Palm Pre Now Open for Paid Apps

Developers looking to bank on the future of Palm’s new mobile platform can start submitting webOS applications to the company’s e-commerce beta program.

Palm (NASDAQ: PALM) said today that developers who wish to charge for their Palm Pre webOS applications can begin submitting them for consideration to the Palm App Catalog e-commerce beta program, which is slated to launch in mid-September.

Palm is also accepting free applications through its webOS software development kit (SDK).

Developers selected to participate in the beta program will have the opportunity to have their applications featured in the Palm App Catalog “ahead of the next wave, and to be among the first to be paid for purchases of their Palm webOS applications,” the company said today in a statement.

“We’re rolling out the submission process and e-commerce capabilities of the Palm App Catalog with careful consideration for both the developer and customer,” said Katie Mitic, Palm’s senior vice president of product marketing. “We want every part of the Palm webOS experience to be the best, and a strong e-commerce model is key to a thriving developer community, great apps and an excellent customer experience.”

Palm said that programmers will receive 70 percent of the gross revenue generated from their app sales, a figure generally in line with the industry standard. Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) is the exception: It offers an 80-20 revenue split, but charges coders higher fees to participate.

Pre owners will be able to purchase apps with a Visa or MasterCard.

Palm expects to bring the developer program out of beta in the United States this fall, and promised more details in the coming weeks.

When Palm launched the highly anticipated Pre June 6, analysts took issue with the limited app offerings available for the handset that many saw as an all-in bet for the beleaguered company. However, several developers told that they expected a vibrant coding community to rally behind webOS once the SDK is widely made available. Palm issued its webOS SDK July 16.

For its part, Palm seems to be taking the slow-and-steady approach to app development, based on comments made by newly appointed CEO Jon Rubenstein.

He recently told investors there’s enough room in the lucrative smartphone sector for several players, perhaps signaling that he’s not expecting to overtake Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) App Store. He also said that it’s paramount to build the webOS ecosystem around developer feedback to ensure its successful adoption.

Still, Palm is being aggressive in taking on Apple on the controversial matter of the Pre’s ability to directly sync with iTunes software. The two companies are involved in a cat-and-mouse game in which Apple’s software updates have blocked the feature, only to see Palm provide a workaround in its updates.

Palm recently filed a complaint over the issue with a USB standards group. A Palm spokesman today told that there was “no update on our end” on the topic.

Elsewhere in app land

Meanwhile, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) has come under fire from critics who have complained that a premature release of its open source Android platform caused handset makers to delay product launches to work out the kinks in the operating system. The hasty release has also been blamed for the less-than-inspiring debut of T-Mobile’s G1, the first device powered by Android to make it to market.

But that may be changing with the release of T-Mobile’s myTouch 3G, the follow-up to the G1. Motorola, Samsung and Acer are each planning to introduce new models running on the updated Android OS later this year.

Research In Motion, which opened the BlackBerry World app store earlier this year, is also joining Verizon Wireless in opening the VCast App Store later this year based on the carrier’s APIs.

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