At the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco on April1, Palm let loose new details of its developer program for the new Palm WebOS platform.
In a keynote address, Palm’s senior vice president of Application Software and Services, Michael Abbott, said Palm is expanding its early access program for the Palm Mojo SDK (software development kit) and discussed the company’s plans for integrating cloud services into the new platform. Palm also April 1 announced an application from MotionApps that will allow legacy Palm OS applications to run on WebOS devices.
The Mojo SDK, previously available only to a select group of partners, will be provided to a broader set of interested developers that apply for access to the program at the Palm Developer Network Website.
Access to the program initially will be limited as the tools and systems continue to be refined and improved, with general availability scheduled for later in 2009.
“Developers are an incredibly important part of the WebOS ecosystem, and we’re eager to get the SDK into their hands,” Abbott said in a statement. “Now that the SDK will be available to a broader base of developers, we think the enthusiasm for WebOS will only grow and accelerate. We’re very excited to work with developers to make this unique development environment even better.”
In an interview with eWEEK, Paul Cousineau, director of product management for Palm WebOS, said with Mojo, developers have the ability to integrate their applications into core WebOS functionality, such as linked contacts, layered calendars, multitasking, notifications and GPS capabilities. WebOS applications run natively on the device. They don’t depend on any server connection to run and can cache data locally. Providing developers with the freedom to integrate unique WebOS functionality and services into their applications paves the way for a rich catalog of innovative offerings for WebOS users, Cousineau said.
“WebOS makes mobile application development incredibly easy-we were able to get a version of Pandora running in no time,” Pandora CTO Tom Conrad said in a statement. “And because WebOS has true multitasking capabilities, Pandora runs elegantly in the background while you’re using other applications. The unobtrusive notification bar lets you know what’s currently playing, and allows you to pause and play without having to go back into the application. It’s an incredibly powerful and flexible platform.”
“The WebOS functionality and integration opportunities provide a richer experience for moviegoers on the go,” said Ted Hong, chief marketing officer for Fandango, also in a statement. “With Fandango’s WebOS application, you can watch trailers and buy tickets, pick your show time, which is automatically added to your calendar, then get directions to the theater and easily forward the show time to friends or family. You can even create a reminder to let you know when a specific movie is opening so that you can buy tickets in advance on Fandango. The WebOS technology helps further our goal of making the moviegoing experience as convenient as possible.”
First Palm-Branded Cloud Service
Palm also announced that it would deploy its first Palm-branded cloud service. The new cloud services can deliver benefits to the user, such as giving them access to their favorite Web applications, or can be incorporated by developers into their applications to enhance the end-user experience, Palm said.
“The cloud services are focused on developers, but use a lot of the same paradigms as our user-focused programs,” Cousineau said.
Moreover, when the Mojo SDK is broadly released later in 2009, it will include a developer-facing offering called the Mojo Messaging Service, an XMPP publish/subscribe service. The Mojo Messaging Service is a standards-based way to exchange information over the Internet. When new information is available, it is “published” to the cloud and all interested parties who are subscribers are notified that new information is available. This will allow developers to push live content to their applications or services. The Mojo Messaging Service initially will have a limited feature set and service level that will evolve over time, Cousineau said.
Cousineau also said MotionApps is creating an emulator application that will allow most Palm OS applications to run on WebOS devices. The application, called “Classic,” will be available for purchase when the Palm Pre phone becomes available from Sprint in the first half of 2009.