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HP to launch TouchSmart development kit

HP opens up its TouchSmart platform to third-party developers

Hoping to spur innovation on its touch-sensitive TouchSmart all-in-one desktops, HP will announce guidelines today explaining to third-party developers how they can create their own TouchSmart-compatible programs. HP informs us that it will post the guidelines to its TouchSmart Community Web site later today. The site will also host applications for TouchSmart owners to download, with the existing discussion forum providing a means for users to comment and give feedback.

Now playing: Watch this: HP TouchSmart IQ506

HP says the programming guidelines are meant for "experienced, professional developers with WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) and C# language proficiency," so you'll need to know your stuff before you get coding. You may also want to consider that HP is not following the iPhone/iTunes Store model, and any applications hosted on the TouchSmart Community site will be free to download. HP says that it won't block developers from hosting and charging for applications themselves, which is good news for those who may need a financial incentive to start programming.

Potential TouchSmart developers should also consider the impending (give or take a year) launch of Windows 7 and its reported multitouch capability. Windows Vista, and by extension TouchSmart, currently only support single-contact touch input. We have no guarantees that TouchSmart programs developed today will be forward compatible with the next version of Windows 7 and its multitouch support, but we'd argue that HP is doing touch-based computing in general a favor by releasing an experimentation platform so early.

For current and future TouchSmart users, you have only to be excited by the influx of new TouchSmart applications. HP's own TouchSmart programs are fine (we like the PostIt Note simulator in particular), but limited and HP hasn't added to them.

Following the development guidelines, HP will have two new, third-party programs available for download tomorrow. Proxure will have a touch-based version of its KeepSync program for syncing media files across multiple systems on a network. The other, FreeHand Systems' Solero Music Viewer displays digital sheet music, whose pages you can turn automatically or by hand.