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HARDWARE

Intel's New AppUp Center

An app store just for netbooks

Thomas Kuhlenbeck

Apple's iPhone App Store now logs more than 250 million downloads a month. If Intel has its way, its new AppUp store, which launched in January, will gain a similar following among netbook users.

The store, which is still in beta testing, has a long way to go before it builds up a robust library of netbook apps and a stable of third-party developers. At presstime, the store had fewer than 200 apps available. But if you are a netbook user, the store is worth checking out. Most of the store's apps take up less than 50MB of memory, so they won't slow down your hard drive, and are designed to fit a netbook's smaller screen.

The AppUp store is easy to navigate and features a decent variety of handy business tools. EZ Virtual Drive, for example, lets you create cloud-based drives on your desktop and costs $1.99. Free apps include Yoono Desktop, which organizes social networking messages in one place, and Blog This for scheduling blog posts. GSecure, which is also free, creates hard-to-crack passwords.

Downloading the AppUp store onto a desktop is relatively quick and easy. Other than a few blips, the apps themselves were easy to download as well. One drawback: You have to set up an account with credit card information to access even free software.

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