Bing for iPad a 'killer app,' says analyst

Microsoft's first iPad app "effectively is a browser"

Microsoft today launched Bing for iPad, the company's first app for Apple's tablet.

One analyst called it a "killer app" that beats Google's "hands down."

Bing for iPad, which follows by more than a year the December 2009 debut of a similar app for the iPhone and iPod Touch, lets users search the Web with Microsoft's engine, displays the resulting pages and also aggregates a wide range of Web content within its wrapper.

But it's not a browser, at least officially, which gave Microsoft the in to the App Store: Apple bars browsers not built on the open-source WebKit rendering engine from its online app market.

Content is displayed within the Bing app, and does not open within the iPad's native browser, Safari.

"This is a killer app," said Greg Sterling, an analyst with Sterling Market Intelligence. "There's lots of information, it's optimized for the tablet and you can browse very easily. Bing did a really terrific job with this."

Bing for iPad offers traditional search, but really plays to the tablet's strength as an aggregator, said Sterling, who pointed out the content tiles at the bottom of the app's home screen. Those tiles offer access to more information on topics from news and weather to movies and finance.

News results, for example, are displayed in a grid format, with a touch on any of the resulting tiles opening up the news story.

In that regard, Bing for iPad is more than search, one of the reasons why Sterling gave it the thumbs up over Google's tablet app.

"It sort of operates like a browser," said Sterling, who also blogs on the Search Engine Land site. "Effectively, from a consumer's standpoint, it is a browser."

Bing, which has struggled to compete against Google in the search market, accounted for 13.6 per cent of the market in February, according to comScore. When Yahoo's share is added to Bing's -- the former now uses the latter's engine to deliver results -- the pair own a 29.7 per cent share, less than half of Google's 65.4 per cent.

Sterling wasn't surprised that Microsoft is aggressively promoting Bing, including on devices by its rivals, Apple and Google.

"That's a culture shift for the company," Sterling said. "Their embrace of the iPhone and iPad>, and Android, is smart, because Bing needs to decouple from the Windows platform."

Google also offers a free iPad app, but it focuses almost entirely on search, said Sterling. "Between Google's and Bing's, [the latter] wins hands down," he said. "The tablet shows off Bing's strengths better than the Web. Bing is very visually rich, and the tablet showcases that very, very effectively."

Bing for iPad can be downloaded free-of-charge from the iPad, or through iTunes on a Mac or PC, then transferred to the tablet using the music software's synchronization tool.

Bing for iPad displays its News content in a grid format.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His e-mail address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

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

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags AppleMobile Apps and ServicesGoogleMicrosoftMacintoshintelinternetInternet Searchsearch engines

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?