Intel on Wednesday launched a test version of its software developer kit (SDK) for the Atom Developer Programme, part of the company's plan to sell Atom software on behalf of developers via a network of application stores.
The developer programme, announced in September, is intended to promote software fine-tuned for Intel's Atom chips, most commonly used in netbooks.
The programme will also allow developers to sell their applications via application stores operated by hardware manufacturers, with Asus, Acer and Dell already annnounced as partners in the programme.
Atom-based netbooks can typically run standard applications written for operating systems such as Linux or Windows, but Intel said it wants to foster the development of applications designed specifically for netbooks and other portable devices. It also plans to promote Moblin, the Atom-based Linux netbook environment that the company started and handed over to the Linux Foundation.
The new SDK is the first time developers will get their hands on the technology required to sell applications through the stores.
Specifically, applications must incorporate the "Authorisation" API function in order to be validated for inclusion in these stores, Intel said, which will let the application interact with the Developer Programme runtime client. Only authorised applications can be sold.
"The SDK gives you the libraries and tools to link your application to the Intel Atom Developer Programme runtime client running on a customer's netbook," said Intel community manager Ajay Mungara in a blog post. "You must incorporate the 'Authorisation' API function in your application in order for your application to be validated and for the revenue generating opportunities."
Open source applications are not required to use the SDK, he said.
For the moment, the SDK supports C and C++ applications for the Microsoft Windows and Intel Moblin platforms, Intel said, with support for other platforms planned.
Netbook shipments are expected to reach 25 million units by the end of this year, and 37 million by the end of 2010, according to Gartner figures from September.
Moblin version 2.1 was launched last month with plug-in and 3G data connection support, and performance and stability improvements