While Lenovo has been making strides in the consumer market for the last few years, its heart and soul is in enterprise, where a ThinkPad laptop is the computing equivalent of sensible khakis and a power tie. Their tablets (even the ThinkPad Tablet) haven’t caught on as of yet, but the company is hoping to change that with the Lenovo Enterprise App Shop, an app store for enterprise customers. (Natch.) As opposed to the Google Play Store and its alternatives, the Enterprise App Shop can be launched on a company-by-company basis, with volume licensing discounts and on-site management tools.
While Lenovo will handle the technical details of each company’s individual app shop, administrators can choose which apps employees can access – so if one version of, say, an intra-office IM client is incompatible with their servers, they can block it from the list. Lenovo is acting as a gatekeeper for all the apps offered, and will guarantee their security and functionality on Lenovo tablets. While the Enterprise App Shop will only work on Android 3.1 or higher (currently that’s all of Lenovo’s tablets except the IdeaPad A1) it will presumably be open to older apps as well. The company says the store will launch soon at this address, though the page is plank at the moment.
It’s easy to see why Lenovo would want to create its own app store for business customers. In addition to adding a little differentiation, it gives Android some much-needed polish in the eyes of corporate clients – it’s hard to feel good about an esential peice of business software when you download it from something called the “Play Store”. What little market there is for corporate tablets is still dominated by Apple – we’ll see if Lenovo can shake things up.