Smartphone maker Palm reveals webOS developer program

Company offers developers a 70-30 split for revenues generated from webOS application sales

Palm will open its webOS developer program in December and offer developers a choice in how to get their applications to market, the company said Tuesday.

The company is promising an "unparalleled level of transparency," giving developers control in promoting and growing their business, Palm said in a statement. The program will leverage the Web as a promotional channel for applications. WebOS runs on the company's Pre device; a software development kit for the platform was released in July.

[ Smartphones are a Tower of Babel for developers. | Check out a developer's-eye view of smartphone platforms. | And keep up with app dev issues and trends with InfoWorld's Fatal Exception and Strategic Developer blogs. ]

"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 of product marketing at Palm, in the company's 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."

Palm's effort includes offering developers a 70-30 split of gross revenues generated through application sales, with developers receiving 70 percent to Palm's 30 percent. The company's membership-based program will have a $US99 annual fee and will give developers two options for getting applications to market:

  • Distribution to Web, in which Palm provides a sales transaction and fulfillment service for developers who wish to promote applications online. Applications will receive a unique URL. This distribution options offers a fast self-certification process and the ability for developers to control distribution and promotion of applications using online marketing vehicles.
  • Distribution to the Palm App Catalog, with applications distributed in the catalog built into every Palm webOS device. Applications will be subject to review by Palm and developers will pay a per-application fee of $US50. Palm also will create a promotional marketplace for developers to build a promotional marketplace with an auction process to obtain prominent placement in Palm App Catalog.

Palm will waive the $US99 program fee for developers who want to distribute open source webOS applications to the Web.

Palm in August began letting developers submit applications for consideration in the Palm App Catalog e-commerce beta program, which goes live Tuesday.  Developers can offer applications, both free and paid.

With Palm's new developer program, public feeds of application URLS and other application data, such as reviews and ratings, will be made available to the community to help applications find a market. The company anticipates directories, ranking mechanisms, and other services to be built around this data.

In the smartphone application space, Palm follows other vendors such as Research in Motion, with its BlackBerry App World online application store, and Apple, with its iPhone App Store.

This story, "Smartphone maker Palm reveals webOS developer program," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest news for developers at InfoWorld.com.

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Paul Krill

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