Palm’s Developer Program Not Nearly So Annoying as Apple’s
Development for Palm’s new webOS platform will begin in earnest come winter with the official opening of the company’s developer program. At a small gathering in San Francisco Monday night, Palm said its developer program will open in December, and when it does it will be a different beast entirely from rival programs by Apple, Google (GOOG), et al.
For one thing, Palm (PALM) is waiving its $99 app submission fee for open-source webOS apps. For another, it’s giving developers the option of selling their apps through the App Catalog or via a Web-based storefront.
The first option entails a $50-per-app fee and requires review and approval by Palm. This includes the chance to bid on priority placement in the App Catalog if developers wish. The second option requires neither fee nor review and allows developers to distribute their apps over the Web with Palm handling transactions and fulfillment–assuming the apps conform to Palm’s content and user interface criteria.
“By opening up a web distribution channel free from our review, we are placing a great deal of trust in you–the developer–and the community,” Palm said on its blog. “We want you to embrace these principles, establish a high bar of quality and user experience, and help enforce these rules.”
An interesting strategy–assuming developers do establish the high bar of quality to which the company refers. Certainly, it’s very different from Apple’s (AAPL) approach, which includes an application-approval process criticized as obtuse and byzantine. By offering developers the chance to pay to promote their software in its Apps Catalog or to distribute it via the Web without having to suffer through an approval process, Palm is positioning its program as the polar opposite of Apple’s. Question is, are these enticements enough to win their attention?