You've been seeing a lot from the Intel® Atom™ Developer Program and AppUp for a few weeks now, and we're sure you've got questions. So let's have Intel's Bill Pearson, Manager of the Intel Software Network team, answer some of them for you.
Q. What is the Atom Developer Program and AppUp?
A. The Intel® AppUp Center Beta is Intel's software application storefront aimed at the popular category of Intel Atom processor based netbooks. Over time, Intel and partner stores are aiming to host applications for handheld devices, smart phones, consumer electronics appliances, TVs, and more. The Intel® Atom™ Developer Program provides developers support, validation, and a worldwide sales and distribution channel for both applications and application components for netbooks based on the Intel® Atom™ processor. This is an opportunity for developers to get in at the ground floor of the program to sell their applications to these growing market segments. According to ABI Research, the netbook market alone is estimated to grow to 139M in 2013.
Q. I've been selling my application at major sites for years now. Can I keep selling it there AND submit it to AppUp?
A. Yes. We have no exclusivity requirements. Believe it or not, we want you to make money! Developers should have every opportunity to get paid for their work. So by all means, sell your app wherever you'd like!
Q. I have a PC game that I think would work really well on netbooks, but their small screen and typically low resolutions make it impossible for my GUI to work well. What can I do about that?
A. Like any small computing device netbooks offer some unique challenges and a lot of opportunities. For your game to work well on a netbook, you'll need to accommodate the smaller screen and lower resolution. Porting your game to AppUp is an opportunity to rethink the UI and perhaps simplify things. For some games, such as multi-player games, think about portions of the game that could be played in the netbook environment (such as building assets, unique missions), and how you could connect the netbook gaming experience with the high-end desktop/laptop experience as the consumer uses both in game-play.
Q. I have a smartphone or MID application – how can I port it to netbooks?
A. Porting can be challenging, but there are developers who have figured it out. According to Chris Skaggs from Soma Games "We were able to port our iPhone app "G: Into the Rain" to AppUp in about 2.5 weeks. It was easier than expected and the larger screen size of the netbook and keyboard actually enhanced the game play. Developers should focus on the controls, and the screen size, and the wrapper around the application to recognize when it is being played on a netbook vs. another device." In many cases, our developer forums and community can offer suggestions and support.
Q. What languages are supported today?
A. We started with C and C++ libraries and currently support Windows and Moblin™ v2.1. Future updates to the Intel AppUp Center will support the MeeGo software platform. Developers have been creative and have used these libraries to submit apps based on .Net, Flash, and even Python—many of these work-arounds have been posted on our forums. We agree that runtimes would help a lot. Support for runtimes such as Adobe Air, Java, and Silverlight is coming soon.
Q. My app starts off in a limited functionality mode and allows customers to buy increased functionality. Does Atom Developer Program support this revenue model for developers?
A. Of course! Today you'd need to put both the free version and the paid version in the store. We are working on making this easier in the future by supporting in-app upgrades directly in our SDK.
Q. I've had great success with in-app advertising. Does AppUp support this?
A. Sure. If you're using an advertising or subscription service you won't need to change anything at this time.
Q. I get 70% of my app sales through AppUp. Why not more?
A. The remaining 30% is used to pay for the cost of running the store, handling the billing, validation, distribution, and marketing. Money earned from that sale goes into marketing AppUp and increasing its user base, essentially expanding the number of possible customers you have.
Q. What incentives are there for developers to write applications for netbooks?
A. First, we see very high growth rates in this market segment, with very few applications specifically designed for the form factor (screen size + mobility). There is a large installed base netbooks already—and the Intel AppUp Center offers a way for developers to efficiently reach these netbook consumers. In addition, by participating in the Intel Atom Developer program, developers will be poised to sell their applications on additional Intel Atom-Based devices as we expand the program. We are also offering financial incentives for developers who submit their applications in this early phase of the program. We just announced the Million Dollar Development fund, which is a multi-phase program to offer financial incentives to help accelerate innovation in software applications for devices based on an Intel Atom processor starting with netbooks.
Q. Is this store available worldwide for developers?
A. Currently the Intel Atom Developer Program is worldwide—developers can submit free apps from all countries and developers from 47 countries can submit paid apps. The applications in the Intel AppUp Center beta for Windows and Moblin v2.1 storefront are currently available to consumers in the United States and Canada. Starting March 31, 2010 these apps will also become available in 27 European countries providing developers the opportunity to distribute and sell applications in one of the largest market for netbooks in the world.
Thanks to Bill for his time. To learn more about the Intel Atom developer program, click here.