Intel Unveils Developer Program for Atom Platform

Intel is looking to expand the reach of its low-power Atom chip platform through the creation of a developer program. Intel's Atom program will give developers a place to create applications that will run on Atom-based devices, and also an application store through which the ISVs can sell their software.

SAN FRANCISCO-Intel is looking to build a developer community around its Atom processor.

At the Intel Developer Forum here Sept. 22, CEO Paul Otellini introduced the Atom Developer Program, aimed at enabling ISVs to create and sell applications for netbooks based on the Atom chip.

Support for handheld devices and smartphones will come in the future, Otellini said.

The program will offer development tools, tech support and SDKs (software development kits) to developers, and also will give ISVs a storefront through which they can sell their applications, he said.

Acer, Asustek Computer and Dell have signed on to support the program, and Otellini said he expects more to join.

Intel introduced Atom in March 2008 with the idea of driving the Intel architecture down into lower-power devices. It's a key part of Intel's push to move beyond its PC and server roots, and to make IA a ubiquitous platform for everything from the smallest Internet-connected device to the most powerful supercomputer.

That transition is what Otellini referred to as a continuum of IA across the technology field.

Intel already has taken steps to extend Atom's reach. In March, Intel announced a partnership with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, with Intel porting the Atom CPU to TSCM's technology platforms.

The netbook space, which Intel has been pushing through its Atom products, is limited by the fact that few applications have been built for the devices' small size. Making it easier for developers to build and sell their applications for Atom-based devices will help increase the reach of the chip platform, according to Intel officials.

Intel is looking to open up Atom to as wide a field as possible, with support for a variety of operating systems and run-time environments. Adobe (Flash) and Microsoft (Silverlight) will port their run-time environments to the Atom platform, according to Intel. JavaFX is expected to be ported at a later date.

The Atom Processor Developer Program SDKs will be available later in the fall, though membership applications are being accepted now. For more information, developers can go here.