Sprint Offering App Developer Tools Online

Sprint (s s) today launched new tools for developers who want to build apps for its network phones. The new Sprint Services Framework is a web-based portal into a bevy of development tools, including direct access to APIs for accessing Sprint network services in apps and a big focus on location-based service (LBS) tools for app developers.

The new developer tools also include real-time usage monitoring, which can be integrated into apps, enabling developers to have a constant picture of how their app is performing, and how it’s being used by customers. The tools are available for Android (s goog) and BlackBerry (s rimm), with support for Windows Phone 7 (s msft), webOS (s hpq) and Java (s orcl) coming in the future.

This renewed developer initiative by Sprint is similar to the Verizon (s vz) effort launched recently. Both programs demonstrate how important apps have become not only to smartphone platforms, but to the carriers. While platforms like Android have their own app stores, carriers are looking to cash in on their relationship with their customers by offering simple app downloads (and purchases). Apps are becoming a form of currency for all players in the smartphone space.

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