For those keeping up with Palm Software CTO Mitch Allen, you may be aware that he recently hosted a webcast a couple of days ago titled Application Basics, based on Chapter 2 of the new O'Reilly Palm webOS book. Back in February, we covered his first webcast, titled Developing Applications for webOS: a Preview, in which he went over the intro material in Chapter 1. You may also remember that Allen helped kick off PreDevCamp last month. The next webcast, Unit Testing in Palm webOS, came in July by way of Christian Sepulveda, VP of Pivotal Labs (and one of the Pre launch partners).
If you missed this one, don't fret; the webcast is part of a series (so we can expect to see more), and you can watch the video below. Advanced webOS devs will likely find a lot of familar material here, as Chapter 2 goes over the basic app structure and core SDK dev tools, before delving into an early version of the News app from the book. Eventually, Allen will be guiding us through the creation a complete application. From O'Reilly:
We will keep you posted on future webcasts as they are announced.
UPDATE: The last 15 minutes of the webcast video is missing; O'Reilly is aware of the issue, and a full, revised video should be up by Tuesday.
UPDATE #2 (09/18): The complete video is now available (in two parts) below.
Despite Palm rejecting a good media app earlier today due to an unapproved API, they have turned it around by approving many more tonight, notes Precentral. Adding to the library is a Google Voice app called gDial Pro, giving you a range of voice options including a unifying number, call forwarding, and voicemail transcriptions. This is a great plus for Pre users, as Apple has rejected similar apps on the iPhone (other webOS VoIP clients are also in the works, so we may see more soon).
More apps ready to download include:
AccuRadio (AccuRadio): Streaming radio for the US and Canada.
Local Concerts (iLike): Gives personalized concert information for your favorite artists.
Simple Bible (Jev Vandegrift): A full Bible text with easy navigation and eBook features.
Currency Converter (Janni Kovacs): Just as you would expect, it assists with conversion for international currency transactions.
420 Wallpaper (A Minor Label): Give your Palm Pre a new look with various backgrounds.
Forbes (Forbes): Essential business news at your fingertips.
New games, including Video Poker (bytesequencing.com), Checkers (Keen Studios), and Lights Out (Vasudeva Damarasingu).
With Palm's App Catalog growing as of late and the e-commerce beta program gearing up, not all developers have their apps headed towards fame and glory. Precentral reported on the first official app rejection today, with Palm denying the NaNplayer app entry into the App Catalog. Here's a bit of what the developer, who is known as Blubble, had to say:
I have some bad news folks. Palm has told me that they will not allow my music player NaNplayer into the App Catalog at the current time...Palmstated that they don't support music file indexing and consequently won't admit the app into the App Catalog. It doesn't seem to matter that the app is works just fine on the Pre and that it is substantially better than their pathetic stock music player in terms of features and performance.
So it seems that while Blubble had a useful app forthcoming, NaNplayer makes use of an undocumented API, which queries music files on the device and their metadata. The usage likely violates the SDK EULA, resulting in an immediate rejection. However, of note is that it's the same API that the default music player uses on the Pre.
Looks like Apple doesn't like the Palm Pre pretending to be one of theirs, and has again thwarted connectivity between the webOS device and iTunes 9. Previously, Palm patched up the issue by identifying the Pre as a "mass storage device (iPod) manufactured by Apple", which fooled iTunes into syncing. So with the native iTunes 3rd party sync rumor pretty much debunked, it's only logical that the cycle of busted syncing will continue with Palm bringing it back; especially with the just announced Palm Pixi touted as having it.
So with the new webOS 1.2 update just around the corner, we can only gather that Palm has another ace up their sleeve for Pre and iTunes fans alike. As usual, immediate alternatives are available, such as holding off updating iTunes, or using 3rd party programs such as DoubleTwist or the Missing Sync to restore functionality. Until then, looks like Palm CEO (and former Apple iPod exec) Jon Rubinstein will need to make sure they bring it back, hopefully for good next time.
Palm has officially lifted the curtain on their second webOS smartphone, the thinline Palm Pixi, which was foreshadowed since April and previously referred to as "Eos" or "Pixie". Palm's thinnest phone ever shaves 6.1mm in thickness off of the Pre; and at 10.85mm, it's even thinner than the iPhone 3GS and Blackberry devices, while sporting a full QWERTY keypad.
Also, despite an apparent AT&T factsheet and other rumors that it would arrive on GSM, the phone will be launching exclusively on the Sprint 3G network. Availability is still TBD, although Palm has confirmed previous rumors that it would come in time for the holiday season (despite speculation that delays may push it to 2010).
Features of the Pixi include 8GB internal storage, customizable back plates, multitouch, and updated Synergy and Facebook App. It uses Qualcomm's MSM7627 chipset, with built-in GPS, 2MP camera and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR. However, it will not have WiFi and has a smaller screen than the Pre (320x400), while sporting a form factor similar to the Centro (non-sliding keyboard). It will also sync with iTunes, according to Palm. First videos and more after the break.
Before today, applying patches to the Pre such as the onscreen keyboard and terminal was reserved mainly for hackers and advanced users, who were willing to root their device and get their feet wet in coding. However, our friends at webos-internals have set out to change this, releasing their newest creation, Preware, for all your friends who want to advantage of the newest patches and hacks in the works, without the fuss.
Besides using the helpful WebOS Quick Install to install it, you do not need to access the Linux command line or "root your Pre" to install or use Preware. From the site:
"No other application installer tool is sophisticated enough to install the custom Package Manager Service that Preware requires...it is the only over-the-air installer for the palm (pre) capable of installing advanced palm applications such as the on screen keyboard or the terminal application."
In regards to the much-anticipated onscreen keyboard, it received a new update recently (and is in "intense development", although still Alpha). Once the patch is installed via Preware, you can start tapping away. Just double-tap on the gesture area when in any text area, and a fancy keyboard will pop up and go away when you're done. Of note is that the sym lock unlocks the scroller, so you can scroll the keyboard to get to the symbols below. Check out Precentral for installation instructions and a helpful video.
The webOS fever has hit North of the Border, with Bell Mobility becoming the first carrier of the Palm Pre outside the US. Canadian developers will now have the right tools at their disposal, many with fresh memories of PreDevCamp (which included camps in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver).
From the initial announcement, Palm has taken their first international debut of the Pre seriously, with widespread distribution among retailers including Best Buy, Future Shop, Costco, The Telephone Booth, Wal-Mart, Wireless ect. and Wireless Wave. The new ad campaign is also in full swing, with the first Bell-Pre TV spot (below) airing about a week before launch.
A new "Meet my Palm Pre" series is also being shown around the web, with a guy in an orange tie bringing the new smartphone to various people on the streets. Check out the first three webisodes after the break. Nothing you haven't seen before, but Pre fans who like these kinds of "reality TV" ads might get a kick out of it.
UPDATE: Three more episodes added, check out all six episodes below!
If you've picked up a Bell Pre, what phone did you upgrade from, and how are you enjoying it so far?
Palm's App Catalog continues to gain momentum, with six new apps added yesterday, reports Precentral, including: Shabbat Shalom, ESPN Zoom, Bubbles!, Mileage Monitor, Word Ace, and Kosher2Go. Over the past couple weeks, other Pre apps were added including OpenTable and Fliq Bookmarks as well as Blackout, Spades, and Echo, while a new traffic camera app is confirmed for the speed buffs out there (in emergencies, of course).
The App Catalog has been gearing up to expand, with Palm hiring a lead administrator and starting a beta program for paid apps, among other ventures. The variety of new apps alone are an indication that more 3rd party developers are getting their apps approved by Palm. Below is a summary of what's new:
Shabbat Shalom: Reminds persons of Jewish faith (or those just curious) of the candle lighting times.
ESPN Zoom: A simple "find the differences" picture game where you can challenge yourself with various ESPN photos.
Bubbles!: Not unlike its counterpart on other devices, you tap to pop bubbles of matching colors. Try to clear the entire board! Other games in the queue from this developer.
Mileage Monitor: A gas mileage program.
Word Ace: Described as "combining the betting and strategy of Texas Hold'em and the mental challenge of a word game." This was one of the apps featured at preDevCamp.
Kosher2Go: A restaurant finder with a focus on finding Kosher restaurants.
Good news for iTunes and Palm fans: In the battle between the Pre's Media Sync and iTunes, which saw the Pre first sync with iTunes, Apple breaking compatibility with their new version, only to have syncing restored soon after with the latest version of webOS, this could all be a thing of the past. Boy Genius recently posted a series of screenshots of the upcoming iTunes 9 release, with some people noticing in a screenshot (above) that a Samsung player was syncing natively with iTunes. Philip Berne responded in a Tweet:
"People are burying the lede on this iTunes 9 story. The big news, if true, is 3rd party device support. If you can't beat 'em, sync 'em."
So far, it seems Palm has done everything they could to get a place for the Pre in iTunes, including the aforementioned back and forth, and more recently complaining to the USB-IF about Apple's policies of blocking USB devices by Vendor ID. So if it pans out, this could be a big win for Palm (and many other companies) who want to officially be on board the iTunes train. Apple would also benefit, as their user base for iTunes and the iTunes store would widen considerably.