RealTime IT News

Palm's App Store Getting Ready for Lift Off

Palm's webOS developer program for creating mobile apps will officially open in December -- and it's taking a much different approach than rival Apple does with its App Store for the iPhone.

The program will offer developers a choice of how to get their applications to market -- via Palm's online store or elsewhere on the Web -- and what Palm (NASDAQ: PALM) calls "an unparalleled level of transparency" that includes a do-it-yourself certifying option for webOS apps.

"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," Katie Mitic, senior vice president, product marketing for Palm, said in a 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."

Following up on the release of the beta app catalog e-commerce program, Palm said today it will open its app distribution program to the entire developer community by the end of the year.

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 today. Developers selected to participate in the beta program have the opportunity to make their applications -- both free and paid -- available to consumers.

Under Palm's revenue model, developers receive a 70 percent split of gross revenues generated through application sales.

How the app ecosystem will work

Palm outlined how it plans to operate its app ecosystem once fully opened in December. The membership-based program will have a $99 annual fee and will offer developers two options for getting their applications to market: distribution on the Web and through the Palm App Catalog.

Palm will provide a sales transaction and fulfillment service for developers who wish to promote their applications online. Every webOS app will receive a unique URL, allowing developers to promote their applications online. Users will be able to download and install the application directly from the cloud to their phone using Palm's 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 tactics they already employ.

Distribution in the Palm App Catalog, which comes pre-loaded on all Palm devices, will be subject to review by Palm, and developers will pay a per-application fee of $50.

"This fee covers the lifetime of the app, even though Palm may review many versions of it. Palm will review apps in the order in which they are received and will respond in a timely fashion. Should your app be rejected, Palm will let you know specifically why the app was rejected, and you can revise and resubmit your application," writes Chuq Von Rospach, developer community manager for Palm at the webOS blog.

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