HP opens SDK for WebOS TouchPad to developers

The company hopes to attract developers with the promise of one platform for tablets, smartphones, PCs, and printers

Hewlett-Packard is giving developers early access to the WebOS 3.0 SDK, hoping that they will start working on applications for the company's upcoming TouchPad tablet, the company said in a blog post on Wednesday.

The SDK has everything users need to start developing for the TouchPad, including tips on application structuring, design, and navigation for the tablet, according to HP. It uses Enyo, HP's new development framework for WebOS, which aims to improve performance and ease-of-use compared to its predecessor. It will also allow people to build applications and user interfaces that can run on products with different screen sizes and resolutions.

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HP announced its iPad competitor in February and expects to start shipping it this summer. It will have a dual-core processor and a 9.7-inch display with a resolution of 1,024 by 768 pixels. 3G models will also have A-GPS (Assisted Global Positioning System), and users will be able to choose between models with 16GB or 32GB of storage. The tablet measures 240 by 190 by 14 millimeters and weighs 740 grams.

However, WebOS has more to offer developers, eventually allowing them to develop applications that can be used on PCs and printers in addition to tablets and the smartphones it already supports. This will allow them to reach a much larger audience than any of the competing operating systems, according to HP.

The platform's strength lies in its ability to integrate and deliver services across a multitude of devices, within HP's recently announced cloud vision, according to a report from CCS Insight.

But turning WebOS into a successful operating system will be an uphill battle for HP because it is starting from a worldwide smartphone market share of just 0.6 percent in 2010, according to IDC.

Analysts at IDC are not optimistic about HP's chances of increasing that: In a report posted this week, the company predicted that by 2015, Android, Windows Phone, Windows Mobile, iOS and BlackBerry OS will have a combined market share of about 95 percent, leaving WebOS and other operating systems to fight for the remaining 5 percent.

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