Palm opens doors to WebOS applications

Palm on Tuesday announced it will allow developers to sell applications for its WebOS mobile platform without the need for a review by the company, and said it will drop program fees for open source developers.
WebOS is used in mobile devices such as the Palm Pre, which has shown strong sales for Palm since its introduction over the summer, and the Pixi, introduced last month in the US. It competes with mobile platforms such as Apple's iPhone, Google's Android, RIM's BlackBerry and the Symbian OS.
Since August, developers have been able to submit applications for consideration for the Palm App Catalog, the beta-test version of which went live on Tuesday. Starting December, Palm said it will officially launch its developer program, which will include an additional application sales option that bypasses the App Catalog and its review process.
Developers will pay a US$99 annual fee to participate in the developer program, and will receive 70 percent of gross revenues generated through application sales, Palm said.
For a fee of US$50, an application can be distributed via the App Catalog, which is built into WebOS devices and includes only software reviewed by Palm, the company said.
Palm will also allow developers to distribute their software themselves over the web. It will provide a sales transaction service and a unique URL for the application, allowing the application to be installed directly from the web. A self-certification process will enable developers to control the distribution and promotion of their products.
The US$99 program fee will be waived for open source developers. An application will be eligible for this if its source code is available to the public under one of the "commonly accepted" open source licenses, the company said.
The company also plans to set up a support program to help developers build, test distribute and receive feedback on their WebOS applications. This program will include crash logs and information on application usage.