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Intel to juice Atom software development

New program includes app stores

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IDF Intel has instituted a new program to accelerate application development for Atom-based netbooks.

Part of the program will be a new framework that will allow developers to create online app stores to sell their wares, a framework that will eventually be extended to platforms other than netbooks.

CEO Paul Otellini announced the new Intel Atom Developer Program during his Tuesday keynote at the Intel Developer Forum held this week in San Francisco.

In explaining the need for the new program, Otellini waxed rhapsodic about the rise of the netbook. "The netbook market has really been quite astounding," he said. "It's been a growth driver for Intel and a growth driver for the industry."

To continue netbook growth, however, Otellini said he believes more needs to be done to help application developers. "If you look at the opportunity around netbook volume and how to accelerate that even faster," he told the 4,000 Forum attendees, "one of the things that has become very clear to us is that we need a better application environment."

Otellini said that the Intel Atom Developer Program is "for developers who want to create new or port existing programs over to Atom. We will develop and deliver tools and SDKs for this."

He also anounced that the program will "enable developers to be able to sell their components to other developers - to be able to get a commercial arrangement going on there." By doing so, Intel's goal isn't merely to provide Atom developers with new revenue streams, but to accelerate app development by creating a market for common components.

Otellin made it clear that the netbook focus of the program is only the beginning. The same strategy will be extended in the future to the handheld space, over into the consumer-electronics market, and up into what he referred to as "mainframe personal computers" - by which he presumably meant PCs.

Part of that extension will be the online app store framwork. "Users are increasingly comfortable in buying their applications from app stores," Otellini said, "and many of our customers already host their own app stores and want to host more. So what we're working on is a framework to allow customers to do that."

And no, Otellini did not mention Apple or its über-successful iTunes App Store. He did, however, report that Asus, Acer, and Dell have signed up to implement the new app store framework.

Otellini also announced that Adobe and Microsoft are are now supporting both Moblin and Windows with their Air and Siverlight runtime operating environments, and that he expects similar support "very shortly" on JavaFX.

"The goal that we have for developers is very simple," he said, "to write once and run on all devices." ®

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