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Motorola Looking to Lure Dev Talent

In a quest to spur mobile device application development, and lure developers to its various mobile environments, Motorola (NYSE:MOT) is pushing out new tools for its MOTODEV Studio platform.

Included is an updated toolset for coding Java apps, and new tools that support development on the Symbian and mobile Linux platforms. The tools will make it easier and cheaper for developers to work in preferred framework environments, according to Motorola.

The tool push is the vendor's biggest news in mobile development since it launched its MOTODEV program two years ago. Given increasing consumer expectations, mobile application development is a competitive element in the market battle between handset makers.

"The game is changing. It isn't only about hardware anymore," said Carmi Levy, a senior vice president for AR Communications. "It's no longer enough to design a compelling device and expect it to sell because it looks good," Levey told InternetNews.com.

"You have to have great software to go along with it. And the only way to have great software is to develop a strong community of developers around your platform."

Motorola would agree. Christy Wyatt, VP of software platforms and ecosystems, said the goal is to support development across all of Motorola's platforms and provide tools ahead of market launch to foster deeper and more expansive content offerings.

"This is a major toolset for the year. We're committed to give early access and development previews to developers," said Wyatt, noting Motorola will deploying more than a few new handsets later this year.

"We're trying to make development as optimal as possible," she said. "We're not in a PC-era in terms of mobile devices. There aren't just two flavors of hardware and one predictable OS."

As Levy explained, the toolset is good news as it should help developers to build applications and create innovative code.

"Developers want vendors to help them build their business by making it easy for end-users to install, download and purchase software for their mobile devices," said Levy. "As end user expectations increase, developers need increasingly sophisticated tools to develop applications that wouldn't have been possible just a few years ago."

Motorola's MOTODEV Studio is an integrated development environment based on an open framework. Last August Motorola launched MOTODEV Studio for Java ME.

The tools announced include an updated Java version, and support for the Symbian UIQ, MOTO Z8 and MOTO Z10 handset platforms, the JSR248 mobile service architecture subset and the MOTO Z6w, built on a mobile Linux platform.

A beta release of MOTODEV Studio for UIQ is expected by end of June. According to Wyatt, the UIQ development environment supports creation of native C/C++ applications for Symbian/UIQ handsets including the MOTO Z8 and MOTO Z10.

A preview of MOTODEV Studio for WebUI is expected by June as well. Motorola said the tool will foster development and testing of lightweight WebUI widgets and full-featured, context-aware applications.

One potential widget could be a social networking application, said Wyatt. Developers can build applications using standard Web programming languages such as JavaScript, HTML, CSS and AJAX.

The environment will also support future versions of Motorola's MOTOMAGX mobile Linux platform.

Also coming later this quarter will be the MOTODEV Studio for Linux, which provides support for native C/C++ application development for the MOTOMAGX platform. Motorola has sold 13 million Linux handsets -- one of the broadest Linux device offerings of any mobile handset manufacturer, said Wyatt.

Motorola's strategy to foster a wide developer ecosystem could very well play a key factor in its struggle to stem its decline in the mobile device industry.

"At this stage in its history, either Motorola succeeds in attracting sufficient numbers of leading edge developers or it will forever be an also-ran handheld maker," said Levy.