Palm Unveils WebOS Developer Program

The company is betting an open approach to mobile app distribution will please developers and consumers.

Marin Perez, Contributor

October 6, 2009

2 Min Read

Palm showed off the details of its webOS developer program Tuesday, and the smartphone maker is taking a more open approach to distribution than some of its competitors.

Developers have already been able to submit apps to Palm for distribution through its on-device App Catalog, but starting in December, content creators will be able to bypass this and distribute their programs directly on the Web. These apps on the Web will each be given a unique URL, and webOS users will be able to install them directly from the Web. Palm said these apps will have a self-certification process that will lead to a faster time to market.

Content creators who want their programs in the App Catalog will have to pay a $50 fee per app, and these will be subject to approval by Palm. Palm's developer program will have a $99 annual fee, but this will be waived for developers interested in distributing open source apps. End users will be able to purchase programs with Visa or MasterCard credit cards, and developers will keep 70% of the gross revenue from sold apps.

"Our program will be unlike anything currently available and has been established to promote a thriving community by giving developers direct involvement in their own success," said Katie Mitic, Palm's senior VP of product marketing, in a statement. "Whether you're looking for immediate distribution or just feedback on early stages of development, this program is built to scale to your needs and finally put you in control of investing in and promoting your business."

The developer program puts Palm on par with rivals Google, Nokia, Research In Motion, and Microsoft, and the focus on openness and transparency can be seen as a subtle jab at Apple's vetting process for the wildly popular App Store. Apple has faced criticism and government probes about how it makes decisions on what is allowed in the App Store.

Despite the criticisms, the App Store is leading the mobile application space with more than 85,000 programs. Additionally, Apple users have downloaded more than 2 billion apps in about 14 months, and much of the developer mindshare is focused on the iPhone platform.

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