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Palm Paying Developers to Bring Apps to webOS

TechCrunch has posted a brief video interview with the founders of CitySourced, a new mobile app. Halfway into the clip (also embedded after the break), TC's Sarah Lacy asks how much the company is being paid to bring their app "to Palm." After a bit of joking and dancing around the question, She eventually discovers that Palm is indeed paying developers to create webOS specific versions of their apps.

While licensing and bundled third party apps are common practices on mobile devices, specifically paying companies to create platform specific versions of a title is somewhat new ground. While this certainly shouldn't shatter anyones worldview, the author admits the figure was under the $500k range.


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No suprise

CFreymarc @ 9/16/2009 9:18:46 AM # Q
Some would call this an act of desperation, others would call it a band aid for not supporting native code, others would call it favoritism. I just call it for what it is, a questionable investment.
RE: No suprise
abosco @ 9/16/2009 4:09:45 PM # M Q
If it's around $500K, then that is the equivalent of about five good engineers working for a full year each.

Refine your platform. The talent will come only when it's ready, and not a second sooner.

RE: No suprise
jca666us @ 9/16/2009 4:17:15 PM # M Q
The only surprise is that it's taken this long.
RE: No suprise
hkklife @ 9/16/2009 6:19:57 PM # Q
@ Abosco;

Quote of the year so far!! "Refine the platform" shall from henceforth be my new mantra!

In fact, that's almost up there with "Delight the customer" and "We are well-prepared whichever way the market goes" and "PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They're not going to just walk in".
Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->Zodiac 2->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p->?

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Not 'new ground'.

pmjoe @ 9/16/2009 10:05:04 AM # Q
Apple's Maps application on the iPhone uses Google maps ... Google is definitely not providing that for free. Same for the YouTube app that comes with it. Now, maybe Apple paid their own developers to write the apps and they just license the rights from Google, but Google gets paid in the end.

The thought that it is some novel concept for companies like Apple, Microsoft, Palm, etc. to pay 3rd party companies for software to include with their platforms is completely absurd. They do it all the time.

Now, why Palm would think CitySourced is a must have app for WebOS, is a whole other question. Maybe they think supporting civic engagement is important and/or charitable.

RE: Not 'new ground'.
rmhurdman @ 9/16/2009 12:39:06 PM # Q
The mistake you made was in lumping Palm together with Microsoft and Apple. Palm doesn't have deep pockets or money to waste. So even if this has been done before by others, it probably hasn't been done by Palm.

Apple paying Google (or not) is understandable. It's a bundled app. So is YouTube. Apple has thousands of third-party developers, writing applications of all types. This news item implies that Palm doesn't have a platform that is compelling enough to get developers to write software for it. They have to pay them to do it.

If that's true, I'm going to call it karma. After the way they've treated their developers for years, now it's coming home to roost. Well played, Palm.

RE: Not 'new ground'.
pmjoe @ 9/16/2009 4:43:42 PM # Q
rmhurdman wrote:
The mistake you made was in lumping Palm together with Microsoft and Apple. Palm doesn't have deep pockets or money to waste.

You do realize that $0.01 < $500k?

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Inevitable

palmt600 @ 9/16/2009 11:04:30 AM # Q
There's little room left for developers to profit through the iPhone; too much competition.

Meanwhile, there's plenty of room for developers to profit through the Palm Pre. Palm Pre runs on Linux and so do the majority of the top internet web servers. Cloning iPhone apps or building apps from scratch would be easy for developers to build as a new source of income. With the Palm Pre now released in Canada and soon to the UK, there will be millions of opportunities and an inevitably a soaring investment in the horizon for Palm.

RE: Inevitable
SeldomVisitor @ 9/16/2009 12:29:13 PM # Q
You are forgetting that Pre applications are HTML, not binary.

RE: Inevitable
rmhurdman @ 9/16/2009 12:41:21 PM # Q
Add to that, the fact that the app store doesn't work yet.
And just because the Pre is for sale in the US and Canada, doesn't mean anyone has bought it. And if they did, they may be thinking "linux=free (as in beer)" and not willing to pay for apps.

There are a lot of variables between "writing an app for the Pre" and "soaring investment".

RE: Inevitable
CFreymarc @ 9/16/2009 3:22:45 PM # Q
Competition is a good thing. I'm expecting a shake down in the Apple iPhone stone and those with the best promotion to grab mindshare will do well. Yes, the landrush is over but those who make the first claim rarely keeps it.
RE: Inevitable
jca666us @ 9/17/2009 4:23:55 AM # Q
>There's little room left for developers to profit through the iPhone;
>too much competition.

ROFL - iphone has a much higher installed base than the Pre.

Some of the better selling iphone apps penetrate less than 1% of the app store market.

>Meanwhile, there's plenty of room for developers to profit through
>the Palm Pre.

Actually, the Pre has plenty of opportunity for app development, since there are so few apps available.

However, Palm needs to get the installed base of Pre devices up. It's most likely not at a level where most developers will jump in - that's why Palm is throwing developers seed money.

RE: Inevitable
bhartman34 @ 9/17/2009 1:56:05 PM # Q
jca666us wrote:
>There's little room left for developers to profit through the iPhone;
>too much competition.

ROFL - iphone has a much higher installed base than the Pre.

The installed base isn't the issue he raised. The issue is one of app saturation. There comes a point when apps start to overlap each other, and your app has to compete with some other app for space on someone's device. The more apps you have, the more likely it is you'll face that situation.

Because the Pre is such virgin territory, there isn't that competitive pressure within the app platform. With the iPhone, there is.

Now, I'm not saying that this makes the Pre a better app platform. Obviously, there are more factors at work than just saturation. But if I had to pick an advantage to developing for the Pre, that would be a pretty good one.


Some of the better selling iphone apps penetrate less than 1% of the app store market.

With so many iPhones and apps on the market, the best-selling apps only penetrate < 1% of iPhones? Assuming that's true, that's actually kind of sad, isn't it? As I said above, you don't want too much competition between apps, but doesn't it sound as though almost no one is installing apps on their iPhones, if even the best-selling apps are on < 1% of them?

>Meanwhile, there's plenty of room for developers to profit through
>the Palm Pre.

Actually, the Pre has plenty of opportunity for app development, since there are so few apps available.

However, Palm needs to get the installed base of Pre devices up. It's most likely not at a level where most developers will jump in - that's why Palm is throwing developers seed money.

The reason more developers aren't in at this point is most likely because Palm hasn't opened up the App Catalog yet. Once Palm opens it up (and particularly, once Palm opens it up to people selling apps, you'll see more developers hop on board. Now, how many developers will do so is the question.

Undoubtedly, the Pre's current inability to run compiled apps within the UI hurts that somewhat, but only somewhat. I just don't see most people going into dev mode on their Pres so that they can look at source code. Even most people who have Linux on their machines don't actually spend much time looking at source code. Why should the Pre be different? Most people, instead, will just download the apps to their phones, make sure they run, and say, "Hey, neat!".

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On the fence?

skeezix @ 9/17/2009 6:58:25 AM # Q
A lot of us are on the fence..

1) Send me a device, or make it cheap and unlocked
2) Show me the money! :) A precedent has been set ;)
3) Show me how to make my app halfway secure (ie: not fully plaintetx javascript) without crippling it by putting 3/4 of the app on a webserver.
4) I'm in!

As a long time Palm loyalist I'm here.. just waiting for the right time/information.

jeff


The Shadow knows!

RE: On the fence?
CFreymarc @ 9/17/2009 11:24:29 PM # Q
You said it right. The lack of a widely accessible native compiler for the Pre is lunacy in my opinion. That is keeping a lot of developers away.

It has been said that there is a fine line between conspiracy theory and business plan. Why the internal, native webOS compiler is not out for wide use is a question that I am sure everyone at Palm is avoiding. If it is a typical "follow the money" investigation, we need to find out who is cashing in only script-based apps running on the Pre.

Can anyone answer that one?

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Any update to this? AllThingsDigital says 'Garbage'

SeldomVisitor @ 9/17/2009 9:50:07 AM # Q
They say they talked with Palm insiders who said "garbage".

So...update?

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