The last time we reported on notable hires at Palm was last month, when Dion Almaer and Ben Galbraith, of Mozilla Developer Tools Lab were recruited to the developer team. Their latest employee, Matthew Tippett will now be working for Palm as the head of Linux kernel development. An Australian native, Tippett served as engineering manager for Linux Core Engineering at AMD/ATI. Matt's work with ATI's Linux graphics drivers was given high praise, notably that he played a "critical role" in bringing the Catalyst drivers for Linux to near-parity with Windows, among other things. He will be moving from Toronto to Sunnyvale, CA to start work on webOS.
With the new engineer on board and recent focus on game development, will Palm start putting the capabilities of the Pre's GPU to work?
For those worried about future webOS updates inconveniently breaking compatibility with their apps (in the App Catalog), Palm will soon have you covered. Developer Community Manager Chuq Von Rospach writes on webOSdev:
"We are setting up a way for developers with apps in the catalog to have access to upcoming releases of the software to test compatibility of their application. Please drop me an email () with the email addresses of the people you need to have access to the early release and what application you've published and I'll set you up. We're also setting up a private area here on the forums to support this early access."
Other device makers already give early access to updates for developers, so we're happy to see Palm get on the bandwagon. So if you already have an app in the App Catalog and would like to get hooked up with preview builds of webOS, be sure to send off an e-mail to Chuq with your request. It's still unclear though, whether Palm will offer early access to developers distributing via the upcoming web distribution model.
Apple's latest incremental update up to iTunes 9.02 shuts out the Pre once again, continuing the cycle of breaking and fixing media sync that Palm seems to have down to a science.
No details have been released yet as to changes to the USB ID structure that prevent the device from syncing, but with webOS 1.3 rumored to arrive with the Pixi on November 15, Palm may get the gears going for another fix. As usual, if you want to keep sync intact keep a copy of iTunes 9.01 handy or use a third-party program such as doubleTwist (now supporting Pixi) or The Missing Sync as alternatives.
Ben Galbraith and Dion Almaer, Directors of Palm Developer Relations and former Mozilla gurus, gave a keynote at the Sprint Developer Conference this week laying out the upcoming web distribution model that Palm is opening up in December. The program will favor open source developers as well as avoiding some of the fees associated with the App Catalog. For those interested in the scoop, see the video below. Also from the DevCon, Palm demonstrated the code for adding a snooze function to the webOS clock.
Pre users have been enjoying paid apps in the App Catalog for several weeks now; but what are the real challenges that webOS game developers face? How did the company behind the very first paid webOS application (and former #1 game on the iPhone App Store), Air Hockey, choose a price point, and how does developing for webOS differ from the iPhone? Development house Acceleroto answered these questions and more earlier this month in their blog.
The company has been through the full approval process, from applying early for the Mojo SDK, being accepted into the beta program, creating a technical demo and finally going live in the App Catalog. Definitely worth a read for those who want insight into the development cycle. Highlights after the break.
Today at the Sprint Developer Conference, Palm's Matt Hornyak, the lead engineer responsible for the webOS phone app and Clock that ship with the Pre, gave a tutorial on how to change the length of a snooze alarm in the Clock app. This was done in just five minutes in front of a live audience of about 500, and was running on the device by the end of his presentation.
According to the conference schedule there's an upcoming Palm Keynote from developer relations tomorrow, so we should have more webOS news soon. Palm promises an article later with detailed instructions on how to add this feature, but for now here's the code to play around with (after the break):
Today, Palm and Sprint announced that the new webOS Pixi handset will hit the US on November 15th, exclusively on Sprint, on-contract for $99 after $100 mail-in rebate. The phone will be distributed through Sprint stores, Best Buy, RadioShack, and select Walmart locations. This confirms promises of a launch in time for the holidays from Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein on The Engadget Show, among other outlets.
Other information such as processor specs have already been detailed. Whether Best Buy will make the mail-in rebate an instant one like for the Pre is still in the air. At this price point, will you be putting the Pixi on your gift list this year?
Hopefully this will be another boost to Palm, who are enjoying successful Pre releases in Europe, and soon on Verizon back home. With the new device just around the corner and sporting a reduced resolution with no WiFi, have you ensured your apps are Pixi-ready?
Palm's app catalog is continuing to grow at a rapid pace, with the total number of apps now passing 255. Precentral reports on the latest apps, noting that many were homebrew now finding a place in the App Catalog. So good job to those with apps moving up to the big leagues!
YDice: Yahtzee clone - Free (ScSoft)
The Tip Calculator: $1 (Pictureplaza.eu)
Mezzoman Free: Free version (Marc Zider)
Cow Can: Makes your Pre say "Moo" when you tip it - $0.99 (Ken Torimaru)
Knot Guide: Go back to boy scouts and perfect your knots - $2.99 (WinkPass Creations)
Absolute Fitness: Nutrition and fitness info - $4.99 (Aqua Eagle)
Blackjack: $0.99 (Taylor Marshall)
15 Puzzle: Free (Janni Kovacs)
vCrumbsFree: Find your way home with "virtual breadcrumbs" - Free version (mikagika)
Twee Free: Twitter client - Free version (Delicious Morsel)
Twee: Full-featured twitter client - $2.99
Tiny Twitter: Twitter Client, ported from Windows Mobile - $1.99 (Tiny Byte Software)
GoodMuslim: Free (Xivix Software)
Jobr: Job search app - Free (WebFusion5)
FlashCards Lite: Flash cards - Free version (James Harris)
FlashCards: Full featured flash card app - $6.99
Calql8 Tips: Tip calculator - Free (Calql8)
Trivia: Test your knowledge - $4.99 (Europa Pictures)
Bible Trivia: Test your Bible knowledge - $5.99 (Europa Pictures)
Blocked: $1.99 (Brandon VanBelle)
Tally Counter: For counting things as they pass - $0.99 (InspiringApps)
PreThinking also has the scoop on other recent apps, along with prices. For those on a downloading spree and pushing the app storage limit of their Pre, which of the new apps are your favorite so far?
In addition, Palm Infocenter notes that with Palm picking up the pace on getting new apps into the Catalog, an official PalmNewApps feed has been started to keep up with all the latest in the App Catalog. This is a good alternative to the online index that Palm started this week, which only seems to contain a subset of the available apps. Homebrew fans are also not left in the dark, with an Apps4WebOS feed also covering new homebrew apps.
With mobile social networking booming (a recent USA Today article highlights this trend), to help you get your fix two companies are moving forward on their plans to bring advanced multi IM clients to webOS. The first comes by way of Agile Mobile, who unveiled a preview of their new app for the Pre; and the feature list is quite substantial. The app will include:
Support for AIM, MSN, Windows Live, Yahoo Messenger, GoogleTalk, ICQ, and Jabber
Full buddy list connectivity: Send and receive messages OTA, any time.
Voice messaging push-to-talk: Use your phone as a walkie-talkie and send voice messages to your buddies.
Picture messaging: Snap pics and then send them to any of your buddies.
Video messaging: Video record and instantly send it to buddies on MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, AIM, or Google Talk.
The last point is particularly interesting, especially since video recording hacks for the Pre have proven rather primitive. Could this be the way to finally get video recording capabilities onto the device? If this pans out, it's clear that Agile has invested heavily in development to build up a framework for video recording and messaging, or have an untold partnership with Palm that could involve a future update to webOS and the Mojo SDK.
The other multi IM client in the works is coming by way of Mundu, whose messenger app for the Blackberry won the Handango Championship award for 2009; so we can expect a full-featured port to webOS. Support includes Google Talk, AIM, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, and Jabber. Proprietary features such as Mundu Radio and Mundu SMS are also part of their lineup, and should also see the move to webOS. They already have a mobile specific webpage available for webOS devices.
There is still no firm release date for either client except "coming soon". As for when native Yahoo! support on the Pre is coming, there is also no firm date, although this feature will be standard on the upcoming Pixi handset.