Appcelerator, which makes the Titanium mobile development platform, is working with PayPal (s ebay) to enable a potential deluge of mobile commerce apps from merchants looking to connect with smartphone savvy customers. Titanium is designed to help primarily web developers build apps on iOS (s aapl), Android (s goog) and BlackBerry OS (s rimm) by letting them use a common platform that publishes to different operating systems.
Appcelerator announced today it would release a product, called Titanium+Commerce, that will allow 8 million PayPal merchants to build multi-platform mobile apps with a host of features including mobile payments, coupons, social sharing, loyalty programs and product scanning. Those advanced features, however, won’t be available until the first half of next year.
For now, merchants will be able to deploy PayPal’s Mobile Payment Library in their Titanium-built iOS and Android apps for easy check-outs. This is an interesting play, because it enables payments on new and existing Titanium apps with as little as a few dozen lines of code. PayPal already released its libraries for iOS and Android, so it’s not terribly new, although Titanium enables simple cross-platform development. Since Titanium is built for web developers, the programmers should also have an easier time connecting the mobile apps with a retailer’s existing online storefront, said Scott Schwarzhoff, Appcelerator’s VP of marketing.
The bigger impact will come when Titanium+Commerce hits the market, making it easy for a local retailer or online merchant to offer multiple apps across platforms that tie into the hottest mobile shopping ideas. Want to provide a Groupon-like deal of the day? It’ll be easy to drop that in. Want to include a RedLaser-like scanning option? It’ll just be a few lines of code. Combined with Titanium’s upcoming Titanium+Geo location feature, the platform can unlock local rewards for nearby customers.
That’s at least the idea. We’ll have to see if it goes off smoothly, but it raises the possibility for even more mobile shopping apps hitting the market, which could mean additional competition for existing leaders. It will also further commoditize offerings like loyalty programs and daily discounts. The Titanium apps might all be bland copies from a template, but they’ll give retailers a way to keep building their relationships with consumers and get a little slice of mobile payments, which is forecast to be $633 million by 2014.
Appcelerator, which also announced $9 million in new funding today from Sierra Ventures, eBay and others, says its 77,000 developers are creating 1,000 mobile apps a month, making Appcelerator the second largest Apple App Store publisher.
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Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user Tjololo Photo.