Jab at Apple

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2009-10-07 Print this article Print

This is just a slight smack at Apple and other app stores that have more strict review and approval processes.

The Palm Application Distribution Program Web page also said:

"Recognizing the value of the web community and the web as a promotional channel, Palm will invest in the tools and services that help you utilize the web and other online channels as powerful promotional opportunities for webOS applications. This approach also addresses feedback we've heard from developers who are frustrated by a review-first, publish-later process."

In addition, developers can use the on-device Palm App Catalog to distribute and promote their free or paid apps to webOS devices. However, these apps will be reviewed and approved by Palm. And Palm will charge $50 for each application submitted to this channel.

Moreover, Galbraith said Palm is investing in its own catalog on the device. "Getting an application on the device is obviously the most targeted way to get your application out to users right now, and thus has a lot of value. We are not only going to offer a fantastic user experience here, but we are going to open up the way that you can get promotional opportunities."

"For example," said Almaer, "one thing we will be doing at launch is have an auction-based system for placement in high trafficked areas in the app. In some ways, you can think of this as getting on the front page of Yahoo. There is value there, and we want to make it as transparent as possible for people to understand how they get placement. Then they can make a business decision on the value proposition, and of course the market itself controls the value."

And though the Palm developer program and app catalog will be different from others in some ways, it will be similar in other ways. For instance, Palm will offer the same 70/30 split with developers for paid applications-where the developer gets to keep 70 percent of gross revenues from application sales and Palm gets 30 percent.

And true to his focus on the Web, Almaer said:

"We really want the Web to win in the app discovery battle. To facilitate that we will be offering up raw feeds from all of the apps in our system-app catalog and Web distribution. This means that someone could come along and do a simple mashup of a Digg-style crowd-sourcing solution with our data. We want to see many attempts to help solve the problem. I for one would personally love to see a filtered set of apps based on a trust network, e.g., friends that are using the apps. We think that long term the community will be able to not only help merchandise apps better, but also police the apps in the catalog. Baby steps."

Meanwhile, taking a step away from Palm and to another Web-related topic, Almaer and Galbraith discussed the fallout over Google's recently announced Chrome Frame technology, which brings HTML5 and other open Web technologies to Internet Explorer and basically puts Chrome inside IE. One of the issues raised is that use of Chrome Frame might cause security issues for users.

"I don't really buy the security argument," Almaer said. "In theory, a larger surface area means more options for security folk; however, Chrome does do a great job keeping itself secure through constant updates. There are real issues around the experience and it's confusing some users, but how many of those users will install it? There is also the large issue that the people who need this won't have permission to install the plug-in either because IT stops them from installing a different browser. Also, there is the funny dynamic of users wanting to turn on Chrome Frame for sites where the developer didn't turn it on. But again, I'm not sure how many people want to do that versus just use Chrome. The IE problem is a real one, so seeing Google go after that in innovative ways is fine by me. Now we will see if it takes."

Added Galbraith, "The AJAX [Asynchronous JavaScript and X M L] community discussed this idea about a year ago, calling it 'browser possession.' It's hard to say if it will solve more problems than it causes. But as Dion says, it's an innovative way to try and solve the IE 6 problem. And hey, if it ultimately serves to help us convert more IE 6 users to a modern Web browser, that's definitely a win. However, in my experience, the sorts of users still on IE 6 are the sorts that are very unfamiliar with how software works and are likely to be very frustrated by the myriad little inconsistent behavioral nuances caused by Chrome Frame, and that's ultimately a very bad thing." 


Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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