A new Web site will debut on October 2 that enables developers to work with a variety of platforms to which they normally would not have easy access.
DevelopOnline.com is a collaborative development centre for programmers and engineers to design new products or improve existing products via the Web, with the aim of resulting in faster time to market.
There are similarities between DevelopOnline's Web site and the Web-based marketplaces for open-source development, such as global collaboration, community creation around products, cost reduction, and reliable products, says Bill Claybrook, research director at Boston-based Aberdeen Group.
"One of the biggest barriers to exploring platforms beyond the PC is just getting the platforms," says Alan Steinberg, CEO of DevelopOnline.
The site provides developers with working reference designs from multiple suppliers, such as Avnet, Intel, Lineo, Motorola, and Red Hat.
"Getting the platforms out there and more widely available could really speed some of the more innovative uses and applications," says Dave Caruso, general manager of global industry strategies at AMR Research, in Boston.
At the DevelopOnline Web site, developers have access to actual environments, such as Linux-based PDA (personal digital assistants), network, and set-top platforms. DevelopOnline's Steinberg says cell phone platforms will be available in the near future.
AMR's Caruso continued that the bigger application builders might not have the need for such access to platforms, because they are likely to get the platforms directly from the vendors.
"This is a novel idea, but we'll still need to see if the traction is there," Caruso says.