Palm is moving quickly towards expanding their App Catalog, recently inviting select webOS developers into an early submission process and hiring a Lead Administrator to make sure the submission process and other operations run smoothly. In their latest move, Palm has opened the doors to submissions to the App Catalog e-commerce beta program, giving you an opportunity to market your app to the webOS user base before the the program is opened to all developers "later in the year".
You can charge a one-time download fee (no recurring billing option mentioned).
You receive 70 percent of all sales revenue (minus applicable sales taxes).
Users can purchase your app using a credit card, and apps will be downloaded OTA to their device.
The e-commerce user base will be initially limited to the United States.
To submit your app(s) for consideration:
Send an email to . In the subject of your email put your company followed by the name of your application (e.g. subject: My Company – My Application).
In the body of your email, include the following:
Your Palm webOSDev user name.
Whether the app will be free or paid; if paid, indicate the price (minimum of US $0.99).
A description of your application.
Attach the application package (.ipk file).
Send a separate email for each application.
This is a great opportunity to get your app noticed and be one of the first available for purchase in the App Catalog. Palm's commission structure looks similar to Apple's counterpart, and seems reasonable for the hosting, exposure, and e-commerce afforded to you through the App Catalog.
With more developers submitting their apps into Palm's app catalog, a big wave of webOS applications for the Palm Pre may be just on the horizon. Over the past week, the direction that Palm wants to take with their App Catalog has become clearer.
First off, they recently posted for a new Lead Administrator for the App Catalog, so it's clear that they want someone to run things smoothly once the apps start to roll in, MyPre reports. Responsibilities include: Managing the app submission review process, quality audits, communication with developers to resolve issues and questions and to discuss process and policy, create training programs for App Store Review, QA and Developer Relations teams. It's good to see Palm moving forward, much as they did for gaming when they hired a Graphics Frameworks Engineer.
Secondly, besides previously stressing the low priority of fart apps and increasing focus on webOS games, Palm Developer Community Manager Chuq Von Rospach made a statement at a developer conference last week that he wants to keep cheap apps from flooding the marketplace:
“...we’re also trying to build some things into the catalog … and different ways to get your app into the catalog and get it noticed. … how can we help people with good apps get that kind of notice and marketing … [we want to make sure that] the really good apps get that notice, not the cheap apps, and fighting that whole race to the bottom is one of those things that we want to see if we can do a little differently.”
So it looks like the "race to the bottom" won't be the big draw of Palm's App Catalog, unlike Apple's App Store (right). Historically, Palm OS applications generally went for $10 or more a license, while "lite" and "free" crippleware versions were generally seen as unnecessary. So it makes sense that Palm would push for quality over quantity on the Pre.
What do you think, will Palm's quality-driven market be enough to survive in an increasingly mass-driven market, where users often use a 99 cent app once or twice before forever filing it away? Also, can there be a good compromise between app quality and price that will attract the best developers while keeping consumers happy?
Palm recently posted an article and opened a new forum on their webOSdev developer site, covering the possibilities for creating games on webOS and allowing game developers the chance to share ideas, tips and provide feedback to Palm for future versions of the SDK. The platform is currently "suitable for creating a wide range of games: puzzles, word games, card and board games, innovative social games...even simple arcade games," they note. Palm Developer Community Manager, Chuq Von Rospach writes:
"Game developers: Now’s your chance to help Palm shape the future of mobile device game development on the webOS platform. Visit our latest developer forum, the webOS Game Developer Café, and tell us and the rest of the community about your webOS game development efforts."
While 3D "fast-paced arcade games" are still not supported, they have been implementing support such as the canvas tag, which allows for 2D dynamically generated graphics. In addition, it may be only be a matter of time before OpenGL and other gaming features are added to webOS, with Palm recently hiring a Graphics Frameworks Engineer.
Other ways to enjoy gaming on the Pre include emulators such as Playstation and MAME as well as other Linux ports such as an NES emulator. Flash 10 Beta is coming later this year, and game companies such as PopCap are already working on porting their Arcade lineup to the Pre. So don't fear; there are plenty of options for your free time while webOS gets its gaming legs up.
Palm's new thinline webOS handset, the Eos ("Pixie"), previously rumored to replace the popular Centro smartphone by Christmas and ship by November, will now probably drop sometime in 2010, reports Digital Daily. Analyst Ilya Grozovsky of Morgan Joseph states:
"We think that the Pixie, which we believe is being geared for AT&T (T) and has a different form factor than the Pre, is not likely to be available for the 2009 holiday season."
However, without the release of the sub-$100 (rumored) Eos, Palm will need to hold out later this year against AT&T and its $99 iPhone model, especially with Pre sales falling from 200,000 units in June to 100,000 units in July, and forecasts of deeper losses for Palm this quarter, predicts Barrons. On the flipside, consumers may benefit from lower prices that could be on the way later this year. "We believe price cuts may be looming...in an effort to spur holiday sales of the Pre," Grozovsky notes.
Three new additions to the App Catalog snuck in today, coming a couple weeks after two apps, OpenTable and Fliq Bookmarks, were added to the list. The most recent apps include Blackout, Spades, and Echo.
The first app, Blackout, is a version of Lightsout, a puzzle game in which you try to clear lights from a board. Spades is the classic card game, and is ad-supported.
The third app, Echo, is Chapura's syncing software to sync your Pre with Palm Desktop software. It is windows-only, and works over wifi. It includes a 7-day trial, after which you can buy it for $29.95. For those still using the Classic emulator to hotsync your data, this may be the next step towards full webOS integration.
Also coming soon is the Trapster traffic camera app, which is a database (const antly updated by users numbering over one million) of speed traps, red light cameras, and speed cameras with GPS tracking. It monitors your position and alerts you when you get near a trap. So far, it has over 500,000 speed traps, live police, and checkpoint alerts, and is cross-platform on iPhone, Blackberry, Garmin, TomTom, and more. The webOS release date is still unknown.
Finally, as an alternative to the webOS YouTube application, you can now access a webOS-optimized mobile portal of the online video site that allows you to rate, comment, and subscribe to your favorite videos. This requires no additional download, and is also available to your iPhone and Android-toting friends.
With Palm recently inviting more developers to submit their app next to the App Catalog, it's only a matter of time before the apps really start coming in. Are there any apps that you're most looking forward to?
While an earlier browser-based WebShell keyboard caused a stir among those looking for a soft keyboard on the Pre, a true onscreen keyboard is now in the works. Coders recently found a pop-up keyboard hidden within webOS. Actually, the keyboard was crafted from a modified SYM pop-up extra characters list, and works in both portrait and landscape orientation. "The Palm Pre already COMES with an on-screen keyboard...(it) provides a path to produce a fully functional on-screen keyboard", the developers note.
While the tweak is still in Pre-Alpha stage right now (with a few issues to iron out), a full virtual keyboard on the Pre looks well on its way to fruition. Head straight over to the patch and patch instructions to get started, or hit up the link below for more details.
With the big day finally behind us, did preDevCamp 2009 live up to the hype? Marco, who attended the camp at Palm HQ in Sunnyvale, CA would definitely consider it a success in his video blog. One things for certain; he sure packed right for the event. Mitch Allen kicked the flagship camp off with a few words. "We're on the verge of a new generation of applications", he announced.
So with a geeky T-shirt, tasty pizza and upbeat music to kick off his video, Marco gives us a rundown of some of the great webOS apps that came from the 4-hour developing marathon:
A dream app that pulls dream summaries pulled from the web with web services, and from a simple shake you get a new dream.
The next is a video poker game for the card buffs out there, including score tracking.
A game, Word Ace, a combination of poker and scrabble, where you get letters instead of cards and try to get the best word at the end. Full profile / avatar support using the camera, and cross-platform multiplayer (iPhone / Pre) and friend lists.
A tiny Palm logo bouncing around using the accelerometer. This one got a nice chuckle.
A twitter client called Twee with some fancy CSS3 animations.
Marco's app, a scientific calculator inspired by early HP calculators in the '80s. It vibrates with each button press. It also has conversion features, memory and button customization.
Sounds like you had a great experience Marco, and we're sure it will be the first of many preDevCamps! PreThinking was also on hand for the event; you can check out their liveblog for all the details. Remember also that Palm is extending their SDK Early Access Program to allow some early submissions to the App Catalog for qualified developers.
For those attending other camps around the country (and the world), what are some of the apps that you were impressed by?
PreDevCamp, the worldwide webOS developer event first announced in February, is finally under way today. Palm Software CTO Mitch Allen created a special welcome video for all the attendees, which can be viewed above. Allen was behind the newly-minted Palm webOS development book by O'Reilly and other events such as the first webOS developer webcast. This is futher evidence of the support from Palm for this great event, and their expectations for some killer webOS apps. It's not too late hit up their homepage and attend a local event in your city!
Here's a few helpful links:
PreDevCamp live feeds in San Francisco, Kansas City, New York, Dallas, San Diego, and LA with live coverage of the events
If you feel you qualify as a high-caliber developer and are well into completing your "compelling webOS application", Palm wants you on the leading edge before they open the floodgates to the App Catalog. Palm Developer Marketing recently sent out an e-mail to members of the Mojo SDK Early Access Program giving developers an opportunity to:
Make an early application submission to the Application Catalog
Maximize your application’s visibility in the Application Catalog (if approved)
Have your application be considered for inclusion in Palm’s marketing activities
Get more personalized attention from Palm
This is a great way for developers to bring their app to the forefront of the App Catalog before it opens up a mass of submissions, as well as get a chance at some great marketing opportunities, such as making your app a "featured" application, and receiving free consulting from a Palm associate to optimize your app and make it ready for the big leagues.
If you're already familiar with the possibilities for success in Apple's App Store, you should realize that this is a rare opportunity for webOS developers to get exposure during the early life of the App Catalog and recognition for their efforts (and possibly make some $$ once it gets established).
If you have an app in the works and are interested in taking advantage, check your e-mail from the Early Access Program. You will need to reply with information such as a description of your app, business model (i.e free, paid, ad-supported), target countries, screenshots, estimated completion date, and a few other tidbits. If you've already done so, good luck, and if you get in, feel free to comment about your experiences!