Palm, Inc. has released the software development kit (SDK) for the webOS, giving developers the tools they need to create applications for the Palm Pre.
This is good news for those who have this new smartphone or are interested in getting it, as it should help alleviate one of the major problems with the pre: limited software options.
A recent study by the market-analysis firm Strategy Analytics praised the webOS’ on-device software store for its ease of use, but was less positive about its offerings. “While the App Catalog contains desirable and recognizable content, the volume of content overall is lacking,” said Paul Brown.
The release of the Mojo SDK — as the development tools are known — will surely lead to more apps appearing in the catalog.
A statement from Palm says, “The initial response to Palm webOS apps — from both developers and customers — has been enthusiastic. Even in its initial beta stage, over 1.8 million apps have been downloaded from the beta App Catalog since Palm Pre was released less than six weeks ago.”
No Flood Just yet
Previously, the SDK was available only to those who were part of an early access program, limiting the number of webOS apps that could be developed. But there a significant roadblock for many developers remains.
Palm is still limiting those who can submit software for appearance in the official App Catalog to developers who are part of the early access program. The company says it won’t open up the submission process to everyone until this fall.
Of course, this doesn’t prevent programmers from listing their apps on other catalogs, such as the Brighthand Store. However, the on-device App Catalog is likely to be the primary source for webOS software.
Palm’s Mojo Software Development Kit, its associated documentation, and new Mojo developer forums are now available to all interested app developers free of charge.
These can be found on the Palm webOSdev website.
An Overview of the Palm Pre and the webOS
The Palm Pre uses Palm’s webOS, the replacement for the venerable Palm OS. This is a new, multi-tasking operating system able to wirelessly synchronize a wide variety of data with online services like Google and Facebook, as well as Microsoft Exchange.
The Pre itself features a sliding keyboard as well as a multi-touch-capable 3.1-inch display. This device is also equipped with 8 GB of on-board Storage (7 GB available to users), Wi-Fi b/g, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS, and a 3.0 megapixel camera with LED flash.
This smartphone debuted first from Sprint, who added its mobile broadband service EV-DO Rev. A.
A Canadian version will be released later this year, and this device will also be available in Europe in time for the holidays. The GSM version for Europe and Latin America is expected to have the 3G standard HSDPA.