Just out: An app store for rugged mobile computers

Honeywell features range of ISV tools for rugged handhelds

A new website features more than 100 mobile business applications from almost 30 independent software vendors that can be tested over the Internet on a rugged Honeywell handheld operating in a lab.

The ISVstore.com , sponsored by Honeywell, is designed to help companies pair actual devices with software for testing purposes prior to making a purchase, said Mark Schmidt, vice president of business development at Honeywell's scanning and mobility unit. Potential users of the website include warehouse operations, field service operations, educational organizations, government entities, professional services organizations and hospitality businesses.

The site is intended to help customers find mobile ISVs based on the widely popular concept of app stores, Schmidt said.

While the site is hosted by Honeywell, apps that run on rugged devices manufactured by Honeywell competitors, such as Motorola Solutions and Intermec, will also be included. Users will notice, however, that Honeywell handheld computers are pictured throughout the site. Honeywell became active in producing bar code scanning handhelds and related mobile computers after it acquired MetroLogic in 2007. Most rugged handhelds run on older mobile operating systems from Microsoft .

The site allows a user to search for software by naming a specific industry setting, such as manufacturing, which is matched with the kind of back-office software and database that a company is already using. Users can then decide to narrow the search by opting for either on-premises mobile software or software as a service.

The live Internet-based testing is conducted on Honeywell's Dolphin wireless rugged handheld computer in the company's laboratory in Charlotte, N.C., Schmidt said.

Tim James, chief operating officer at Z-Space Technologies, said the new site will help ISVs, including his, promote their products. Z-Space produces applications and developer tools mainly to help colleges track assets, from chairs and desks to expensive technical equipment.

"It's absolutely a valuable tool," James said in an interview. "It allows us to extend our marketing reach, which is well beyond the capability of most ISVs that are small and where sales and marketing are not at the top of the list of priorities."

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com .

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