Intel officials are pushing forward with a concept they call "transparent computing," the idea that developers should be able to create applications that can run across multiple mobile platforms and operating systems.
Renee James, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Software Services Group, outlined the idea during her keynote address Sept. 12 at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco. James said the goal is to free developers from having to choose a specific platform for which to develop, and instead let them create an application once and have it run on any mobile platform.
It also will be a boon for consumers, who care less about the particular hardware they have in their hand and more about what programs they can run on that hardware, according to James.
"With transparent computing, software developers no longer must choose one environment over another in order to maintain profitability and continue to innovate," James said in a statement. "Consumers and businesses are challenged with the multitude of wonderful, yet incompatible devices and environments available today. It's not about just mobility, the cloud or the PC. What really matters is when all of these elements come together in a compelling and transparent cross-platform user experience that spans environments and hardware architectures. Developers who embrace this reality are the ones who will remain relevant."
Software has become a key focus for a company that is best known for making processors for PCs and servers. In an interview with eWEEK Sept. 11, Diane Bryant, vice president and general manager of Intel's Data Center and Connected Systems Group, noted that about 12,000 of Intel's 100,000-plus employees work in its software development and testing unit, and that Intel is now the world's fifth-largest software maker.
During her keynote, James made her pitch to developers that the software tools offered by Intel-in areas such as cross-platform development to security-and the company's distribution network could help drive the goal of more open software development forward.
She said a key to creating an environment where developers can write to any operating system-from Windows to Android to iOS-is a cross-platform language, in this case, HTML5. By leveraging HTML5, developers can move away from having to focus their energy and resources on a single platform, and consumers can have everything from their data to their identities move seamlessly from one device platform to another. They essentially will be able to access their Android apps on their iPhones or their Windows-based smartphones.
However, James' touting of HTML5 came the same day that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pointed to his company's focus on developing HTML5 Web applications as a key problem in the social networking vendor's efforts to expand farther into the mobile space. Instead, Facebook should have spent that time developing native apps.
"We burned through two years on that," Zuckerberg said during an interview Sept. 11 during the TechCrunch Disrupt 2012 conference in San Francisco. "It probably was the biggest strategic mistake we made."
During her talk at IDF, James admitted that HTML5 may have been over-hyped, but that the developer world was moving in its direction. She noted that 40 percent of apps developers currently use HTML5, while another 40 percent are planning to start using it, according to a report on ZDNet.
James also unveiled the Intel Developer Zone program, a community-based site aimed at giving developers and businesses a single place to go for tools and resources to deal with the growing number of software challenges, from touch-screens and longer battery life to the cloud and security. It also will help developers embrace the transparent computing environment.
In the fourth quarter, the Intel Developer Zone will open an HTML5 Developer Zone aimed at helping developers create cross-platform apps across such operating systems as iOS, Android, Windows and Tizen, the Linux-based mobile OS once known as MeeGo, developed by Intel with Nokia. Tizen also is focused on leveraging HTML5.