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Taking the road less traveled to mobilize desktop software

Tom Kaneshige | June 27, 2013
Moving complex software to the iPad is no small task--a fact not lost on PerkinElmer when it needed a mobile version of its popular desktop chemistry product. It avoided the temptation to contract young mobile hotshots and instead relied on its veteran desktop team.

This month, PerkinElmer released ChemDraw ($9.99) and Chem3D (free) for the iPad on the Apple App Store. Early signs show a successful launch: a 4.5 star rating. Ironically, negative comments generally criticize the app for not having some features on the desktop version.

At universities, ChemDraw had been confined to academic research, not first-year chemistry. But this is changing with the iPad app. PerkinElmer is working with educational publisher McGraw-Hill on two pilot programs at St. Louis University and the University of Illinois to get feedback about the collaboration features. There are also efforts to bring ChemDraw on the iPad down to the high school level.

When it comes to mobilizing a popular desktop app, there's a lot of upside if the app works well. New markets open up and existing staff becomes energized. PerkinElmer chose to go an unconventional route using veteran desktop developers, and so far it's paid off.


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