Palm Launches Alpha of New Development Platform: Ares

Palm releases its new mobile development platform, known as Ares, to testing.

Palm has released its new mobile development platform, known as Ares, to testing.

First previewed at the Open Mobile Summit in San Francisco in November, Palm's Ares is a Web-based development platform for Palm WebOS applications.

According to reports about the demonstration Palm made of Ares at the Open Mobile Summit, Ares features a drag-and-drop interface through which applications can be created.

In a blog post about the release of an alpha version of Ares, Chuq Von Rospach, Palm developer community manager, said: "I am happy to say we are now opening up Ares for testing by our developers. We are starting with a fairly small pool and will be growing it, so I can't guarantee that everyone who wants to will get access to it immediately, but we're now asking for volunteers willing to spend some time kicking the tires and finding (and reporting) bugs. At this point, Ares is in alpha, but it is fairly advanced Alpha. I'm really impressed by Ares; it is a really nice environment to program in."

In October, Palm announced that the company was making it free for developers to join the Palm Developer Program, which would typically require a $99 fee. Palm also announced the hire of new co-directors of developer relations, Dion Almaer and Ben Galbraith. And Palm emphasized the importance of the Web as the ultimate development platform, and open standards-based, open-source technology as the means for developing mobile applications.

Rospach added:

""We're asking for people willing to spend some and energy really trying to help us finish it and give it some polish. I don't have enough spots for all of you (yet), but if you are interested in working with our Ares tools and giving us feedback, please drop me an email ( and let me know. I'll add developers in a FIFO basis as I have spots available.""

Despite these developer-friendly moves, Palm still faces stiff competition for developer mindshare in the mobile space. Not only is there the Apple iPhone, Google Android and Research In Motion BlackBerry among its competitors, but Samsung's recently announced Bada mobile development platform presents a new competitive option.

Samsung announced the launch of its own open mobile platform, Samsung Bada, in December. The company released its new addition to its mobile ecosystem to developers on Dec. 8 in the form of the Bada Software Development Kit (SDK). Bada enables developers to create applications for millions of new Samsung mobile phones, and consumers to enjoy a fun and diverse mobile experience, Samsung officials said.