Not soon after Palm webOS 1.2 was released today to the masses, another update hit our doorstep, which should help developers get their new paid apps off the ground in no time. The new version of the Mojo SDK (1.2) includes all the new APIs found in 1.2, as well as:
Improved installation and development platform support: Includes support for Mac OS X 10.6, Windows 7 Beta and Windows Vista 64-bit.
New SDK tools, including:
The webOS Resource Monitor graphs your application’s DOM node count and open service handles as your application runs, to help you determine the memory footprint of your application and detect memory leaks.
New APIs, including:
The Key Service API gives you access to buttons pressed on wired and wireless headsets, and the volume buttons on the device. This is helpful for applications that play audio or video.
The Download Manager API lets you upload and download files over HTTP. This API provides a subscription option that sends your application regular status updates until the upload or download is complete.
Many other smaller improvements are also included, see the release notes for a full list of changes, or download it now.
Accordingly, the webOS doctor also has a new version out, and should help bring your almost-bricked Pre phones (from a furious development / homebrew session?) back to the newest webOS 1.2.0, so not to fear.
Previously tipped off as releasing later this week, version 1.2 of Palm webOS was released today, with the 79MB OTA download bringing the version to 1.2.0, paid apps to the App Catalog, and a host of other fixes and improvements. Changes include: direct downloads from browser, OTA downloads from the Amazon MP3 app, improved zoom, improved music playback, new gesture for application menus, search, cut, copy and paste improvements, car bluetooth tweaks, and much more. Check out the previous articles here and here for more on what's new. Also, see the changelog for the full scoop.
However, contrary to previous rumors, the broken iTunes sync still has not been patched; so forget about trying to sync your Pre with iTunes 9.01 for now.
Although still in early stages, a couple new promising hacks have arisen by way of webOS internals (who were behind other projects such as a virtual keyboard). Below is a short summary of the latest:
Basic video recording has been enabled, and full-out video support looks like a real possibility in the future. So far, the Pre camera is recording at 320x480 @ 30fps. However, the format is severely restricted, with SMPlayer being one of the few players capable of playback right now. See below for an actual video:
The Pre hardware is reported to be capable of up to 720x480 widescreen @ 30fps, so hopefully with improvements (or an official solution from Palm) the quality and formatting can be improved.
Visit the official page at webOS internals. Normally the feature requires some work to get running (including root access), but Precentral gives some help in their forums, with an .ipk available for download.
webOS Messaging Mod now supports Windows Live Messenger, ICQ, and more. For those looking to expand their messaging clients, the latest version of the messaging mod will give you all these and more, with Facebook Chat coming soon, and possibly IRC (others to be added in the future). This was made possible a couple weeks ago when Palm allowed full access to their open source library, libpurple, which powers their webOS instant messenger. There are still a few bugs however, including:
Attempts to link your new Live Messenger, Yahoo IM, or ICQ contacts to an existing contact will result in your Pre freezing.
After such a linking, that contact card will look completely blank white, in essence uneditable.
After such a linking, the Live Messenger/Yahoo IM/ICQ contact will be the primary contact for that person.
PalmInfocenter has the scoop on all the messaging goodness. The hack is still in development, notes Precentral, but is expected to be released soon.
The latest rumor over the impending Palm webOS 1.2 update now pegs the date for this Friday (Oct 2), reports a tipster at Palm Infocenter. The anticipated Pre update has already been delayed, and is expected to implement e-commerce (paid apps) in the App Catalog, alongside a host of other improvements. In regards to the broken iTunes 9 sync, apparently the patch took only a couple of hours to fix, likely with direction from Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein, formerly VP of Apple's iPod divison.
The main cause of the delay is apparently issues with Sprint's data services. Thankfully, the fact that webOS 1.2 was leaked earlier on has given the community a chance to chime in on all the update goodness; so far over 70 key improvements have been reported. These include support for the Paid App Catalog, cut and paste upgrades, speed improvements, and even LED blink notifications.
"We will be trying to create a rich connective tissue between the company and the web developer community that we love", writes Almaer in his blog. "There is a massive opportunity with Palm webOS to give Web developers the ability to deploy outside of the browser, and onto the device."
When they were approached by Palm, the management team impressed them, persuading them of the crucial role of the Web to developers. "By giving us the honor of this responsibility, they signal their intent". And for Mozilla fans, although officially off the project they will continue to contribute to Bespin, as Mozilla is an open community. "You can't say that about too many companies out there", Almaer notes.
Confirmation is in that Palm's e-commerce program will be going live this Thursday, according to a recently leaked company timeline. Uploading apps to the App Catalog will cost you $99 / year for the privilege (beta participants will get in for just $5 the first year), and developers will be paid for their sales via PayPal on a 70/30 split. Users can then purchase apps via credit card.
For an idea of how much people are willing to pay for webOS apps, Precentral has started a new poll to determine the most popular price point. With the proliferation of cheap iPhone apps, will $1 apps rise to the top? Maybe not, as Palm Developer Community Manager Chuq Von Rospach previously stressed quality over quantity for webOS apps.
"This news represents a milestone for the Palm team...adding paid applications provides developers the incentive to build lucrative apps", gadgetell writes. Other notables to look forward to include a GSM Palm Pre, rumored to arrive in Europe this Fall, and the webOS Pixi coming by the holidays, which will be compatible with a vast majority of current webOS apps out of the box.
The overhaul of the App Catalog also seems like an ideal time for Palm to release their webOS 1.2 update, which has been in the works for some time, and adds numerous enhancements.
UPDATE: Looks like Palm delayed the release, and it is now expected next week. It could be that webOS is making the jump right to 1.2.1 including e-commerce features, or gives them additional time to iron out iTunes 9 compatibility (now 9.01).
For those clamoring for an alternative to the slide-out thumbpad on the Pre, webOS internals recently updated their vitual keyboard app, notes Precentral. The latest version (0.23) includes a number of new fixes and tweaks, including changing themes on the fly, a snazzier default theme, and improved behavior of the shift key (for all CAPS), and orange key (switches to alternate characters).
The keyboard should be compatible with Sprint and the new Bell version of the Pre, and works in portrait and landscape mode. To install, you need to use the package installation app described here.
In a recent interview by TechCrunch with the founders of CitySourced, a new webOS app that lets you file issues to your city, they found out more than just how to report potholes and graffiti from your phone. When pressed, CitySource admitted that Palm was paying them for their development efforts, but were reluctant to give a specific number due to their NDA with Palm.
Palm is really paying companies to write apps for the Pre? Yes. How much? All I got despite truly obnoxious questioning was “under $500,000.”
Do you think Palm should be commissioning companies at this point to fill up the App Catalog, which is growing steadily with developers not on the receiving end of these incentives? One would assume their Launch Partners (back when the Pre was released) got a push in the right direction; but at this stage, the majority of developers are preparing for e-commerce the usual way, via sales and advertising through the App Catalog.
UPDATE:Digital Daily reports that according to a source inside Palm, the idea (that Palm was giving incentives) was dismissed as "rubbish". Three in a "position to know" said they'd "never heard of such an incentive". CitySourced has refused to comment or clarify the story.
Last week, Precentral reported that webOS 1.2 was leaked to a few Pre users utilizing the webOS Doctor (to restore your device to factory standard), before Palm patched up the "issue" soon after. Since then, the full release notes from Sprint have been posted, as well as a user video that walks us through many of the new features. One cool new feature may be LED blink notifications, although it does not look to be enabled by default; but will now be possible by toggling "Blink Notifications" in 1.2 and with the function indicateNewContent().
The App Catalog will also be getting a facelift, with new buttons to share links via text and e-mail, an improved category listing, and a single screen to manage your apps (so you can delete or upload within the interface). Still no word on paid apps, but they are rumored to be just around the corner. As for when the update will arrive, why the hold up? One factor could be the recent broken iTunes syncing that Palm could address, as they have in past updates. Especially since a Palm representative stated that the Pixi would sync up with Apple's software.
Check out photos below (full changelog and video after the break). What other features would you like to see for the next big update?