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Developer Pans Lack of OpenGL in Mojo SDK

A new blog post from seasoned iPhone developer Craig Hunter details some of the shortcomings in the new webOS Mojo software development kit beta. Primarily the author is dissatisfied that it does not yet offer access to OpenGL, despite the Pre's hardware supporting it, which is nearly a necessity for more robust and complex games.

The developer also feels the low sampling rate for raw accelerometer data, which he feels is too low for even casual game usage. The current SDK provides for a 4 Hz sampling rate (four samples per second), while the iPhone can offer up to 100 Hz.

This wouldn't be so bad for Palm if we were still in 2007, but in the age of sophisticated iPhone native apps here in 2009, web apps just don't cut it anymore. With such amazing software capabilities flourishing on the iPhone, Palm can't afford to wait a year while they make the transition from web apps to native apps in their SDK. Palm might have had a chance against the 2007 Apple SDK, but not the 2009 version. Not even close. With this limitation, webOS will not be taken seriously by consumers who place importance on games or sophisticated third party apps. The iPhone has raised their expectations too high.

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Bad news...

zuhmir @ 7/18/2009 3:40:49 PM # Q
Once more, we have to hang our hopes on hackers...
RE: Bad news...
deucalion @ 7/18/2009 6:58:46 PM # Q
I doubt it; if you want to sell a game through official channels, you'll have a hard time relying on illegal modifications of the system (no matter how trivial they may be, e.g. through changing a few configuration files to enable certain features.)

I really hope that Palm will release an SDK like Androids "NDK" (native development kit, as they call it) to allow for using system APIs only exposed via C/C++ header files or something similar for developers that need it.

I wouldn't mind if they restricted that through a NDA and make more or less heavy restrictions on how much you may use (to limit the risk of too energy intense usage and making the system unstable) as long as you may develop real native applications with such a development kit.

RE: Bad news...
LiveFaith @ 7/18/2009 7:38:40 PM # Q
Hackers will have a hard time changing the sample rate of the accelerometer if that's what the hardware is sending. 1/4 second sounds extremely cheesy to me. Hopefully this is a limitiation / error in the SDK dox and they really do have decent hardware in this area.
Pat Horne
RE: Bad news...
zuhmir @ 7/18/2009 11:15:37 PM # Q
I never meant illegal. Was Lightspeed for Palm OS (Overclocking) an illegal app? There are many legitimate programs for Palm OS that weren't programed with the SDK.
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I cannot teach him. The boy has no patience.

freakout @ 7/18/2009 7:47:49 PM # Q
What did he expect? Mojo and webOS aren't finished, and everybody knows games aren't really catered for yet. OpenGL access is but a software issue. (Mitch Allen mentions in the comments on the Rough Cuts webOS book that Palm is working on graphics APIs.) Dunno about accelerometer polling but I bet there's a setting somewhere that can be cranked up for that, too.

Anyone who buys a Pre or any other webOS device right now is taking a bet on future potential, just like any early adopters.

RE: I cannot teach him. The boy has no patience.
jca666us @ 7/18/2009 9:20:50 PM # Q
>everybody knows games aren't really catered for yet.

Weren't you the one who said javascript was fast enough for video games - lol!

>OpenGL access is but a software issue.

LOL - so is the slow performance of webos.

>Dunno about accelerometer polling but I bet there's a setting somewhere that can
>be cranked up for that, too.

We'll see...

>Anyone who buys a Pre or any other webOS device right now is taking a bet on
>future potential, just like any early adopters.

They're also betting on the company being around too...

RE: I cannot teach him. The boy has no patience.
SeldomVisitor @ 7/19/2009 4:07:44 AM # Q
> ...Dunno about accelerometer polling but I bet there's a setting
> somewhere that can be cranked up for that, too...

Palm didn't set the update rate to 4 times per second because they wanted to irritate game developers.

Though undoubtedly configurable, I'm sure they had their very good, possibly "phone" reasons, to keep the update frequency really low.

Twiddling hardware config variables can have interesting side-effects.

RE: I cannot teach him. The boy has no patience.
freakout @ 8/10/2009 8:21:38 PM # Q
As usual, the hackers are on top of it. You can find the code to set the accelerometer polling at whatever interval you like here:

http://www.webos-internals.org/wiki/Application:AccelService

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Empty Criticisms

DennisOS2 @ 7/20/2009 10:15:53 AM # Q
Another Apple/iPhone developer that believes the world revolves around his interests. Some grow up and do not feel compelled to play games or fart sounds on their smartphones. Most individuals just looking for a utilitarian smartphone, with no fruit-centric bias, believe that the Pre offers serious functionality in its first iteration ......... with the generally held knowledge that it is not close to reaching its full potential. All the rather weak criticisms here point out that its time for the naysayers to move along. Don't you iPhone developers have more adolescent sounds to develop?

Are there Pre shortcomings? Of course. But those cited as a result of this article are way, way down on the list of those looking at or buying Pre's
Dennis -==- Philly

RE: Empty Criticisms
atrizzah @ 8/8/2009 9:48:06 AM # Q
Please. Stop apologizing for Palm's missteps. There are a lot of users interested in these phones as gaming platforms, so to brush them off out of hand is just stupid. The iPhone already has it's following, so now, it's Palm's responsibility to match or outdo them, in each domain.
Peace Out
Alan
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