Palm is no stranger to acquiring top talent from competitors to help bolster support for webOS and the Palm Pre; including Palm Developer Community Manager Chuq Von Rospach (a veteran at Apple who worked on Unix projects), Jon Rubinstein (former executive of Apple's iPod division, recently promoted to Palm CEO), and such sales talent such as Paul Ghent, former executive director of HTC Europe.
For their latest move, Palm has hired Jeff Zwerner as its new Senior Vice President of Brand Design. His roles will include "Palm’s global advertising, marketing communications, PR, events and Web design".
Zwerner worked at Apple from 2001-2003 and 1995-1996 in different creative director roles. He is also founder of Factor Design in San Francisco, which includes work for big names such as Coca-Cola, HP, and Apple, among others. Hopefully with a view from the inside, Zwerner will continue to raise the standards of the Palm brand and compete with the popularity of Apple's offerings.
With all the talk of preDevCamp coming this Saturday, nothing would be worse than getting all psyched up, and then arriving unprepared for the big day. Luke from the San Francisco camp made up a checklist of ten things to pack with you, so you can keep up with all the big boys of webOS development. Here's what he suggests:
- A Laptop running one of the 3 supported operating systems in at least a virtual machine if not as the main OS (32 bit windows -xp or vista, Mac OSX, Linux)
- A thumb drive or a cd with the SDK to share with your neighbor if they forget it. Get it at http://developer.palm.com
- Your coolest geek shirt. Don’t have one? You still have time to order one from think geek
- An Idea of what you want to build or help build.
- Your palm pre – you have one right? If not you will have several chances to win one. Ideally in developer mode.
- Graphic Design software if you’re a designer – Adobe Fireworks works best. Get the trial here.
- An IDE – Eclipse works best and palm has special plugins for it.
- Paper or a notebook for sketching ideas and notes. – Portable whiteboards are cool too.
- Hacker / devhouse / excitement to learn / can do spirit – without this you will have no fun, and at the end of the day I hope that is what you have.
- Have a great camp!
Short of your enthusiasm, there's really only 8 items on the list...but we won't fault you for that, Luke. Does anyone have any other last-minute suggestions on what to bring along for a successful event?
Good news for Palm fans and developers up North: The Pre has been finalized as coming to Bell on August 27th, available at retail locations and partners across Canada. The launch is a bit later than earlier rumors suggested, although Bell will be only the second CDMA carrier after Sprint (and first outside the US) to carry the new webOS handset, and may have a 6 month exclusivity period over rival Telus.
Launch partners will include Best Buy, Future Shop, The Telephone Booth, Wireless ect. and Wireless Wave. The Bell site is taking preorders online, and Future Shop is now taking preorders in-store. This comes at a good time for developers as PreDevCamp events will be kicking off this weekend in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
preDevCamp, the worldwide webOS developer event in the works since February (and expanding rapidly) is finally gearing up for the big day on Saturday. If you haven't heard of it yet, this is a global event spanning over 70 cities and a great opportunity to network and get involved with other developers in your area. Although not officially organized by Palm, they have since thrown their support behind the event, with both Pam Deziel, VP of Palm Developer Marketing, and Chuq Von Rospach, Palm Community Developer Manager, endorsing the event. Von Rospach writes on the PDN Blog:
"We think the preDevCamps are a great way for webOS developers — and people curious about webOS and wondering if they want to get involved — to learn about the platform and to meet other interested people in yourlocal area. I want to encourage everyone to find your local camp and sign up and spend at least some time at the camp."
Reports that Palm will donate prizes to the event are also surfacing. For example, O'Reilly's Palm WebOS development book by Palm CTO Mitch Allen is expected to make the rounds and 30 copies will be distributed to events in the US as prizes, even before its official release. Other sponsorship opportunities are being fielded, with Precentral giving away Palm Pre phones as part of their developer challenge, gift certificates, and other prizes to attendees in San Francisco and Dallas. Von Rospach will be splitting his time between OC and San Diego, and may bring a few small prizes of his own, such as T-shirts. So get your webOS developer chops ready and have your great app ideas on hand for the big day.
Visit the official site and twitter feed for more details on this great event. A channel on IRC is also set up at #preDevCamp, and a preDevCamp Live website is coming soon, and will be streaming some of the events live for those who can't make it.
Now you can turn your Palm Pre into a nifty 3G router over WiFi. jkOnTheRun notes that with My Tether 1.5 for webOS, you too can share your EVDO signal with any device that uses WiFi (i.e. laptop, iPod Touch). You will need to root your Pre, enter developer mode, and have the latest SDK installed to get it working (see procedure here). However, version 2.0 (available with a donation) includes an installer which should make things a lot easier. Previous, more crude methods of tethering have been available for the Pre, but this one should be a step up.
My Tether 2.0 supports custom wireless network SSIDs and WEP encryption. Check out a short video after the break, or head over to their homepage for more details.
For those still on the fence about getting a Palm Pre, now may be a good time to pull the trigger and start developing for webOS with the real thing. Yesterday we reported that Amazon started selling the Pre and that $169.99 from another retailer was the lowest price on the net. However, a new promotion for August 3 only has cropped up, this time from LetsTalk wireless. The price is down to just $99 after rebates and free shipping, which undercuts Sprint by an entire $100. The price of the future perhaps?
Hit up the link below and navigate to the Sprint section to get in on the deal. Be sure to use the coupon code "summer" for an additional $10 off.
In lieu of opening new retail stores, Palm is going a more direct route, opening Palm Pre Experience Centers in two outdoor malls (The Grove and The Americana in LA and Glendale, respectively) this month. The open-air booths will be staffed by Palm ambassadors to give Pre demos and tutorials to passerbys.
With Palm retail outlets closing down before the Pre got its legs up, including one at the Grove, it left only a namesake store at their headquarters in Sunnyvale. The new booths will give them the opportunity to get all the webOS goodness to everyday shoppers, and hopefully give a face to the latest commercials including unique Sprint ads and recent Palm commercials, which were received with mixed reactions. HDTVs will also be hooked up for when giving demos to larger groups.
In addition, Palm hopes to make a statement by sponsoring the annual Summer Concert series at the two upscale malls. The free concert series, beginning this wednesday, will feature performers including Vanessa Carlton, Ashley Tisdale, Michelle Branch, and Gavin Rossdale. This should help get the word out with a bang like Sprint's Nascar sponsorship, although Palm investor Bono ended up siding with Blackberry for U2's 360 tour earlier this year.
Have you ever visited a Palm retail outlet before, and do you think new ventures such as these will be more effective in generating interest in the Pre and webOS?
Palm's new webOS smartphone is finally moving beyond the bounds of launch retailers which included Sprint stores, Best Buy, Radio Shack, and Wal-Mart, and most recently via Sprint online and TeleSales. The megastore of the internet, Amazon.com, is now offering the Pre with free shipping for $199, sans the need for any mail-in rebate. For those already tied down, you can pick it up off-contract for $50 less than Sprint, at a slightly less wallet-busting $499.
Head over to Amazon.com to get your order one now; although 4-6 weeks seems to be the price you pay for the convenience of shopping from your seat. The long delays may bring back memories of Palm Pre shortages which popped up around launch time and had a few people camping out.
Meanwhile if you still haven't got your Pre you may also want to check out Wirefly, who are also taking orders and have the lowest price right now at $169.99 on-contract; although their $799 off-contract price is almost as outlandish than Best Buy's previous $849 price (now $749). For the Canadians out there, the Bell Pre is still listed as "coming soon", although the August 1st rumor has since come and gone. Pricing is still TBD for carriers outside of Sprint.