SAN DIEGO – HTC announced a new developer program for its HTC Sense mobile user interface at the Qualcomm Uplinq event here where Nokia's new chief executive pitched his partnership with Microsoft as the start of a third big mobile eco-system.
The new HTC Dev program will release an HTC OpenSense SDK including APIs, plug-ins, sample libraries and code. "You can use these tools to use your apps better," said Peter Chou, chief executive of HTC in a keynote address.
The program will launch "in the coming weeks" with tools available at htcdev.com, he said. HTC is already working with partners including LinkedIn and Picasa on the tool set.
The latest version of HTC Sense includes an active home screen. It lets users choose data they would like to have regularly updated to check with a quick look at the phone.
Chou said HTC shipped 25 million phones in 2010 and 9.7 million handsets just in the first quarter of 2011, three times its run rate a year ago.
"The mobile revolution is putting a computer in every pocket—there are nearly six billion global mobile subscribers so the opportunity is huge," Chou said.
In a separate keynote, Stephen Elop, named chief executive of Nokia in September said his alliance with Microsoft will help create "a third ecosystem" to rival that of Apple's iOS and Google's Android.
"We are moving from a battle of devices to a war of ecosystems," he said.
He was quick to admit "Windows Phone is challenged, it doesn’t have a lot of pick up yet and that was a big part of our assessment. Many developers are doing their best work for Android because the market is [big and] growing," Elop said.
Nokia will work with other Microsoft partners such as HTC and Samsung to expand the Windows Phone pie, in part by being more operator friendly, he said. Nokia has relationships with 132 cellular operators for billing, a key asset it brings to the party, he added.
Nokia also has 200 million registered users of its online Ovi store for Symbian apps. They download as many as five million items a day, he said.
"There's a man on a mission," said Paul Jacobs, chief executive of Qualcomm, after Elop's keynote.
Elop met Jacobs his first day at Nokia.
"I wanted to meet him and he is a good sales guy," Elop said of Jacobs. "He had a list of ten things we need to improve," he added.
The two companies are now partnering to deliver by the end of the year the first Nokia Windows Phone handsets using Qualcomm's Snapdragon. The partnership is remarkable shift given "just a few short years ago Nokia and Qualcomm were beating each other's brains out in intellectual property," Elop quipped.
Longer term, Nokia also is expected to build Windows phones using other chip sets.