Intel Prepping iPhone App Conversion Tool

Intel is reportedly preparing a tool for transferring iPhone applications to Intel-powered mobile devices. The chip maker is pushing hard into the mobility space.

Intel is apparently working on a tool that will allow developers to transfer iPhone applications to mobile devices that use Intel processors, potentially expanding the amount of software that relies on Intel architecture.

"We'll get [applications on] AppUp, then MeeGo and I imagine Windows," Doug Fisher, Intel's vice president of Software and Services, told PC World in an Oct. 5 interview. "It's basically taking the existing applications, finding the ones that are most relevant to end users and ensuring [that] they get pulled over."

AppUp is Intel's cloud-based storefront for netbook applications. It stopped being a beta on Sept. 14, nine months after its introduction at the Consumer Electronics Show. Intel's Atom Developer Program has been combined with the AppUp storefront and renamed the AppUp Developer Program. There are currently over 800 applications in the store, according to Intel; about 30 percent of them are free.

Intel and Adobe have announced a collaboration that will allow developers to build Adobe AIR netbook applications for AppUp, with the portal supporting Adobe AIR runtimes. But Intel is obviously thinking far beyond AppUp's current state.

The iPhone relies on an ARM processor. Intel is trying to penetrate the smaller-device market with its power-sipping Atom processor, and has a low-voltage "Oak Trail" processor for tablets under development. Atom was originally developed for netbooks, but Intel has since tried to market Atoms as ideal for handsets and other mobile devices.

During an Oct. 5 talk at the Council on Foreign Relations, in New York, Intel CEO Paul Otellini expressed regret over his company's relatively late entry into the mobile market.

"I wish we had started earlier," Otellini told an audience, according to Bloomberg. "I wish I had been smart enough to start [working on smartphone processors] seven years ago because we'd be in a good position today, but I wasn't." Over the summer, Intel purchased Infineon Technologies' wireless chip unit, the customers of which include Apple, Nokia and Samsung.

Intel's current initiatives extend in a number of directions. In August, the company signed a definitive agreement to acquire security company McAfee for about $7.68 billion. That deal, which integrated McAfee into a wholly owned subsidiary reporting to Intel's Software and Services Group, reflected Intel's increased interest in software.

"This acquisition is consistent with our software and services strategy to deliver an outstanding computing experience in fast-growing business areas, especially around the move to wireless mobility," Renee James, Intel senior vice president and general manager of the Software and Services group, said in a statement at the time. "McAfee is the next step in this strategy, and the right security partner for us. Our current work together has impressive prospects, and we look forward to introducing a product from our strategic partnership next year."