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Palm Hiring Graphical Engineers

Palm's new webOS and Mojo SDK have come under fire in recent days, with critics targeting the current lack of hardware-accelerated graphics that's essential for games and other graphically intensive applications. So what's Palm's response? The company itself has been rather quiet about its plans on this front, with only a vague hint in June from CTO of Software Mitch Allen, in the comments on the Rough Cuts version of the webOS developer book:

"The initial API doesn't support 3D graphics, just limited Canvas tag support. Graphics APIs are an area that Palm is working on but haven't announced any details."

As PreCentral are reporting, though, you can easily see for yourself what Palm is up to here simply by browsing the company's job listings. Currently, there's openings for:

Software Engineer, Accelerated Graphics
Palm is looking for top-notch graphics engineers to focus on the foundation for rich and innovative user interfaces and games... We're looking for developers who are passionate about fluid user interfaces, gaming, handhelds, mobile communication and the possibilities for Palm in the gaming arena.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Bring up and integrate graphics hardware interfaces
  • Optimize and extend low level graphics drivers
  • Evaluate next generation technologies

And:

Game Frameworks Engineer
Palm is establishing a new software team to focus on building the best tools and technologies to allow game developers to design and develop innovative gaming applications for Palm's WebOS platform. We're looking for developers who are passionate about gaming, handhelds, mobile communication and the possibilities for Palm in the gaming arena.

There's two ways to look at this: the glass-half-full approach will be pleased to see action is being taken in this area, while the glass-half-empty types will bemoan that advanced graphics capabilities weren't available yesterday. Really though, both are right: Palm faces a steep challenge in speedily creating an attractive gaming framework that works within the confines of Mojo's web-language development approach, but given how well they've done with the rest of webOS they safely be given the benefit of the doubt.

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Glass half full

medevilenemy @ 7/19/2009 7:47:21 PM # Q
I tend to think people have unreasonable expectations for Palm these days. They shouldn't expect webOS to immediately be fully mature. it will take a couple years (as its taken iPhoneOS a couple years to mature - and it as an operating system isn't nearly as sophisticated). I think palm is doing the right thing in taking their time to do it right, instead of trying to force some half-baked products to market and hoping they stand on their own.
RE: Glass half full
freakout @ 7/19/2009 8:58:28 PM # Q
+1
RE: Glass half full
SeldomVisitor @ 7/20/2009 3:00:48 AM # Q
> ...it will take a couple years...

Yes, that is about the right timeframe for the API subset (that would be developed by these new Palm employees whenever they're hired) to become available.

RE: Glass half full
SeldomVisitor @ 7/20/2009 3:04:02 AM # Q
> ...I think palm is doing the right thing in taking their time to do
> it right, instead of trying to force some half-baked products to
> market and hoping they stand on their own.

I think the target that Palm has been/is aiming at has been moving around as time passes and Palm sees who is and is not buying their product. You give Palm WAY too much credit for future-thought when everything about the company has been screaming "reactive" rather than "proactive" for years but ESPECIALLY recently.

RE: Glass half full
jca666us @ 7/20/2009 4:46:00 AM # Q
>I tend to think people have unreasonable expectations for Palm these days.

f they do, that's because the nature of the market has changed the past few years - iphone has raised everyone's expectations.

>They shouldn't expect webOS to immediately be fully mature. it will take a
>couple years (as its taken iPhoneOS a couple years to mature - and it as
>an operating system isn't nearly as sophisticated).

Some differences, I would say webos and iphone's os are of about equal sophistication.

>I think palm is doing the right thing in taking their time to do it right, instead
>of trying to force some half-baked products to market and hoping they
>stand on their own.

Palm should already have had this in development already - if they had been looking at the one major thing that's been pushing iphone sales - games.

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'Optimize and extend low level graphics drivers'

zuhmir @ 7/20/2009 3:58:20 AM # Q
So they already exist? just need to optimize?
RE: 'Optimize and extend low level graphics drivers'
SeldomVisitor @ 7/20/2009 4:15:25 AM # Q
The chip itself undoubtedly has software available but it si doubtful the needs of Palm (like low-power requirements) were taken into account by those software developers.
RE: 'Optimize and extend low level graphics drivers'
bhartman34 @ 7/21/2009 10:26:49 PM # Q
The chip itself undoubtedly has software available but it si doubtful the needs of Palm (like low-power requirements) were taken into account by those software developers.

You may be right, but I think the version of Linux they're using is already configured for embedding into devices (e.g., routers, etc). I would think that would mean that the low-power requirement would be built-in.

I think a tougher nut to crack would be the low-level graphics drivers. That doesn't seem to be a built-in capability with this configuration (with the other devices, I mean). And the fact that there are people being hired as graphics engineers tells me that you're not going to just slap a sandard kernel module into the Pre and get it running Crysis...

RE: 'Optimize and extend low level graphics drivers'
CFreymarc @ 7/26/2009 12:43:18 AM # Q
The TI OMAP chip inside the Pre is a prodigy child stuck in a tower. There is so much that can be done with it where there are not legitimate third party APIs - let alone native code! - to do this right. I just hope they are not planning to send out a kernal patch where you can only do graphics from some mark-up language scripting. That would be just sad.
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