HP releases TouchSmart SDK to lure developers

Hewlett-Packard on Monday released the TouchSmart software development kit to entice developers into building applications for its touchscreen PCs.

The SDK includes code samples, documentation and application programming interfaces. The kit is available for download at no charge at HP's TouchSmart DevZone.

HP introduced its TouchSmart line of PCs in 2006, building the touch interface itself. The software, however, has recently been rebuilt to take advantage of the touchscreen support in Windows 7, the latest version of Microsoft's operating system. Windows 7 was released last month.

TouchSmart sits on top of Windows as a separate interface for accessing and running touch-enabled applications. HP worked with companies providing consumer services on the Web in creating applications for the computer maker's latest TouchSmart products. Those companies include Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, Rhapsody and Twitter.

HP hopes developers will be interested in building applications for businesses. For example, TouchSmart running on an in-store kiosk could be used to help customers find products. The platform also could be used on signage in a mall to run interactive maps. Other uses could include applications for sales and marketing departments within an organization.

HP launched a partner program for software vendors. Once registered with the program, ISVs get access to technical resources, such as white papers, and a technical forum managed by HP engineers to get help in building applications.

HP plans to promote its TouchSmart development programs this week at the Microsoft's Professional Developer Conference in Los Angeles.

The inclusion of touch-enabling APIs in Windows 7 will likely drive a PC interface evolution from the keyboard and mouse to the touchscreen. Manufacturers that released multi-touch capabilities in Windows 7 PCs included Acer, Gateway, HP, Lenovo and Sony.

HP last month introduced two TouchSmart consumer PCs that start at $899 and a business model that starts at $1,299.

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