SAP partner launches cloud-based mobile app service

Leapfactor also announced several free App Store enterprise apps for the iPhone and iPad

Leapfactor, an SAP partner and startup, today announced a cloud-based system to support mobile applications, including back-office custom applications for accounting and customer support.

San Francisco-based Leapfactor also announced several "micro apps" available for free in Apple's App Store for use with the iPhone and iPad .

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Leapfactor's cloud-based service, called Leapfactor Mobile Enterprise Platform, costs $9.99 per user per month to support companies building and deploying their own custom apps to the Android, BlackBerry, and iOS platforms.

The cloud-based service will be used to securely store and forward content to mobile devices, giving a company the ability to deploy productivity applications to thousands of users at a portion of the cost of traditional mobile implementations, said Leapfactor CEO Lionel Carrasco.

"We provide the bandwidth and administration and resources, and you don't have to," Carrasco said in an interview. "The Leapfactor platform is in the cloud so nobody has to build another mobile middleware. Companies probably already have SOA and can talk in XML, so all you need is to expose a service like a credit check all the way into the cloud."

Leapfactor is supplementing the cloud-based service with free user-interface libraries to help customers build and deploy custom mobile apps.

The service could be used for business-to-employee applications, such as providing expense account mobile apps or for business-to-business apps for selling products and keeping track of stock inventories. It could also be used for providing extensive product catalogs to consumers via mobile devices, Leapfactor officials said.

The free micro apps in the App Store have been used by more than 3,000 users since May and provide basic back-office functions. Three of the micro apps are Business Alerts, Business Indicators and Business Approvals. Another free micro app, called SAP EcoHub, provides a list of SAP enterprise applications, complete with top blog posts and YouTube videos about SAP applications.

Carrasco said he believes the Leapfactor concept is unique in the market.

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 email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

Read more about mobile apps and services in Computerworld's Mobile Apps and Services Topic Center.

This story, "SAP partner launches cloud-based mobile app service" was originally published by Computerworld.

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