RealTime IT News

Runaware Allows Software Buyers to Test Applications on the Net

Evaluation service provider Runaware Tuesday launched its flagship Web-service designed to provide a live test environment of software applications over the Internet.

Typically, consumers had two choices to make when researching a software purchase, either install and test a partial "demo" program, or buy the software and hope it would deliver as expected.

Runaware allows consumers to evaluate applications before they purchase the software. The service can be accessed from its Runaware.com Web site. Because the Runaware program offers previews of software with desk-top like reality, it ultimately provides users with a one-stop virtual marketplace of full-featured software applications.

Pelle Axeland, founder of the Stockholm-based service provider, said that its watershed release would revolutionize the way consumers buy software.

"We are empowering consumers by giving them the opportunity to explore and evaluate software before making a purchase," Axeland said. "What we have done is to expand the Independent Software Vendor's horizon and give consumers choice."

Although several leading ISVs have embraced the ASP business model as an online means to distribute its products, Runaware is one of the first ASPs that has aggregated top-selling software content for end user testing.

In order to see a program run at Runaware, subscribers simply access a pull-down a menu that permits them to highlight the category of applications they would like review. After selecting a software category, users are a single click away from a full presentation of top-selling software.

Taking much of the guesswork out of purchasing software, Runaware lets consumers log on and run popular programs like Corel Draw for graphics and TeamSoft's Team Agenda 3.1 office management applications.

Runaware is compatible with Netscape Navigator 4 and Microsoft Corp. Internet Explorer 4 and 5 browsers, but recommends Internet Explorer 5 for optimum test results. Subscribers cannot yet operate Runaware on Macintosh systems due to a well-known bug in Apple Computer Corp.'s Java engine. Apple's technical support is working on a remedy, but a new version of its browser may not be available anytime soon, according to Apple.

In the near future, Runaware intends to provide users with complete software services that would allow them to customize purchased software applications.

Runaware tapped Tarantella, a division of Santa Cruz Operation, Inc. , to Web-enable its bandwidth-intensive software review services.