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Palm seeking submissions for App Catalog beta

Aug 19, 2009 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Those developing applications for the Linux-based Pre smartphone can now submit them to be considered for inclusion in an upcoming “Palm App Catalog” beta. The test version of Palm's online store will open in mid-September, the company said in a blog posting yesterday.

In a posting on the Palm Developer Network Blog, Developer Community Manager Chuq Von Rospach wrote, "We're initiating the beta e-commerce program so we can test the experience for both WebOS app developers and users. This is an opportunity for you to submit your app and to market it to the WebOS user base before we open the program to all developers later in the year."

As with Apple's existing online store for its iPhone and iPod touch, plus Microsoft's forthcoming store for Windows Mobile 6.1 and 6.5 devices, developers for the Palm App Catalog will receive 70 percent of the revenues their application sales generate. Both free and paid applications will be offered, and users of the Pre smartphone will pay for their purchases via credit card, then download them directly to their devices, Palm says.

Palm Pre

According to Palm, applications for the App Catalog beta must be written specifically for the Pre's Linux-based webOS, and must not be delivered through a web browser. Other criteria listed by the company in its blog posting include the following:

  • Apps should be useful and engaging to users
  • Apps need to have an appealing design and user interface aligned with Palm UI guidelines
  • Apps need to leverage webOS platform and device capabilities, such as notifications, multitasking/background processing, location services, and accelerometer
  • Apps must have acceptable performance and response time on the device; apps with slow UI response or sluggish performance will be rejected, as will those that consume "excessive" power

While the Palm Apps Catalog program will not be open to all webOS developers until later in the year, anyone can now submit an application via email for consideration by Palm, according to Rospach. Those whose apps are selected will be contacted with additional instructions, he adds.

In a statement, Katie Mitic, senior vice president of product marketing at Palm, said, "We're rolling out the submission process and e-commerce capabilities of the Palm App Catalog with careful consideration for both the developer and customer. We want every part of the Palm WebOS experience to be the best, and a strong e-commerce model is key to a thriving developer community, great apps and an excellent customer experience."


Since the Palm Pre launched in June, the smartphone has garnered favorable reviews and reportedly sold around 300,000 units, with sales apparently continuing at around 25,000 devices per week.

So far, however, the few WebOS applications available on the Palm App Catalog have been free downloads. Meanwhile, documentation allowing third parties to develop WebOS apps has only recently been released. Naturally, then, Palm's App Catalog lags far behind Apple's App Store for the iPhone, which reportedly now offers more than 60,000 applications.

My Tether 2.0

As a result of the delay, unofficial Pre apps have begun to spring up, such as My Tether (above). According to developer Raja Kapur, the application, which has already reached version 2.0, turns the Pre into a router that can share a Sprint EVDO connection via WiFi.

The My Tether app, likely to be viewed with disfavor by Sprint, suggests that Palm's App Catalog will face some of the same conflicts of interest that Apple's App Store already has. Apparently to avoid the wrath of AT&T, for example, Apple rejected Google's Google Voice application, which would have allowed users to bypass the carrier's network by making VoIP phone calls.

Further information

To find out more about Palm's App Catalog beta, see the blog posting by Chuq Von Rospach, here. Palm's user interface guidelines and application checklist may be downloaded here and here, respectively.

To read an eWEEK analysis published today about how the Pre is "in danger of becoming another Apple iPhone victim," see the publication's website, here.

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