.
The new service is an effort to balance the freedom that Android and iOS users are accustomed to in downloading apps with the security, privacy, management and reporting requirements of an IT group, says Sam Liu, vice president of marketing for Partnerpedia, Morgan Hill, Calif.
EAS mimics the consumer look and feel of the online application catalogs, with ratings and recommendations, and one-click installation. EAS displays mobile apps that are physically resident on the Android or iOS online catalogs. An authorized user only needs to click on an authorized app to launch the respective catalog's download/install process.
The EAS management console provides a range of controls and features for setting up and administering the store and the links to the online catalogs, and for managing users and software licenses. EAS integrates with Microsoft Active Directory or LDAP corporate directories. Enterprise users can be classed into roles, such as "sales" or "marketing" and licenses then can be assigned based on those roles.
[A rather general datasheet is available online]
Partnerpedia is in talks with a currently unnamed antivirus software vendor to integrate that application with EAS. By doing so, any app published to EAS will be automatically scanned for malware. If any is detected, then the app can be automatically unpublished.
The Partnerpedia service can be branded with your corporate logo. Support for RIM BlackBerry OS apps and Windows Phone 7 will be added later this year.
Enterprise App Store is available now; pricing is a monthly per-user fee "in the low single digits," according to Partnerpedia's Liu.
John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.
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