May 9, 2006

Motorola consolidates developer resources

Author: Nathan Willis

On Monday, consumer electronics giant Motorola announced the re-launch of its Web-based developer resources, consolidating several existing programs and new material into one location, dubbing it MOTODEV. The new site hosts white papers, technical specifications, and software development kits for a variety of Motorola products, including its Linux-based cell phones.

Spec sheets and developer guides are available for more than 70 devices, a sizable though incomplete portion of the company's current product line. The tools offered at the site include SDKs geared at Java developers, including one kit specifically tailored for the company's Linux-based phones. Like all of the SDKs, though, the kit is a Windows-only application.

All of the resources are available free of charge, and there is currently no registration required in order to gain access. The site does have a "Membership/Join Now" page, but it is currently inactive, and the company failed to answer inquiries regarding the benefits of membership by press time. Members of Motorola's previous developer programs Motocoder and iDEN will have their existing memberships transferred to the new, consolidated program.

For Linux programmers looking to develop or port applications for the platform, there is not yet much in the way of new information. Motorola continues to encourage the use of Java on its Linux-based phones (as it does for its non-Linux-based phones) rather than developing directly on top of the Linux operating system. However, centralizing both information and support resources -- and making both public -- will clearly be a boon to developers from a convenience standpoint.

In April, Motorola's Mark VandenBrink told the LinuxWorld conference audience to expect both a new revision to the platform this year and a corresponding effort to assist independent software vendors. The launch of MOTODEV is in accord with these moves, and although there are still empty placeholders at the site, they signal that more is to come. In both its initial announcement and its Frequently Asked Questions page, the company refers to the current portal as only the initial phase of a new developer program, focused for now on integrating its existing developer resources into one location.

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