Syabas Launches Popbox SDK, Opens App Center

Syabas Technology, better know as the maker of the Popcorn Hour set-top box, is officially launching the SDK for its upcoming Popbox device today. The Popbox SDK will allow developers to build Flash lite apps that can be distributed through the device’s app center. Popbox marketing lead Jeff Reine told me yesterday during a phone conversation that he expects Flash games as well as social apps to be very popular on the platform.
Syabas wants to attract developers to its platform by making it easy to convert existing Flash widgets. At the same time, the
company is exposing some advanced functionality like the ability to write files and access data stored on the local Intranet. “We give you access to everything that the box can do,” said Reine.
Today’s SDK release puts the Popbox in the same league as Boxee’s upcoming set-top-box and the Roku box, both of which offer third-party developers the ability to add content or apps to their platforms. Reine said that the Popbox SDK will be a lot more flexible than the Roku box, which focuses on a channel model to add video content. However, the Popbox wont be quite as open as Boxee. Users wont be able to install any apps that aren’t distributed through the company’s app center, but Reine said that the intention is to simply prevent the distribution of malicious code through a minimum of editorial control.

At launch, all apps written for the Popbox will be free. Reine said that the company is exploring the idea of paid apps, and that developers are already free to monetize their apps through advertising and subscriptions.
The Popbox is expected to launch in the second quarter of this year. Apps written with the Popbox SDK can also be used with Popcorn Hour A-200 and C-200 NMTs, of which Syabas has sold 50,000 to date.
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