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...Palm stated 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.
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.
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.
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.
Of course, some guidelines will apply. You will need to fully test your application, it must be complete and compliant with Palm UI Guidelines, pass the Palm Application Checklist, and should be performance optimized. Check out Palm's official developer site for the latest info.
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.
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?