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Palm Frees Up webOS Development

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the more-open-than-thou dept.

Cellphones 117

Per Wigren writes in with news that Palm has just announced a number of changes to its webOS development platform that should really be welcomed by developers — especially after the chilly reception that Palm seemed to be giving to open source in recent days. OSnews notes that "This moves the webOS much closer to Android territory." Quoting TechCrunch: "The first is that they're allowing developers to fully distribute their apps via the web. What this means is that developers can simply submit their apps to Palm, and Palm will return to them a URL that they can then blog, tweet, do whatever they want to share it. When a person then clicks on that URL they can easily install the app, bypassing any kind of store. And while Palm is providing the URL, it is not going to be reviewing the apps in any way — a clear dig at Apple's approval process. The next announcement is that Palm is waiving the $99 yearly fee it normally charges to developers to make webOS apps if those apps are going to be open source."

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117 comments

Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (4, Insightful)

monoqlith (610041) | more than 4 years ago | (#29660393)

I'm all for letting any non-maleficent app through without some ridiculous approval process, but some common sense restrictions should be applied. Shouldn't Palm at least be checking to see if the apps are malware?

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#29660455)

No. This is a difficult thing to judge, and the benefits of an open platform are worth the risk.

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (2, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29661473)

No matter what the smallprint says, it looks like they're associated with it. The first time something goes wrong they'll be getting the blame - and most likely, a lawsuit too.

They're insane. Never, never associate your brand with something that isn't reasonably under your control.

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#29661895)

Like IBM was with every piece of software that ran on the IBM PC and its later clones?

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (4, Insightful)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662075)

Palm here though is hosting the apps on palm owned webspace.

I just don't get it. If palm is letting non-reviewed apps be made available (They will probably still review any placed in the store, but being in the store will not be a requirement for installation), then why require them to come from a special location?

Why not just create a standard archive format for app distribution, and let anybody make and distribute apps. Just like with the Windows Mobile platform, or for that matter the PalmOS platform?

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#29663921)

Why not just create a standard archive format for app distribution, and let anybody make and distribute apps. Just like with the Windows Mobile platform, or for that matter the PalmOS platform?

So that if they get complaints, they have archived copies of the apps in question. It also removes the chance of the apps just vanishing.

Recently I was trying to install a Firefox extension... but the homepage was down, and only the old version for FF2 was available from Mozilla.

Recently I installed BackInTime - an incremental GUI backup program for Ubuntu. A few days ago its website and repositories went down.

Seems logical to have a central repository for everything.

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (1)

punzada (1557247) | more than 4 years ago | (#29664413)

Why not just create a standard archive format for app distribution, and let anybody make and distribute apps. Just like with the Windows Mobile platform, or for that matter the PalmOS platform?

IPKG, it's already on the system.

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (1)

drizek (1481461) | more than 4 years ago | (#29664791)

Because this way Palm will have the IP, personal info and so on of the app developer. I was skeptical of the system at first, but I can think of a number of ways now that this helps. At the very least it allows palm to do an automated sanity check on the app, ensuring it doesn't run any scripts, doesn't modify certain system files, installs cleanly, uninstalls cleanly, etc.

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (3, Insightful)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662531)

Well, they still control the URL used to download the app, so they can ostensibly yank an app if "the community" finds out something is laden with malware. Pretty much the same way big open source distribution points work.

I bet they also make you click through some legal disclaimer when you download any app through them anyway.

I'm glad they're going for the side of "too open" vs. "too closed", while still maintaining some modicum of control. It's not like they let people load apps directly from anywhere, propagating who-knows-what.

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (1)

JohnFen (1641097) | more than 4 years ago | (#29665227)

*sigh*

In my view, they're still far too closed.

It's not like they let people load apps directly from anywhere, propagating who-knows-what.

But that's exactly what they should do.

They have their walled garden, so that normal people can play in their controlled environment. So that's already covered.

Let us more sophisticated users & developers out of that garden completely. Let us skin our knees, pee on the electric fence, and shoot ourselves in the tootsies. That's what we want, we're taking the risk, so why not?

If you're worried about virii, well, don't worry. They'll happen regardless of how open or closed Palm is.

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (2, Insightful)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 4 years ago | (#29668681)

Yeah, I certainly agree that they're far too closed. I've really liked using Palm stuff over the years... still use my Palm T|X as my primary organizer while holding out for their Linux-based offering. Then the Pre came out without any kind of memory card support, which was the main dealbreaker for me... I couldn't figure out why they'd make such a blatant omission, but it's starting to make sense now that they're following the Apple model of locking down the device so you can only put things on it OTA through their channels or via their proprietary wired conduit.

Now that I think about it, they've started this some time ago, when they removed the USBdrive mode when going from the Palm T5 to the Palm T|X, though you could still work around it by installing apps in the SD card and moving it things to/from its main memory using FileZ.

Anyway, I didn't want to be stuck with their tethering application to get things in and out of the device, so I ended up waiting a few months more... I just pre-ordered an unlocked Nokia N900 a week ago. While it's more expensive, it's essentially a pocketable Debian box which is more along the lines of what I've always wanted anyway.

I'll miss Palm's well-designed PIM apps, but Maemo has a free PalmOS 5 Garnet emulator on it (you have to pay extra for the PalmOS 5 emulator on the Pre for carrying over your legacy Palm apps - brilliant), so Maemo even seems to offer a better upgrade path for us die-hard Palm users than Palm does these days :P .

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662475)

No. This is a difficult thing to judge, and the benefits of an open platform are worth the risk.

How much benefit is there and how much risk? How much different would the available apps for the iPhone be were there no app approval process? And consider the fact that it's also possible to improve the process without scrapping it altogether.

Consider that Apple, imperfectly, filters for:

1. Spyware/malware
2. Bugs
3. UI issues
4. Core iPhone functionality duplication
5. Pornography
6. Disallows some cell network usage as per the telco's user contract

Of those, which do you think we'd see significant benefit from were Apple to, not just address them better, but ignore them altogether? 4, 5 and 6 can definitely be better addressed than they are now.

I would also argue that the iPhone user experience would be *nowhere near* as great as it is were Apple to not filter their app store. User complaints about buggy and ugly apps would skyrocket. The quality and ease of use of the app store is just as important to Apple as the smoothness of the multitouch, or the quality of their mobile web browser (which is so fully capable, it almost seems wrong to call it a "mobile" browser).

It's also really misleading that Palm is really "opening up" webOS development. You still have to send them your app, and *you* don't distribute *you* apple, you just send a link to download from Palm. You can do the exact same thing with iPhone apps. The only difference is that with the iPhone, you download from within iTunes, whereas with Palm, it sounds like you download a file that the user then has to install themselves. Palm's appears a *little* bit freer, but it's really just more complex and requires more steps.

I'm glad Palm is trying something different, but the superiority of their decisions is by no means clear.

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (1)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 4 years ago | (#29660601)

I agree, this is a ridiculous cost-cutting measure disguised as a clever marketing trick.

I predict in a couple months we'll be calling it the HairyPalmOS.

How is this different than PalmOS? (2, Insightful)

thule (9041) | more than 4 years ago | (#29661223)

Palm traditionally has let any program from any source run on their OS's. The initial restriction of only allowing programs installed via their app store is Apple thinking, not traditional Palm thinking.

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (2, Insightful)

NiteShaed (315799) | more than 4 years ago | (#29660757)

Yesterday: Palm is EVIL! They're forcing us through a proprietary app catalog, and ruling out choice and freedom and forcing developers to play by their rules! Down with Palm!
Today: Palm is EVIL! By letting people download from anywhere, they're not checking these apps for safety before people can download them, which will infest the Pre with malware! Down with Palm!

Meet the new Slashdotters, same as the old Slashdotters.

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (2, Funny)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 4 years ago | (#29660893)

Yesterday some slashdotters opinions were: Palm is EVIL! They're forcing us through a proprietary app catalog, and ruling out choice and freedom and forcing developers to play by their rules! Down with Palm!
Today some other slashdotters opinions are: Palm is EVIL! By letting people download from anywhere, they're not checking these apps for safety before people can download them, which will infest the Pre with malware! Down with Palm!

Meet the new Slashdotters, they have differing opinions.

FTFY

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29661215)

Fail Troll Failed Yo?

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29663463)

Fuck The Fucking Yanks?

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (3, Insightful)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 4 years ago | (#29660897)

I think you will find that Slashdot is made up of more than one person, and that the opinions expressed here are often variable. Surprisingly enough, all of the thousands of people that read a story, and the hundreds that often comment on a story do not agree on everything. See any story or post that mentions: "Apple", "Microsoft", "iPhone", "Linux on the Desktop" for examples of this fact.

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (2, Informative)

monoqlith (610041) | more than 4 years ago | (#29661329)

I never said Palm was evil on either side of this gesture.

If you criticize somebody make sure you review their side of the argument so you're not attacking a straw man.

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (2, Insightful)

isThisNameAvailable (1496341) | more than 4 years ago | (#29660793)

That's what the official App Catalog will be for: safe, screened little confections for the average Joe. This is simply an alternative for developers and consumers who don't want to go through Palm for whatever reason. Keep in mind the old Palm OS, Windows Mobile, and Symbian have always allowed you to load whatever random app you found on the net, too. Apple's the one that came along and made the walled garden popular.

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (1)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 4 years ago | (#29660805)

No. Why not have MS do the same thing? Or apple do the same thing for their OS X software? Apple wants control of the iPhone apps for one reason: volume. There are so many little iPhones out there that a $0.99 app could easily translate to tens of millions of dollars in fees for Apple.

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (1, Insightful)

metamatic (202216) | more than 4 years ago | (#29660831)

Shouldn't Palm at least be checking to see if the apps are malware?

'cause Apple's application inspection regime has worked well to prevent malware [slashdot.org], right?

If your platform security relies on code inspection to catch malware, you're setting yourself up for epic fail.

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (2, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#29661451)

Shouldn't Palm at least be checking to see if the apps are malware?

'cause Apple's application inspection regime has worked well to prevent malware, right?

If your platform security relies on code inspection to catch malware, you're setting yourself up for epic fail.

Is that functionality malware? From post #29585841 [slashdot.org],

I was curious if this was possible on other devices. Seems like all the big ones have some API functionality to retrieve similar information:

- http://docs.blackberry.com/en/developers/deliverables/8540/Retrieve_phone_number_BB_device_565546_11.jsp [blackberry.com] Blackberry

- http://blogs.msdn.com/windowsmobile/archive/2004/11/28/271110.aspx [msdn.com] Windows Mobile

- http://www.forum.nokia.com/infocenter/index.jsp?topic=/S60_5th_Edition_Cpp_Developers_Library/GUID-3EB7E846-A29F-4546-B04D-A90B009903EF.html [nokia.com] [nokia.com] Symbian (while on casual inspection there appears to be no function to retrieve the phone number, you can retrieve the IMEI, and be notified on events such as phone calls, at which point you can retrieve the caller ID as well as the dialed number)

- http://developer.android.com/reference/android/telephony/TelephonyManager.html [android.com] Android (requires permissions be granted to the app)

So it's malware on the iPhone, when it's a supported API on a number of other platforms, except Symbian.

OTOH, this is good for Palm - we'll soon be inundated with Norton Antivirus for WebOS, McAfee Antivirus for WebOS, etc. Just like Symbian and I believe WinMo have. After all, we can't have another Liberty virus [smobilesystems.com] that afflicted PalmOS devices. (This was named after the Liberty Game Boy Emulator [gambitstudios.com] for PalmOS).

And I suppose, good for developers of fart apps, flashlight apps, and other spam apps [gizmodo.com]. Last one was particularly interesting. Helps the Pre's app numbers, though.

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29661525)

PalmOS was DOS-like in its security. That is to say it had none. It was a normal to run "hacks" which would replace main library/OS implemented functions with different ones with more features. I assume WebOS has reasonably thought out security as a modern operating system. I know Android protects applications from each other quite well, and I would be surprised if WebOS did not do something similar.

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (3, Funny)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#29661093)

Shouldn't Palm at least be checking to see if the apps are malware?

Mama's gonna check out all your applications for you. Mama's not going to let anything dirty get through. Mama's gonna wait up until you sign in. Mama's going to always find out where you've been. Mama's gonna keep baby healthy and clean.

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (1)

Bluecobra (906623) | more than 4 years ago | (#29661391)

No, Palm shouldn't be checking apps and they should keep webOS as open as possible. Anybody in the world should be able to write an application for a phone and the end user should be able to run it with no restrictions, just like I can on my computer. I am not a baby and shouldn't be treated as such by my phone company/headset maker. I can download applications to my Android phone from anywhere (by enabling a checkbox in my phone's settings) and yet to encounter any malware. I like how people keep throwing this argument that by letting users download any application is going to perpetuate malware/viruses when it doesn't. How many people do you know gotten malware/viruses from Android?

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (1)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 4 years ago | (#29668817)

I really wish I has some modpoints for this since it is easily the most insightful comment in this whole thread to this point.

I have another example of a fairly open platform that does not suffer from a large volume of malware though: Linux.

I have been using it for years and have never come across any.

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (1, Insightful)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 4 years ago | (#29661505)

Why? Your device. Securing it is your responsibility. Don't like that? tell all the windoze lusers with zombie-infested machines they can't install whatever they want anymore. Blackberry deals with this well with their application firewall. No reason palm (or, gee, a 3rd party!) couldn't do the same.

I'm looking forward to getting a pre, but not sure about the reliability of Sprint's network vs. ATT. *sigh*. I wish the whole tying of phone to network thing would go away. Pre on Verizon without hobbling the OS would be quite nice.

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (1)

Old97 (1341297) | more than 4 years ago | (#29661597)

What I like about Apple's process is their requirement for digital signing and a review of the application to insure it causes no harm to the network, the device or the user. What I don't like is their insistence on restricting applications for purposes of protecting their business model. I understand it, but that's what probably irritates most developers. Palm should require digital signing and a review of the application to protect against intentional or accidental damage and they could do this without going as far as Apple has in limiting legitimate uses of the device. I believe that would both protect consumers and provide developers with sufficient freedom.

Re:Not reviewing them in any way? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29663885)

It depends where you live but being on the smaller carrier can be useful. Recently, I was at a concert festival in SF Golden Gate park and none of my friends on AT&T or Verizon could do anything with their phones because of the density of phones in the park. Being on sprint I was able to make calls, text, and even stream a Cowboys game radio broadcast between shows.

nice timing (1)

rarel (697734) | more than 4 years ago | (#29660431)

Funny they should do that precisely on WM 6.5's launchday...

Re:nice timing (2, Insightful)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 4 years ago | (#29660563)

Funny they should do that precisely on WM 6.5's launchday...

Palm's just desperately trying to stay in the news, which is also what the whole Pre-iTunes sync drama is all about. They must be pretty close to the edge. I hope they do well with this move though so they can motivate Apple to do the same.

Re:nice timing (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#29661857)

if they're that close to the edge and that transparently desperate, I doubt anyone's going to move based on any activity they may be doing.

Re:nice timing (2, Interesting)

Povno (1460131) | more than 4 years ago | (#29661115)

Actually it's funny they should do that before this [wikipedia.org] is released and from what I can tell about this [nokia.com] as an OS, it might turn out to be what Plam promised with the Pre.

Re:nice timing (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 4 years ago | (#29664499)

Yummy, yummy N900...

But so expensive... :(

(Side note: What's with these 1300mAH batteries? I think smartphone makers need to get more realistic about battery needs on these things... If that means it's bigger, then it's bigger... At least I won't be constantly running out of power...)

More open is better... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29660437)

This seems nice. WebOS already had open source Linux operating system (some people knows it as "Linux kernel") and now the whole system is a one step more open.

Unlocked, Quad-Band GSM (1)

Neon Spiral Injector (21234) | more than 4 years ago | (#29660571)

Now if we could just get an unlocked, quad-band GSM phone running webOS, I'd pick one up to replace my aging Treo650.

Re:Unlocked, Quad-Band GSM (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 4 years ago | (#29660985)

Who says webOS won't get ported a la Rockbox? And after all, Linux will run on almost anything. I can see where eventually phones will become just like desktops and laptops - pick yer OS.

Re:Unlocked, Quad-Band GSM (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 4 years ago | (#29664531)

Who says webOS won't get ported a la Rockbox? And after all, Linux will run on almost anything. I can see where eventually phones will become just like desktops and laptops - pick yer OS.

At present there's too many hardware differences between platforms for this to be viable. If your OS is built around a particular screen resolution, a multi-touch screen, a hardware keyboard, motion sensor, etc. then the applications written for it won't work nicely on hardware that doesn't fit that rough description...

Re:Unlocked, Quad-Band GSM (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 4 years ago | (#29663817)

The Palm Pre is quad band. Don't know if you can get it unlocked where you are, but here in Belgium locking is still illegal (despite heavy lobbying) so we'll probably get it unlocked when it goes on sale here by mid october. I've heard good things about it too.

Wow (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#29660597)

That was a complete 180 degree turn-around on Palm's part.

Re:Wow (1)

dslbrian (318993) | more than 4 years ago | (#29660895)

Yeah desperation for consumer base plainly showing through. I would be surprised if it lasted indefinitely though, I'm sure Palm desires absolute control. Similar moves by Verizon today also, with them announcing they will have android phones now [thestreet.com].

Re:Wow (1)

cellurl (906920) | more than 4 years ago | (#29660901)

Good U-turn I say. Competition is good for consumers. I have an Android exclusive app, and you bet your sweet bippie this will make me port it to Palm ASAP.
IMHO, the three underdogs better bully up quick (openhandsetalliance) before iPhone moves out and leaves a trail of lithium... For starters, Android needs to get rid of the 48hr free trial thing.

As my old friend Bob Goodman used to say (God bless Bob), where money goes, hearts and minds follow...
If you want better apps, daddys gotta get paid....

Re:Wow (1)

Neon Spiral Injector (21234) | more than 4 years ago | (#29660973)

It's actually a 360 back to where they were with PalmOS. Well, almost a 360, before anyone could distribute a Palm app from any site, not a URL generated by Palm themselves.

Re:Wow (0, Flamebait)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 4 years ago | (#29664377)

Well, almost a 360, before anyone could distribute a Palm app from any site, not a URL generated by Palm themselves.

I had a half dozen Palms from a IIIe to a 680 / TX. Exactly two apps were EVER distributed over the internet, and only after I'd already installed them locally.

If you have a USB cable and a modicum of search capability, you can instally whatever the hell you want on a WebOS phone.

Say what? (0)

djupedal (584558) | more than 4 years ago | (#29660857)

Dig at Apple?

And just how does a dev earn money for that link if it COMPLETELY BYPASSES ANY KIND OF STORE...?

Yeah....I'm gonna jump right on that....as soon as the liquor companies start putting cases of Capt. Morgan Silver out on the curb, effectively bypassing the store...

Re:Say what? (2, Insightful)

isThisNameAvailable (1496341) | more than 4 years ago | (#29660933)

Seriously. I can't believe no one has figured out a way of exchanging goods and services on the Internet for some sort of currency without the benefit of monolithic corporate store fronts.

Re:Say what? (3, Insightful)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662317)

You mean like all the many independent app stores that previously existed for the PalmOS, Windowm Mobile, and Symbian OS, but are being phased out in favor of Apple style APP stores?

Or how about independent app sales by the application developer, who you pay with a credit card, and they send you the app, or more commonly they send you an unlock code for the app, which is publicly available shareware style?

Those systems work well, except that the average moron that buys an Windows Mobile based phone from HTC have no idea they can just go online and download any Windows Mobile 6 compatible application they find.
For whatever reason that concept just does not occur the the average idiot. I don't know why. Whenever I get a new device where I might be able to run software from the Internet, one of the first things I do is go looking around at what is available. I'm guessing most readers of this site are like this too.

Re:Say what? (1)

Briareos (21163) | more than 4 years ago | (#29660993)

Dig at Apple?

Now all we need is a fully working unrestricted C64 emulator for it and people will be switching from Apple's iPhone in droves... :D

np: David Sylvian - The Greatest Living Englishman (Manafon)

Re:Say what? (4, Insightful)

Fallen Seraph (808728) | more than 4 years ago | (#29661089)

Ok, now try reading the article. The link is for devs who want a distribution method other than the store, but want Palm to host it, to make it easy for people to download it. This does not mean the app will be listed in the app catalog. If you want it to be listed in the official app catalog, then you can pay the yearly fee (same as Apple) and pick a price point for your app. The link is simply IN ADDITION to the store, not a replacement for it. They're trying to give developers as many options as possible to distribute their apps, on top of the 3rd party homebrew app catalogs which already exist.

And the mention that open source apps will not require a fee to be in the official app catalog is a major boon for open source software, because that means there's no cash or fee required to distribute a free and open app. I'm gonna be honest, thus far, WebOS in many ways seems to be a more consumer friendly version of Android. Hopefully when WebOS gets Java support it will expand even further.

Re:Say what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29661683)

I think you still need to pay the yearly fee to use the link distribution method, just not the app catalog submission fee. And open source is free for both link distribution and the catalog.

Re:Say what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29667229)

> Hopefully when WebOS gets Java support it will expand even further.

What the fuck?

Re:Say what? (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#29667801)

WebOS in many ways seems to be a more consumer friendly version of Android.

The company with the least leverage tends to be the most friendly.

Languages? (1)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 4 years ago | (#29661493)

Does anyone know what development languages this supports? My current phone is Windows Mobile and I'd have a hard time switching to anything that didn't let me use real C++.

Close (3, Funny)

Kludge (13653) | more than 4 years ago | (#29661625)

It's HTML, which is really close to C++.

Re:Close (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29665267)

Actually, it uses Javascript for the scripting. HTML is a static presentation layer.

Re:Languages? (1)

samilliken (1646567) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662987)

It's called WebOS, which is basically Extended JavaScript (for hardware API calls) and HTML. There are some decent tutorials on their developer website, plus O'Reilly has a decent book out for the development on it already.

Re:Languages? (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 4 years ago | (#29664579)

It's called WebOS, which is basically Extended JavaScript (for hardware API calls) and HTML. There are some decent tutorials on their developer website, plus O'Reilly has a decent book out for the development on it already.

Proof, IMO, that Palm, who had allowed their PalmOS platform to slowly fester and die over a period of several years, is now fully deranged. Hey everybody... here's a portable device. It has limited storage and battery resources. So how about we all write apps for it using a frikkin' scripting language?

The bright side, I've heard, is that one can write modules in C or C++ in such a way that they can then be called from the Javascript environment of the phone...

Re:Languages? (0, Flamebait)

jo42 (227475) | more than 4 years ago | (#29663831)

Comparing Palm's WebOS development environment (a "1") to the Windows Mobile SDK (a "5") or the iPhone SDK (a "9") is like comparing a kids tricycle to a top-of-the line motorcycle from Honda or BMW.

Re:Languages? (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 4 years ago | (#29664597)

Comparing Palm's WebOS development environment (a "1") to the Windows Mobile SDK (a "5") or the iPhone SDK (a "9") is like comparing a kids tricycle to a top-of-the line motorcycle from Honda or BMW.

Personally I don't believe the "flamebait" mod you got was necessarily justified... But could you elaborate a bit? I haven't used any of the SDKs you mentioned...

Re:Languages? (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 4 years ago | (#29664433)

My current phone is Windows Mobile and I'd have a hard time switching to anything that didn't let me use real C++.

1: Mojo apps are written in Javascript. You might get some faster custom API's later, but unless you're an established (i.e., trustworthy) company, Palm won't be giving you the lower level access.

2: what the hell are you making on a PDA that needs to handle memory allocation, anyway?

3: It's Linux at the core. If you really want to just muck around with it, you can get root and run whatever the @#$ you want trivially easy.

Start the countdown... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29661507)

To the first drive-by downloader for webOS. Although even the densest user will probably figure out when their phone is turned into a spambot - maybe not until they get the data bill, but they'll notice.

Re:Start the countdown... (1)

Tokerat (150341) | more than 4 years ago | (#29665809)

Sprint won't let you activate a Pre without an unlimited data plan. Otherwise, my $0.03/KB * 235MB would have been a $7,219.20 bill. Who needs spammers?

I think once the HTC Hero comes out.... (2, Interesting)

TheBigDuck (938776) | more than 4 years ago | (#29661583)

... the Palm will be squeezed out again. I think Palm had a great product 10 years ago, but seem to be a day late and a dollar short when it comes to new technology. The Pre LOOKS good, but after using it, you kinda get the feeling it could have been done better. I think once users start getting the HTC Hero (Android) phone, Palm will be an also-ran. Developers will move to the Android market. Just my opinion.

Re:I think once the HTC Hero comes out.... (1)

Darknight (8142) | more than 4 years ago | (#29661645)

... the Palm will be squeezed out again. I think Palm had a great product 10 years ago, but seem to be a day late and a dollar short when it comes to new technology. The Pre LOOKS good, but after using it, you kinda get the feeling it could have been done better. I think once users start getting the HTC Hero (Android) phone, Palm will be an also-ran. Developers will move to the Android market. Just my opinion.

Sure, because all of the previous Android phones have set the world on fire.

Re:I think once the HTC Hero comes out.... (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 4 years ago | (#29661905)

The problem wasn't the phones, but with the provider they were released with. T-Mobile's probably the smallest of the U.S. service providers with the worst coverage, and unlike Sprint, their roaming agreement with AT&T breaks completely on a regular basis. For example, in 2008, T-Mobile phones were unusable for miles around my apartment and workplace, while AT&T worked perfectly.

Well, yeah, it was with the phones - no support for UMTS850/1900 means it's crippled to any US resident on a provider other than T-Mobile even if you get an unlocked phone.

Re:I think once the HTC Hero comes out.... (2, Interesting)

StreetStealth (980200) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662283)

Have you used the Hero? You might be disappointed: [engadget.com]

The Hero represents a valiant effort from HTC -- though unfortunately, the company appears to have bitten off more than its last-generation hardware can chew. If this build of Android were to be loaded atop the guts of a 3GS or Pre, the performance would likely be astounding, but fused with the two-year old architecture of previous devices, it's mostly disappointing.

As for whatever succeeds the Hero, that might actually be able to run HTC's UI layer well enough to really give Palm and Apple a run for their money.

Re:I think once the HTC Hero comes out.... (1)

Shaklee39 (694496) | more than 4 years ago | (#29663593)

So what's wrong with it? I need specifics. I own one and it's the best phone I've ever used.

Re:I think once the HTC Hero comes out.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29665319)

So a phone HTC might ship that hasn't been reviewed from a company that does platform updates yearly is better than a currently shipping device that is consistently adding features and capabilities on a month by month basis (where the updates are also actively pushed out to all phones)?

I dunno - I prefer Pre & Pixi by far to any Android I have seen (to be fair I've only seen the Touch line and I don't know all the ins and outs of how the platform combines with phones).

Disclaimer - I'm a Palm employee and my opinions are my own and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.

Desperation? (1)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 4 years ago | (#29661669)

Seeing nobody is really eager to jump-start their platform, but who is surprised? They give you Javascript and HTML (webOS) as a creative tool of choice. There are thousands of application and software, but I can't name one that uses Javascript/HTML, so good luck with that Palm, way to follow industry standards and help people transition their software to your platform. Somebody forget to tag this 'defective by design' ?

Re:Desperation? (1)

shog9 (154858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662259)

There are thousands of application and software, but I can't name one that uses Javascript/HTML

Really? Really? You can't name one app that uses JavaScript and HTML... wow. Gotta say, I'm impressed - using any website via telnet is rough, but composing /. POST requests is a whole new level of dedication!

Re:Desperation? (1)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 4 years ago | (#29663277)

Do not confuse thin HTML/Javascript frontends for server services like /. or Google maps with application software.

Re:Desperation? (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 4 years ago | (#29664625)

Do not confuse thin HTML/Javascript frontends for server services like /. or Google maps with application software.

There's two sides to this thing...

First - I have to say that a lot of these web applications really are quite comparable to locally-hosted desktop applications in terms of what they do.

But the choice of HTML and Javascript in that sort of environment is almost unavoidable, so it doesn't lend much support to the idea that these are good choices for writing an application that doesn't need to run on a web server...

Re:Desperation? (1)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 4 years ago | (#29664859)

Partly agreed, but if the app is HTML/Java and can run in a web-browser like environment then you can find such an app on the web anyway and already. What is the point ? We are talking about the added value of AppStore grade applications that somebody would like to pay for, they are barring open source/free software -- they want money -- while openly promoting low-end application interface (web) that can't bring the added value, this is plain stupid, sorry, but this got failure drawn all over.

Great but... (0, Troll)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#29661795)

Have they stopped stealing other USB vendor IDs? no? Meh.

Re:Great but... (1)

Tokerat (150341) | more than 4 years ago | (#29665819)

Says someone in response to a company making their own solution to a manufactured compatibility problem WHILE typing from a keyboard connected to a descendant of the IBM PC. Your geek card has been revoked, sir.

Re:Great but... (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#29666001)

If being a geek means thinking in shallow terms, then I don't want to be a geek.

Yes it's a manufactured compatibility problem, but no, I don't think that iTunes should be forced to sync with the Pre, nor do I think it's appropriate for Palm to throw a hissy fit and mimic Apple's vendor ID either. You can pull data from the iTunes music repository from the plaintext XML it generates and you can add content to the iTunes repository using applescript(and COM under windows AFAIK). I don't care how open Palm is being with Web OS, if they're too lazy to build a sync tool for Mac, then I'm kind of worried about what else under the hood they're too lazy to build.

Re:Great but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29666509)

Oh, the horror.

Post Restated: (1)

watanabe (27967) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662179)

This story can be summarized: JWZ Wins. Big Time.

I'm impressed, I didn't expect he'd get this kind of leverage.

Re:Post Restated: (1)

netsharc (195805) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662721)

Indeed, and indeed for the 2nd paragraph.

Now I wish he'd given Apple the same treatment for their iPhone model. But then again, Jobs probably has more mojo than jwz.

Great news! Now they just need to fix... (2, Insightful)

bytestorm (1296659) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662563)

...framebuffer support. Seriously, there's only so much you can do when all you get is a javascript engine and html for your UI elements. I love my Pre as a phone, but the environment doesn't suit my developer needs.

Re:Great news! Now they just need to fix... (1)

Tokerat (150341) | more than 4 years ago | (#29665849)

Considering how mobile gaming is taking off on the iPhone and related devices, I wouldn't be suprised if Palm comes up with some kind of compiled-application ability in the near future. Until then, webOS is a glorified Mac dashboard. Not that I mind; it's certainly more useful than the Dashboard on my desktop Mac, and it beats having a bill from AT&T and an iron-fisted App Store from Apple hands down.

Where's my Palm Touch? (1)

caseih (160668) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662567)

I'm extremely interested in Palm's platform, as well as Android. However I don't want a phone. I want a small, ipod touch-like device that has a slick interface, a good music player, and an all-around mobile computing platform. The iPod Touch, except for being so locked down, has been really an ideal little computer for my purposes. I sometimes listen to music or audio books, but most often read ebooks (a dual-mode LCD/e-paper screen would be slick on a handheld). Or watch the odd movie. Generally speaking I don't need VoIP and I don't need cell functionality. I do use the calendaring on it from time to time and sync it against google calendar. I'd buy a Palm WebOS device right now if it were available without a phone. Or an android device. I long to have something with the utility of my touch by lets me escape the bonds of Apple. But I'm in the minority I guess, and convergence is definitely a real demand by customers. I've been told the Nokia N810 is what I want, but it's a bit bigger than my touch and the UI isn't as slick as Apple's, Android or WebOS from what I've seen. Maybe Moblin though...

Re:Where's my Palm Touch? (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662835)

Sorry, but I don't get why you would want to pay for and carry around a pocket computer AND a phone. Why not combine both? It costs you less and it's less to carry around / charge / sync. That's why I love my iPhone - I have a computer anywhere I go (yea, the lack of flash sucks, but that's the only real downside) and I don't have to carry a cell phone on me as well.

Re:Where's my Palm Touch? (1)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 4 years ago | (#29663407)

Maemo (the OS that runs on the N800/N810) is still under real development, and has gotten a lot better over the last few years (as Linux in general has done). Heck, the differences between Maemo in 2008 and 2009 are quie impressive. If you haven't yet, you might want to take a look at a new build of Maemo, and see if it fits what you're looking for in terms of smooth UI.

That said, the N810 is a little long in the tooth, technology wise. Its CPU is still pretty good (for an ARM chip) but its RAM and internal storage are both smaller than I'd prefer, and as you mention, it's a bit bulky (fits in a pocket, but makes a noticeable bulge). I'd say wait for the N900, except that's a phone too... you don't have to buy a service plan for it, but if you want a Maemo device *without* phone hardware, the N810 is probably your best bet for now.

Re:Where's my Palm Touch? (1)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | more than 4 years ago | (#29666265)

The Creative Zii Egg [wikipedia.org] might be what you want, but I'm not quite sure what it's supposed to be. It looks like an iPod touch and is supposed to have an innovative processor and stuff, although I think the hype about the processor is BS for the most part. It runs a Creative Plaszma OS and/or Android. But again, everything about it is really vacuous. I'd buy it to toy around with if I had any faith in Creative being able to actually do something with it, and if I had a significant amount of disposable income.

Pricing for Developers (0)

Tokerat (150341) | more than 4 years ago | (#29665775)

I see a lot of mis-quoting going on here (welcome to Slashdot), so here from developer.palm.com [palm.com] are the basics of the pricing scheme, for those to lazy to read:

  • $99 - Official membership in the Palm Developer Program. $50 per App submission (one-time). Palm will review your applications, help you debug them, and offer them in the App Catalog. You may charge for your application, and you are paid "70% of revenues, net of applicable taxes". Visa and Mastercard accepted. You may also allow users to download your application with a special link to Palm's app repository.
  • $0 - Unofficial membership in the Palm Developer Program. $50 per App submission (one-time). Palm will NOT review your applications, help you debug them, or offer them in the App Catalog. You may NOT charge for your application, and you may ONLY allow users to download your application with a special link to Palm's app repository.

Not a bad deal, they give developers freedom (charge a nominal fee for maintenance; if it's going to cost $50 to list it better be worth it), and they're able to yank any malware/trojan BS once it's discovered, and possibly trace the author. I like it.

So, no wonder CmdrTaco isn't rich (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 4 years ago | (#29668775)

SourceForge, the parent of slashdot should have this excellent "$50 to be listed on sf.net" idea. CmdrTaco would be a billionaire by now.

Yes, they tell open source, freeware app developers must pay $50 to get listed! Man, where were them when Download.com had that idiotic idea which resulted in massive loss of developers from all camps? It was changed later but the harm was done, it still effects the download.com even the newly purchased versiontracker which developers think they must pay to get listed.

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