The store can be accessed through a Web portal and an iOS application to start, according to a statement. SAP plans to add Android, BlackBerry and other mobile client support later. Right now, customers can download and try out applications from SAP and its partners, and ask for a price quote if desired. The ability to buy the applications directly from the store will be added "soon," SAP said.
Overall, SAP and Sybase will show they are delivering on promises made in August 2010 regarding mobility, said Raj Nathan, executive vice president and corporate officer, head of mobile applications, SAP Group.
"We fundamentally said we plan to make our platform a standard one, and that 80 percent of application content will come from partners over the long term," he said.
In fact, Nathan has been surprised and "delighted" by the pace of partner involvement, he said. Right now, some eight applications are certified on SAP's app store, and about 30 are expected to be certified by year-end, according to a spokesperson. That pace should pick up quickly, Nathan predicted. "At the same time next year, it would not surprise me if we have 200-plus of these."
The Sybase Unwired and Afaria platforms for mobile development, management and security will be available to partners at no charge for development purposes, Nathan said. Pricing for use in production will depend on the situation. "If the [partner] application is going to be charged at €10 per year, it will be difficult for us to charge very much for the platform," he said. "There's no one formula."
There will be general categories for pricing, Nathan added. "Partners will be confused if we say each of them is a custom [agreement]," he said.
SAP has also been developing mobile applications on its own. At Sapphire, it will announce a number that are now or will soon be available. They target areas such as CRM (customer relationship management), field services, logistics, health care and retail.
The company's mobile, in-memory and cloud initiatives gained focus last year after the ascension of co-CEOs Jim Hagemann Snabe, who will also be present at Sapphire, and Bill McDermott. Revenues have improved as well following a significant downturn during the global recession.
While SAP has much to be excited about, there's work to be done, according to one expert.
"I think SAP is at a bit of a crossroads as a company. They're in danger of getting too pumped up about the fact they have had a pretty significant comeback," said Jon Reed, an independent analyst who closely tracks the company. "They do have some risk in that, can they move quickly enough on the new opportunities and are they aware there is significant competition? The Workdays and NetSuites of the world are coming out with pretty strong news of their own."
Take SAP's plans for mobility, Reed said.
"While they do have a good ecosystem, in many ways they've not been able to engage the kind of innovative, low-to-the-ground kind of developers that are building apps for the Apple platform. SAP needs to create a scenario to engage developers."
The same goes for other SAP initiatives, including HANA, Reed said: "It's the age of the platform. That's the obvious lesson from the Googles and Apples of the world."
Sapphire continues through Thursday in Madrid.
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com.