Cape Town – Ubuntu developer Canonical announced on Wednesday that it released a set of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to encourage developers to write apps for the Ubuntu platform.
“Today we are announcing the Ubuntu SDK Beta. The SDK provides a set of APIs that includes the UI toolkit, enabling developers to create responsive and interactive applications with a native Ubuntu mobile UI,” said Canonical, founded by South African billionaire Mark Shuttleworth.
The company is pushing ahead with an accelerated programme to build an Ubuntu smartphone by early 2014. It is hoped that the device will provide competition to the domination of Android and iOS platforms.
The beta release includes a number of features that Canonical claims will make developing applications for the platform easier.
“The beauty of developing on Ubuntu is that you have access to the latest release at all times; as a truly open-source OS you don’t need to wait for the typical six to eight months release cycles,” the company said.
The company hopes to release the device in May 2014 but has not revealed which firm will build the hardware.
Likely candidates might include HTC, Asus and LG.
HTC in particular has a reputation of being open to new platforms. The company was one of the first to adopt Android and has also released a Windows Phone smartphone.
“The DNA of this [smartphone] is fundamentally different to what we have running parallel with Android,” TR McCrow, HTC Sub Saharan Africa business unit manager told News24 when the device launched.
LG builds Google’s popular Nexus 4 smartphone and the company has been ramping up its production for higher end devices.
Canonical said that the open-source community and the API development pack would support developers. It also insisted that it was easier to create applications on Ubuntu than other platforms.
“To leverage the full power of the phone and tablet, the Ubuntu SDK supports native applications developed using Qt/QML and OpenGL ES. HTML5 is also a first-class citizen, unleashing the full power of ubiquitous web technologies to create cross-platform apps.”
Ubuntu SDK is free to download and comes with a full set of instructions.