The App Store Wars keep getting more interesting: Software firm Bsquare just announced it'll be releasing a developer platform to support Qualcomm's low-power-eating but powerful Snapdragon smartphone CPUs. More apps are en route.
Bsquare's press release states that today it's announcing the "Launch of MSM8655-Based Snapdragon Mobile Development Platform With Android OS and Brew MP," which is slated for a "Q4 2010" arrival. As well as confirming that Qualcomm's next-gen Snapdragon chips (which are rumored to be 1.3GHz chips) are definitely on the way, this news confirms that developers will be able to craft apps specifically designed to maximize the usage of the powerful Snapdragon CPUs.
The Snapdragon was the first low-power-consuming CPU family clocked over 1GHz to really light up the higher-end of the smartphone market, bringing the promise of true HD video encoding to the devices in an era when Apple's iPhone could only manage standard definition. Bsquare notes that "Snapdragon chipsets are currently in more than 20 commercial smartphones, pocket tablets and smartbooks, with 120 additional designs in development," so it's confident that there is a definite market for apps to go onto these new devices. But Snapdragon merely powers these devices—like the A4 chip powers the iPad and iPhone 2010—and it's the device's operating system and app ecosystem that really provides the user experience. So how on Earth does a Snapdragon development kit fit into this equation?
Like this: It "provides the Android and Brew MP application and device development community a feature rich pre-released device that allows developers to minimize integration work and optimize performance for middleware, application store apps and system software." So Bsquare is providing a hardware-software combo that'll let programmers get an early start on putting together code for upcoming devices that'll run this specific chip under an Android OS. That's a pretty limited audience. But it does tell us one very definite thing: Smartphones that use the next-gen Snapdragons will be extremely powerful, and there'll be every opportunity for coders to get some high-performance apps ready for the end of 2010.
But Bsquare is also a "leading provider" in embedded computing systems, and that may indicate that it's trying to leverage Snapdragon technology into devices other than the expected smartphones and tablet PCs—which means that maybe you'll see some unexpectedly clever new gadgets running apps. Super-smart picture frames and home phones, anyone?
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