Category Archives: Palm
Palm (NASDAQ:PALM) issued the beta version of its newest webOS SDK late last week, requesting that developers test their applications against the release to guarantee compatibility once the update is officially launched later this summer. According an …Continue Reading: Palm’s webOS 1.4.5 expands 3D gaming to Pixi →
Smartphone shipments worldwide will increase to 390 million units by 2013–a compound annual growth rate of 20.9 percent over the 2009-2013 forecast period in question–according to research firm IDC. While IDC predicts the Symbian operating system will retain its global leadership position over that time thanks largely to Nokia’s dominance in markets outside of the U.S., Android is expected to experience faster growth than any of its rivals, leaping from 2008 shipments of 690,000 to 68 million units by 2013, a CAGR of 150.4 percent. IDC adds Android will benefit from the growing footprint of handset vendors supporting the platform, and will finish second to Symbian in shipments by 2013.
On the flipside, IDC forecasts Linux and Palm’s webOS shipments will struggle throughout the forecast period. Shipments of Linux-powered devices are expected to trend down due to greater emphasis on the Android platform, although some vendors will continue to support the platform–as for webOS, IDC believes the operating system will grow steadily, but will ultimately capture only narrow market share as a result of limited deployment and operator availability.
For more on the IDC forecast:
– read this release
LAS VEGAS–Palm took the wraps off its developer program, and announced several new developer initiatives aimed at generating interest in the company’s webOS platform. However, at least one major mobile services company–VoIP calling company Skype–plans to wait on the sidelines until Palm’s offerings to catch fire with consumers.
During a wide-ranging press conference here on the sidelines of the Consumer Electronics Show here, Palm said its webOS developer program is now “open for business.” Previously the company had only been working directly with a select group of developers. Palm also announced a new distribution deal with wireless heavyweight Verizon Wireless, as well as upgraded versions of its Pre and Pixi devices. (See related story here.)
“We look forward to working with you (developers),” said Katie Mitic, Palm’s senior vice president of products, in announcing the company’s developer efforts. She said Palm’s App Catalog currently holds around 1,000 apps (whereas market leader Apple counts fully 100,000 apps in its own digital storefront) but Mitic said Palm “expects that to grow even more, and faster.”
Palm’s developer program splits app revenues 70/30 (developer/Palm), after applicable taxes. The membership-based program has a $99 annual fee, which the company said will be waived for developers who opt to distribute open source Palm webOS apps on the Web.
During the company’s press conference, Mitic highlighted a number of Palm efforts aimed at exciting developers to its smartphone platform. Specifically, she detailed Palm’s new $1 million Hot Apps bonus program, which will run Feb. 1 through May 31. The program will award $1 million to the most successful applications distributed during this timeframe. The developers of the top free and paid applications each will earn a $100,000 bonus; in addition, 40 developers will receive $10,000 (20 each for free and paid), with 400 developers awarded $1,000 (200 each for free and paid).
Separately, Mitic hyped the company’s webOS Plug-in Development Kit, which she said enables new functionality such as 3D games. Indeed, EA Mobile showed off 3D versions of its “Sims 3” and “Need For Speed” games running on the Pre.
Finally, Mitic said Palm will open up its database of webOS applications data, thereby allowing third parties to access app descriptions, ratings, stats and screen shots. The goal, Mitic said, was to allow app developers the freedom to promote and distribute their apps as they see fit.
“We give developers freedom and choice with how they take their applications to market,” she said, a possible knock at iPhone maker Apple, which has come under fire for its tight control over its iTunes App Store. “We’re taking a completely new approach to application distribution. … That’s better for everyone.”
Despite Palm’s efforts to tout its webOS platform–which is first announced a year ago at the 2009 CES show here–a few major players in the industry remain unmoved. Christopher Dean, chief strategy officer for Skype, said webOS is the only major smartphone platform that Skype does not yet plan to support. Dean said webOS does not have enough momentum behind it to make it worthwhile for Skype to invest in the platform.
– see Palm’s announcement
More than six months after the Palm App Catalog virtual storefront went live in conjunction with the release of the Palm Pre smartphone, the store now boasts more than 1,000 webOS-based applications, according to data released by webOS School. By comparison, Apple’s rival App Store surpassed 100,000 iPhone and iPod touch applications in early November. About 70 percent of Palm App Catalog applications are premium downloads–games is the largest category, representing 22.6 percent of all webOS apps, followed by productivity tools (14.9 percent) and sports (13.4 percent). AccuWeather’s free weather information application currently tops all other webOS apps with more than 121,000 downloads in the last 30 days.
In late December, Palm released version 1.3.5 of the Mojo SDK, promising Pre user enhancements including an improved App Catalog download experience, multiple simultaneous application downloads and improved battery life in areas with poor network coverage. “At CES in January, we’ll be celebrating Palm’s move out of its early access program and showcasing our full production developer program and the many ways Palm is innovating in this area,” Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein said during the firm’s investor conference call last month. “We clearly recognize that having a critical mass of apps is important… After we open the door to all interested developers, we expect to have thousands in very short order.”
For more on the Palm App Catalog benchmark:
– read this TechCrunch article
Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein confirmed the device maker is poised to release version 1.3.5 of its webOS mobile operating system during the forthcoming Consumer Electronics Show 2010, which starts Jan. 7 in Las Vegas. Speaking during Palm’s investor conference call last week, Rubinstein said webOS 1.3.5 will enable users to download and store more applications, enhance app and WiFi performance, and improve battery life as well as device speed and responsiveness.
“We have an aggressive webOS software roadmap in place and we’ll continue to deliver enhancements to our user experience on a regular basis. This includes investing heavily to make webOS a preeminent development platform,” Rubenstein said, according to PreCentral.Net. “At CES in January, we’ll be celebrating Palm’s move out of its early access program and showcasing our full production developer program and the many ways Palm in innovating in this area. We clearly recognize that having a critical mass of apps is important. Today, the Palm App Catalog has over 800 apps from our early access partners. Almost 10 times the number of apps we had in our last earnings call. After we open the door to all interested developers, we expect to have thousands in very short order.”
Rubinstein also touted webOS as a platform uniquely positioned to leverage the migration of content and communications to the cloud. “In particular, our over-the-air software update capability is a powerful way to continue to evolve and improve our products even after they’re in customers’ hands. Since the launch of the Pre, we’ve provided eight over-the-air webOS updates and each has included a wide variety of new functions, improvements, and fixes–ranging from things like support for new Synergy partners such as LinkedIn and Yahoo to improvements in email and messaging to enhanced security measures for the enterprise. Our 1.3.1 update was made available to webOS users in mid-November and within just one week it was installed by 70 percent of our userbase. This tells us that consumers are quickly learning to appreciate and look forward to this Palm capability.”
In related Palm news, the company said its Ares mobile application development platform is now in open beta, promising a complete set of integrated software creation tools hosted entirely within the browser in an effort to reduce the barriers restricting web programmers from shifting their attention to the mobile segment. Writing on the Palm Developer Network Blog, Palm Developer Community manager Chuq Von Rospach notes that Ares features a drag-and-drop interface builder, a robust code editor, a visual debugger and built-in source control integration. Ares is optimized for Safari version 4 and higher, Chrome version 3 and higher and Firefox version 3.5 and higher.
For more on webOS 1.3.5:
– read this PreCentral.Net article
Palm announced its fledgling Ares mobile application development platform is now open for developer trials. “We are starting with a fairly small pool and will be growing it, so I can’t guarantee that everyone who wants to will get access to it immediately, but we’re now asking for volunteers willing to spend some time kicking the tires and finding (and reporting) bugs,” writes Palm Developer Community manager Chuq Von Rospach on the webOsdev forum. “At this point, Ares is in alpha, but it is fairly advanced Alpha. I’m really impressed by Ares; it is a really nice environment to program in.” Von Rospach adds the test program is currently full–developers can still request entrance into the program, but will have to wait a bit for clearance.
Palm first announced plans to introduce Ares during November’s Open Mobile Summit in San Francisco, promising developers the platform will simplify and accelerate mobile software creation. Palm senior vice president Michael Abbott said Ares will enable developers to sign up and submit apps via web interface–once the application is completed, a link is created which the developer can use to promote his application across Twitter, Facebook or email. When a potential user clicks on the link, they will be taken to where the application is available for download.
For more on the Ares trial:
– check out the webOsdev forum
Mobile advertising network AdMob–acquired by Google for $750 million in early November–announced the introduction of a new open-source SDK enabling developers to integrate ads into their Palm webOS applications. Available on Google Code and aligned with Palm’s announced app distribution strategy via MIT license, the beta SDK–AdMob’s first advertising unit for webOS apps–supports CPC text ads and CPM banner ads. AdMob notes it is already working with developers including Delicious Morsel and Byte Sequencing to incorporate the new Palm unit into their software.
For more on AdMob’s webOS unit:
– read this Life and Times of AdMob blog entry