Software Development Resources

Posted on 21 January 2013 by

As Windows 8 feeds into the market the opportunities for developers become very interesting. A quick, monetized store that spans tens, and eventually hundreds of millions of users can not be ignored by any software house or independent developer. Ultrabooks offer some additional, unique opportunities in this area as you’ve got a platform that supports both Windows 8 Store and the traditional desktop environment which allows the developer to consider two user scenarios. You’ve also got the unique hardware elements offered by Ultrabooks. Touch, GPS, movement and light sensors, NFC and even perceptual computing opportunities give the developer an exciting platform for new types of interactive and aware applications.

We’ve been working with Intel to bring information, tools and examples to the developer and this page is your starting point for developing for Ultrabooks.

Last updated: 28 August 2013

ultrabook selectionWhat is an Ultrabook?

Look at the Ultrabook as the next-generation personal computer. It combines style, leading-edge technology and new features together in smart laptop, convertible and tablet-style devices and yet retains full desktop processing capability. It’s got a high dynamic-range of usage and is continuing to evolve.

What will will an Ultrabook be?

The Ultrabook continues to develop and 2013 is an important year. In mid 2013 Intel will introduce the first CPU designed with the Ultrabook in mind. Connected Standby, Touch, Sensors and WiDi will be included in nearly all Ultrabooks. Battery life could be uniquely different too as Intel’s integration enable multi-day and always-on scenarios. The Ultrabook will have the biggest dynamic range of any computing device. From always-on Twitter notifications to 1080p video editing.

What’s in the market today?

Ultrabooknews has probably the best Ultrabook database in the world and we update on a daily basis with specifications, images, reviews links and videos. We have 140 ultrabook and ultrathin devices in the database. Over 90 of those are Ultrabooks. There are 25 touchscreen ultrabooks and 9 ultrabooks that are convertible. There are 28 Ultrabook manufacturers.

Pricing ranges from $499 up and Ultrabooks are available globally.

In terms of numbers it’s difficult to find a direct figure but most estimates appear around the 15-20 million mark for 2012 sales. Most of those sales have been in the period since Windows 8 was launched. The latest figure (at time of writing – Jan 20th 2012) says that 60 million Windows 8 licenses have been sold.

App stores and Monetization

Unlike Windows 7 there is an official channel for selling and marketing Windows 8 apps and desktop software. Desktop software can only be marketed through the Windows 8 store but Windows 8 apps, for the Modern UI, can be sold in a quick way. In-app monetization and trials can be offered. There are other online stores for Windows software of course but one of note is Intel’s AppUp which is focusing on providing a channel for Ultrabook and touch-enabled software.


Development Languages and Environments

8700-f1Developers can write for the desktop environment and for the Windows 8 store (or both) and there’s a wide range of development languages and environments to choose from. HTML5, Visual Basic, C# and more with .Net and DirectX libraries. Visual Studio 2012 RC is a common integrated development environment (toolset) that is used. Microsoft has a good starting-point here. Intel has a very good starting point with Ultrabook feature matrix here.

HTML 5 Developer XDK.

Intel have now launched a free HTML development environment where you can write, test, emulate devicves and then submit applications to application stores. The Intel HTML5 XDK is now available.

Resources and Guidelines

Intel provide some excelent resources for the Ultrabook developer through their dedicated software website – Developer Zone. The Ultrabook section is here where you’ll find some good reading…

Windows 8 Ultrabook  ‘Getting Started’ article

Choosing between Desktop or Windows 8 UI modes

Developing apps for Touch and Sensor Input

Coding example: Sample Touch Photo App for Ultrabooks

Ultrabook™ Device and Tablet Windows* Touch Developer Guide

Developer Guides for Haswell


Software Development Kits

Intel Media SDK for accessing accelerated video playback and encoding.

Intel AppUp Developer SDK and Tools

Intel SDK for OpenCL


Development Tools

Intel Graphics Performance Analyzer

Intel Performance analysis tools for Ultrabook Applications



creative perceptual computing hardwarePerceptual Computing

While not built-in to Ultrabooks (yet) the perceptual computing hardware and SDK is available as a developer kit from Intel. The hardware includes  voice recognition, voice synthesis, tracking SDK, 3D depth sensor, 720p image sensor and dual-array microphones. Download the product brief [PDF] here. The SDK and getting stated guides are here.


Feeds, Forum and Contacts

Competitions, Developer Programs and Business support

Intel lists business opportunities for Ultrabook software devs here.

The Perceptual Computing Challenge round 2 is running.

Lenovo has a developer program. Lenovodev includes a device loaner program, marketing and skills support.


Software Development Articles on Ultrabooknews

Intel-sponsored series for developers
Intel Ultimate Coder Challenge 2012
All software development articles