Palm Trying To Boost App Ecosystem - InformationWeek
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7/6/2010
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Ed Hansberry
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Palm Trying To Boost App Ecosystem

It is debatable as to what is more important, the smartphone platform or the apps available for it. While the platform maker can't do much to the OS itself in the short or even medium term, they can help move the applications. Palm is taking a two pronged approach to increasing the number of apps as well as how fast they move out of the WebOS App Catalog.

It is debatable as to what is more important, the smartphone platform or the apps available for it. While the platform maker can't do much to the OS itself in the short or even medium term, they can help move the applications. Palm is taking a two pronged approach to increasing the number of apps as well as how fast they move out of the WebOS App Catalog.Through July 9, Palm has cut the price of almost all applications in half. You don't need any coupon code, special link or anything else, just a Pre or Pixi. There are a few exceptions and you'll see those if you try to buy one and notice the price is not discounted, but for the most part, you should get more bang for the buck in the App Catalog. Note that this is 100% funded by Palm. Developers still get their full cut.

That takes care of moving existing apps. Now to get more apps in the App Catalog in the first place. To that end, Palm has removed the $50 entry fee to get an application listed in their store. The cool thing is the fee reduction is retroactive, so any developer that had previously paid $50 will be getting that back.

Two moves, both of which put more money in the pockets of developers and take less money out of the pockets of consumers. It remains to be seen if it is a case of too little too late. Palm's biggest problem right now is in the minds of many, their OS and devices are old and stale. Apple cranks out an OS annually. While not revolutionary, it is a bit more than evolutionary with each release. Android, meanwhile, seems to crank out minor revisions faster new security holes are found in Adobe Reader, which is to say, often and fast.

Palm did release an update for France's SFR network. It is a bug fix, introducing no new apps or features. I've seen rumors that Sprint should be getting it as well, but nothing on AT&T or Verizon yet.

What Palm really needs to do is release WebOS 2.0 on some hot new devices. Sadly, I don't think that will happen anytime soon. If anything were imminent, we'd have heard rumors by now. The only rumors we really hear on WebOS is what HP, Palm's new owner, will be doing with WebOS in the way of tablets.

Regarding the price cuts on apps and developer fees, I don't see either spurring sales of WebOS devices, but it should get more apps out there and should increase loyalty of existing device owners. The reality though is the ball is still in Palm's court to freshen the OS up a bit and come out with all new hardware.

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