Intel invites developers to write apps for Atom

The chipmaker has set up a developer programme in a bid to have more applications written for small-screened systems running on its low-power processor
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Intel is calling on developers to write applications specifically tailored to systems running its low-powered Atom processor.

The Intel Atom Developer Program, announced at the Intel Developer Forum on Tuesday, aims to help software writers create applications for Atom-based netbooks and sell these through manufacturer-specific app stores. The initiative will use run-times such as Microsoft's Silverlight so applications can be written once to run on both Windows and Moblin Linux operating systems.

"We want to fuel the growth of Intel Atom-based products designed for the mobile lifestyle," Intel software and services head Renee James said in a statement. "The netbook has become one of the most popular consumer devices in the market today, but its true potential has been limited by applications that are not optimised for its mobility and smaller screen size."

Several netbook manufacturers, such as Acer and Asus, have announced plans to offer storefronts for applications that have been validated through the initiative. Adobe is also working with Intel so developers writing for the AIR runtime environment can sell their applications through the same storefronts.

"The Intel Atom Developer Program provides a great opportunity for developers to create useful and inventive applications that will unlock a netbook's potential while opening a new sales and distribution channel," James said.

The programme will add cover for handheld devices and smartphones in the future, Intel said, but did not give a timeline. Although Atom has been used almost exclusively in netbooks and nettops, the chipmaker hopes the next version of the processor will find its way into smaller devices next year.

Microsoft's client platforms and tools chief, Ian Ellison Taylor, said in Intel's statement that the use of Silverlight would let developers write applications once and have them work across PCs, television sets and mobile phones.

Intel's new developer programme comes as rival chipmaker ARM gears up to put more of its processor designs into netbooks and other portable devices.

On Tuesday, Intel also showed off version 2.1 of Moblin Linux at IDF. The Linux distribution is sponsored by Intel in an effort to create a open-source operating system that is tailored to Atom-based systems. This latest version is tailored to mobile devices with smaller form factors, while earlier versions were designed for netbooks.

Developers can apply now to join the programme through Intel's website. According to the chipmaker, successful applicants will be able to license development tools and application modules directly from other developers and software vendors in the intiative.

Those who join the programme will be given access to tools and resources to help them in the pre-development process, Intel said, while software-development kits will be made available to members later in the autumn.

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