Palm to open doors to developer program in December

Palm has announced it will officially open the doors to its Palm webOS developer program in December. The program will offer developers a choice of how to get their applications to market and an unparalleled level of transparency that provides them with the control to promote and grow their businesses. Extending the unique web orientation of the Palm webOS platform, the developer program will provide innovative opportunities to leverage the web as a promotional channel for applications.

“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, senior vice president, product marketing, Palm. “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 launch of the program is the next step in expanding the impact of Palm webOS by supporting and growing the developer community. In August, Palm announced that developers who wish to charge for their Palm webOS applications could begin submitting them for consideration in the Palm App Catalog e-commerce beta program, which went live recently. Developers selected to participate in the beta program have the opportunity to make their applications, both free and paid, available to consumers.

Palm is focused on building a thriving environment for all developers to create, distribute, promote and monetize the delivery of valuable applications to Palm customers. Developers will receive a 70/30 split (developer/Palm) of gross revenues generated through application sales (after applicable taxes). The membership-based program will have a $99 annual fee and will offer developers two options for getting their applications to market.

The first option is distribution on the web—Palm will provide a sales transaction and fulfilment service for developers who wish to promote their applications online. Every App will receive a unique URL, allowing developers to freely promote their applications online and enabling customers to download and install the application directly from the cloud to their phone using Palm’s unique over the air process. This distribution option offers a fast self-certification process as well as the ability for developers to control the distribution and promotion of their applications using the online marketing vehicles they already have and creating new ones as they see fit.

The second option is distribution in the Palm App Catalog—Applications distributed in the Palm App Catalog that is built in to every Palm webOS device will be subject to review by Palm, and developers will pay a nominal per-application fee of $50. In addition, Palm will create a unique promotional marketplace where developers can utilize an auction process to obtain prominent placement in the Palm App Catalog and find new customers.

Public feeds of application URLs and other relevant application data (such as reviews, ratings, and stats) will be made available to the community to help applications find their market. Palm expects directories, ranking mechanisms, and other inventive services built around this data to emerge.

Also, in appreciation of what the open source movement has contributed to the web, Palm will waive the $99 program fee for developers interested in distributing open source Palm webOS apps to the web. If the source of an app is available to the public under one of the commonly accepted licenses, it will be eligible for this program.

Both distribution options include a support program that will provide developers the tools to quickly build, test, distribute and receive feedback on their Palm webOS applications. Developers can control how beta testers access their applications, allowing them to iteratively improve their products and scale to their needs.

“We’re listening to developers, and the message that they want choice and an option to self-certify their applications has come through loud and clear,” said Mitic. “The flexibility that comes with our program’s easy way to test mobile applications, as well as the ability for developers to use the web to market and promote their own applications and boost sales, is invaluable.”

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