Asus has released a software-development kit for its Eee PC, in a bid to encourage third-party application development for the popular, low-cost subnotebook.
In a Wednesday statement, the Taiwanese manufacturer said the Eee PC software-development kit (SDK) provided "a complete development platform, including an Eee PC-compatible Open Circulation Edition of the Xandros Desktop OS, the Eclipse development environment, a Qt4 toolkit, a developer's guide, sample applications and a multilingual VMware testing and debugging environment".
The move comes not long after Asus and Microsoft announced that the upcoming Eee 900 model would come with Windows as an option, rather than Xandros Linux. The existing Eee 701 will also be made available with Windows for those who want it. Asus has claimed that the majority of new Eee owners will opt for Windows, but demand remains to be seen, and Wednesday's announcement could prove a boost to the breadth of applications available for the Linux flavour of the Eee.
Asus has said it expects to ship as many as five million Eee PCs during 2008.
"We have experienced an overwhelming developer response to Eee PC, with thousands of source-code downloads since we posted it on our site," said Asus global service centre general manager David Wu on Wednesday. "Now, thanks to our new SDK, third-party developers and enthusiasts from the open-source community will find it easy to develop, easy to port and easy to release software for the Eee PC."
The SDK is available as a free download from Asus's website or the Sourceforge website.