Intel on Wednesday released the beta version of a software development kit for building netbook applications that would eventually be offered through online stores.
The Atom Developer Program SDK is available for Microsoft Windows, the dominant netbook operating system, and Moblin, an open-source OS developed by Intel. Most of the mini-laptops sold today run on Intel's Atom processor.
The SDK helps software companies and individual developers design and submit applications for Intel-based netbooks. Those apps will eventually be sold through online stores opening next year, Intel said.
The Atom Developer Program was first announced in September at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco. Besides the SDK, the program includes community resources to develop new applications or to port existing software to Atom-based devices, such as netbooks.
Netbooks have been the fastest growing PC category during the economic recession. Sales of the inexpensive mini-computers, which sell for as little as $300, are expected to reach more than 50 million units this year, according to ABI Research.
"Consumer adoption of mobile computing and Atom-based netbooks is growing rapidly, and there is an immediate opportunity for developers to capitalize on the popularity of these small form-factor, on-the-go devices," Renee James, corporate VP and general manager of Intel's software and services group, said in a statement.
While Atom dominates netbooks today, Intel is looking beyond the mini-laptops in releasing the SDK. At IDF, Intel introduced an Atom-based system-on-chip as a platform for Internet-enabled high-definition televisions.
The chipmaker over the next couple of years plans to reduce the power consumption of Atom processors to make them the foundation of a smartphone platform. The latest SDK is the first move toward building a community of developers who could eventually build applications for a variety of Atom-based devices.
With the beta version of the SDK, developers can submit applications for validation by Intel. Once validated, developers will be able to take advantage of the Atom Developer Program's sales opportunities next year.
In an FAQ posted on Intel's Web site, the chipmaker said developers will set the price of their applications and receive up to 70% of the revenue.