On Thursday, Palm announced the public release of its Mojo SDK to all developers interested in creating apps for its WebOS and launched a new developer portal, complete with FAQs, forums, and all the associated documentation for the SDK. In addition, the company said it will open the app submission process to all developers this fall and new applications are already in the pipeline from its early access program. Sweet, sweet news for both developers and Palm Pre owners.
Several of them are still around. At least half a dozen are trying to prove what many doubt--that there's a market for a virtual desktop with built-in applications and widgets, plus communications and collaboration tools, all served via the browser.
Among those CNET News reached, Glide OS is now the biggest, with about 1 million users, followed by Desktoptwo with 200,000 users, Ghost with 180,000 users, Icloud with 170,000 users, Startforce with 70,000 users, and Cloudo with 30,000 users.
Though the numbers aren't overwhelming, they indicate at least some interest.
On the other hand, a couple of Webtops we've reported on, Jooce and AjaxWindows, appear to be out of commission, or at least their Web sites are. And one of the best known, You OS, called it quits last summer.
Yet those still standing believe their time is now slowly coming.
"What we've noticed in the last four months is that with virtually no media coverage, we've had a steady upsurge and it's purely viral," said Donald Leka, founder and CEO of TransMedia, which runs the Glide OS.
But Ray Valdes, research director at Gartner Research, is skeptical.
"I have not seen growth or traction among the Webtop companies over the past year," Valdes said. "From a long-term perspective, I don't see any change to current market trends, which are that Webtop ventures are not gaining market traction."
Still, investors are watching the Webtop market closely.
"We have a tremendous interest from venture capital," Leka said, underlining that TransMedia so far is wholly angel-funded. "Repeatedly we get calls on a weekly basis."
And Daniel Arthursson, CEO and founder of Icloud developer Xcerion, said his company just raised new capital from new and existing investors, including Northzone Ventures, which invested $10 million in 2007.
Though the Webtops are similar, each has its own approach.… Read more
For all the discussion of the importance of transparency and openness on the Web today, it's very telling that the world's fastest-growing mobile platform may also be the most proprietary.
Apple wins rave reviews (including from me) on its technology but certainly not for its commitment to sharing its innovations with the world...unless, of course, you fork over $299 and sign a two-year mobile service commitment.
Indeed, Apple has earned the dubious honor of being more closed than Microsoft.
And yet, as Marc Hedlund reveals over on the O'Reilly Radar, application growth for the iPhone dwarfs … Read more
Back at GSMA 2009, Adobe Systems announced that it would bring Flash Player 10 to a number of smartphones in 2010, and it looks like the company is making good on its promise.
In a Q2 audio press release, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen confirmed that Adobe will release a beta version of Flash Player 10 in October for a number of smartphone browsers, including Windows Mobile, Google Android, Palm WebOS, and Symbian. In addition, Narayen said ARM, Nvidia, Broadcom, Intel, Texas Instruments, and Qualcomm are currently optimizing the player for their products.
Obviously, this is great news for smartphone owners, … Read more
Hey Palm Pre owners, if you haven't heard by now, there's a little present waiting for you on your smartphone. Palm has pushed out an over-the-air update for your downloading pleasure that brings a number of feature enhancements to the Pre.
The company has posted a full feature list of WebOS 1.0.3 on its support site, but some highlights include:Non-SSL Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) mail servers are now supported. Events created in your Google calendar (either in Calendar on your phone or in Google online) that contain a symbol or accented character in the event name … Read more
With the Palm Pre successfully launched, the next question on some people's mind is when the WebOS SDK will be released so they can get more apps for the smartphone and we now have an answer--sort of.
On Friday, Palm updated its Developer Network blog to let users know that while its eager to open up the SDK to a wider audience, the software and developer services simply aren't ready to support this yet. Their goal is to release the SDK by the end of summer.
In the short term, Palm said it will expand its early-access program … Read more
Just about everyone knows the iPhone--and perhaps also that it runs on Apple's operating system--though the phone only has about 10 percent market share among smartphones. Far fewer know the name of the most widely used mobile operating system, which holds nearly 50 percent of the market: Symbian.
As recently as 2007, Symbian had 70 percent share. Market share has been lost mainly because of the iPhone with itsOS X, and to BlackBerry devices running on RIM's Blackberry operating system.
To find out how Symbian plans to strike back, CNET News met last week with David Wood, "catalyst and futurist" at the Symbian Foundation.
He revealed that the company has no plans for its own app store, but explained how Symbian plans to make it easier for developers to negotiate with several stores, like the Nokia Ovi Store, which got off to a bumpy start last week. On Tuesday, a developer's Web site for the new open-source Symbian went public.
He also explained the influence Nokia is likely to have on the Symbian OS.
But first he made it clear that the U.K.-based company now is growing aggressively, with the expansion happening largely at its Foster City, Calif., office.
"We have 72 employees today and intend to grow to a bit less than 200," he said. "Many will be in the Silicon Valley, in part to tap into the skills here." … Read more
Palm's comeback attempt rests squarely on the notion that it has found a better way to manage your complicated digital life.
Ever since its January coming-out party at the Consumer Electronics Show, Palm has generated buzz for the Pre unlike any other phone released since Apple's iPhone arrived in June 2007 (that includes impressive phones such as Research in Motion's BlackBerry Bold and HTC's G1 Android phone.) The two phones will be forever compared--not just because of their consumer-oriented styles and emphasis on gesture-based user interfaces, but because of the very real enmity between the proud … Read more
Palm is ready to let the world get its hands on the software development kit for WebOS, its next-generation mobile operating system.
At the Web 2.0 Expo on Wednesday, Palm's Michael Abbott announced that the company is ready to let developers start playing with its Mojo SDK, until now restricted to a few dozen select invitees.
He also showed how developers can tap into the messaging stream at the bottom of a Palm Pre using a Palm-hosted notifications service, and provided a link to Palm's past with the announcement of an emulator that will let WebOS users … Read more
This was originally posted at ZDNet's Between the Lines.
Wall Street analysts, still upbeat about the Pre's prospects, are beginning to fall in love with Palm.
These folks are betting that demand for the Pre--and the WebOS that rides shotgun--will be strong enough to make Palm a strong market player again. However, if you follow the money, it's clear that Palm doubters abound.
Simply put, Palm garners Wall Street kudos even as much stronger companies, such as Research In Motion, fall out of favor. According to Thomson Reuters data, there are eight analysts rating Palm shares … Read more