Today at Intel’s Developer Forum day two keynote, Intel’s Renee James took the stage to give a presentation entitled “Security and Services in an Age of Transparent Computing.” In a roughly 50-minute speech punctuated with demos and guest speakers, the GM of Software and Services talked about what developers and the industry need to do to create a stronger and more successful generation of secure, cross-platform apps. James argued that users want to use the same software across multiple devices and platforms without thinking about differences in functionality — a concept called “Transparent Computing” — and that HTML 5 is the best way to accomplish that goal.
After stepping on stage and making a joke about Apple’s press conference coming later in the day, James said thattoday’s talk would be about what developers need to focus on.
“This should be a fantastic time to be a developer,” she said. However, she noted that developers now have more platforms than ever that they have to develop for. She then showed a video about developers and how difficult it is for them to work across different platforms with different programming environments.
“All developers have finite resources,” she said, noting that developers have to make trade-offs when they build a product. She talked about how features and functionality may have to be put aside to port your application to other ecosystems. If you just decide to focus on one ecosystem (ex: iOS or Android), you may not win on that platform.
“It’s very very hard for developers to make money,” she said citing statistics that show that a third of the apps on any platform make less than $500 and 63 percent generate less than $5,000 a month.
She then talked about marketing costs for apps. Over 50 percent of the cost of building an app goes to marketing, she noted. She also stated that 76 percent of users stop using an app after just 3 months.
“What if a single app could cross multiple ecosystems and multiple environments,” she said and then introduced Peter Biddle from Intel to show a demo of software running across platforms. He then showed a program calld Digital Mementos which allows you to track someone’s location and send them messages when they walk into certain areas. In the demo, he used a Windows 8 Ultrabook, an iPad and an Android Phone.
She then talked about a concept called Transparent Computing, which is computing across platforms. Users don’t care about the platform or the hardware architecture, she said. What users want is for their tasks to work across all their devices, she noted.
We need three things to enable Transparent Computing: a cross-platform language, a flexible cloud and robust security. She then showed a video with developers talking about their applications and the difficulty of making them work across platforms.
James then spoke about HTML 5 and said that, while it is controversial because Facebook has said it is too slow, Intel wants to see HTML 5 become the standard. “We believe it is a real solution for where users want to go,” she said. “We’re committed to making sure HTML 5 remains open.” She said HTML 5 will run best on Intel, but it will be the best cross-platform solution for the future.
She then talked about an educational app made in HTML 5 that helps you learn Chinese and invited two teenagers, Bridgett and Paul, on stage to demo the app which showed videos, helped you learn to write Chinese characters by tracing and helps you learn vocabulary. She said 40 percent of developers plan to use HTML 5.
She then invited a the lead singer of a band and a developer on stage to demo MobBase, which is a mobile app plattform that helps bands develop their fan bases. MobBase allows artists to build their own fan apps and now it works in HTML 5, The developer then showed how easy it is to bulid a cross-platform band app using his online tool
James then showed a technology called River Trail that speeds up HTML 5 animations on Intel platforms. She said River Trail is now available as a plugin for Firefox.
James then showed a video with developers talking about Cloud Services and how important they are. “Intel is working on an integrated set of Cloud services for developers,” she said. James said that Intel will host its own cloud services platform that hosts backend services like location-based services, sensors, data storage and more.
“Security on the client side has a lot of evolutionary work that needs to happen,” she said. She then talked about security in the Cloud. “As we move applications and workloads we have to do it in a secure way,” she said.
She talked about Intel’s Trusted Execution Technology (TXT) for security. She then invited a representative from security firm EMC to explain how Intel’s TXT service helps keep servers secure.
James then talked about identity and attestation security. She then invited Mike DeCesare from McAfee to talk about the future security. DeCesare said he has 240 engineers focused on hardware based security. The first thing McAfee is developed is a hardware solution called Deep Defender which uses the Intel chipset to better detect rootkits.
DeCasare talked about security on social networks and invited a rep on stage to demonstrate the McAfee social protection app which allows you to keep your FaceBook photos from being copied and pasted. Your friends can see the photos but if they attempt to right click the images and copy them out, they get a blurred out image.
“Think of it as a condom for your digital life,” the rep said. McAfee Social Protection is available in beta now.
DaCesare then talked about security McAfee’s server-side security products. He talked about a product called “security connected” which allows all of your servers to report and log potential threats on the entire network end-to-end.
James then played another video with developers talking about the challenges of building an app and making a living selling it. The developer in the video said distribution of the app is the biggest challenge.
James then announced a new online community called the “Intel Developer Zone,” which helps developers learn how to enhance user experiences, build apps cross platform and grow their businesses. She said the Developer Zone will offer a number of public betas of new tools. Intel will also continue to provide distribution support through its AppUp store.
She also said Intel will help developers connect with each other and with business opportunities. In Q4, Intel will launch an HTML 5 initiative which will help train developers and encourage them to use this cross-platform language.
James then closed by saying that developers can “embrace a new paradigm for computing” based on transparent computing. She said that Intel looks forward to being developers’ partner in this new world.