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LeapFrog Launches Developer Network

Officials at LeapFrog announced a third-party developer network Thursday to follow up the launch of its FLY pentop computer, which is set for release in the fall.

HP , Disney and several other companies have already signed on to provide new applications and products to supplement the New York-based company's FLY platform.

"Since we began development of the FLY pentop computer, LeapFrog has actively engaged a select group of companies in conversations around what this innovative new computing platform will mean to students of all ages over time," Jerry Perez, LeapFrog president, said in a statement. "These prominent companies have seized on the opportunity to help us invent the future and to offer compelling new learning, entertainment and gaming experiences on the FLY pentop computer."

Using a FLY pentop computer, based on optical-scanning technology created by Anoto, and LeapFrog's FLY paper, a user can draw an object and interact with that object by hand, depending on the software application. So, for example, a user can load the piano application, draw a piano on the FLY paper and make music. Officials also hinted at calculator and English to Spanish translation programs.

The digital pen is expected to retail for $99, and applications will range anywhere between $7.99 and $29.99.

Details on the developer network are sketchy, however. Officials said in a statement the initiative is a licensing and marketing opportunity for third-party publishers, technology companies and any other interested parties.

LeapFrog officials were not available for comment at press time.

HP is working with LeapFrog to incorporate its digital paper form technology into upcoming LeapFrog products. The HP Forms Automation System prints out a business form containing tiny dots denoting its position on the form. An HP digital pen captures pen strokes and stores it in memory, where it can be subsequently uploaded and merged with the digital form to create a completed document. It can then be saved as a PDF.

"HP supports LeapFrog's vision for its FLY pentop computing platform," Frank Cloutier, HP imaging and product group chief technology officer, said in a statement. "We are excited to explore the possibility of expanding the use of intelligent printed paper to a broader world of learning and entertainment opportunities at home, school and work."

Disney Publishing is licensing one of its comics brands, W.I.T.C.H., to LeapFrog for an application, while NBC Universal is working with the company to produce a co-branded news application for users.



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