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Intel releases Web-based app programming kit

The chipmaker is jumping on the HTML5 bandwagon -- sort of. Its newly acquired AppMobi software lets programmers create Web apps that can be converted into native Android and iOS apps.

Intel XDK software
Intel's XDK software, which the chipmaker got through its acquisition of AppMobi, is now available under the Intel name. It lets people use Web-app tools to create software that runs on mobile devices.

Intel has released its first version of Web-based programming tools to help developers make mobile apps for Android and iOS.

The free software, called Intel XDK, isn't brand new. It's a rebadged version of the AppMobi software that Intel acquired in February. XDK lets people create software that uses the so-called HTML5 foundation, a collection of standards designed to advance the Web beyond static documents toward dynamic applications, then convert those apps so they can be used on mobile devices.

Intel announced the XDK release at its Intel Developer Forum show in Beijing this week. The software is free, but uses and requires people to use Google's Chrome browser.

It may sound peculiar for Intel to give away programming tools, but it's got a long history of trying to help programmers write the software that ultimately will mean Intel processors will have something to do. The AppMobi technology brings a cross-platform approach to the chore so programmers can reach a broader market.

Historically, Intel developer tools have been lower-level offerings designed for programming software that runs natively on chips, but the cross-platform XDK employs the abstraction of the Web. That means, at least in principle, that software runs on any type of chip as long as there's a browser engine to execute the code.

Why might Intel be interested in fostering software that runs on any old chip, not just its own x86 models? One reason: in the mobile realm, ARM chips rule and Intel is the challenger. Writing Web apps means software runs on anyone's chips, not just on ARM chips.

Updated at 8:20 a.m. PT to fix the name of the software.