Palm on Tuesday opened its application store to developers. The handset maker is inviting developers who want to charge for their webOS applications to submit them for consideration in the Palm App Catalog beta program that begins in mid-September.
Palm will hand-pick developers to participate in the beta program and give them the opportunity to feature their applications -- both free and paid -- in the catalog before it opens the door to all developers. The chosen developers would become the first to make money from webOS applications.
"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," said Katie Mitic, senior vice president of product marketing at Palm. "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."
Palm's Next Step
Developers will receive 70 percent of the revenue from the sale of webOS applications, with Palm keeping 30 percent. Palm customers will be able to purchase applications with Visa or MasterCard. Palm is mum on additional details, but said it plans to launch the full developer program in the U.S. this fall. Palm shares were up 3.9 percent in Tuesday morning trading.
Palm's program is an important next step in the evolution of its App Catalog, according to Michael Gartenberg, a vice president at Interpret. "You not only want to have a store -- the store is great -- but at the same point you also want to have an opportunity for developers to make money from their applications, which many of them think is even better," he said. "The fact that they are getting this out there in a timely manner is important, and that's going to do an awful lot to help boost the application library."
Palm's new webOS operating system is making waves in the mobile arena. It allows multiple applications, flipping among them the same way a person might flip through a deck of cards. The OS also offers universal search.
When important things come up or updates arrive, users will receive notifications that Palm promises will be unobtrusive. For example, when a text message or e-mail arrives, a scrolling notification bar at the bottom of the screen lets a user address it right away or leave it until later.
Palm App Drama Coming?
The platform leaves plenty of room for developers to come up with productivity and personal applications. The question is, what type of approach will Palm take to approving developers and applications for its catalog? And will Palm see the type of drama Apple has experienced with its App Store?
"We certainly haven't heard anyone getting an application rejected from the Palm library yet," Gartenberg said. "It will be interesting to see the approach they take. I suspect Palm will aim for a middle ground, somewhere between the Android 'do whatever you want' philosophy and Apple's sometimes-gated philosophy."