June 21, 2009

Cut Palm Some Slack

Filed under: Groundwork — mikecane @ 10:58 am

An update on the early access program and the SDK.

There’s a hue and cry over the webOS SDK not yet being available to all.

This is what I posted at Palm’s Developer Blog:

I suspect Palm is caught between these tensions:

1) webOS 1.x is not final. We’ve seen Comments in code that seems to reflect that.

2) webOS 1.x will have at least one more — if not two — OTA updates that will greatly change APIs.

3) With those APIs being changed, it would create a hellacious developer support situation for Palm.

4) The bottom line of that would be wasting the time of developers and possibly alienating them too.

It is hard to be patient and I find the delay odd too, but I suspect the above is what is happening behind the scenes.

It’s incredible to see people comparing the less than a month old Palm Pre to the several years old Apple iPhone, comparing webOS 1.x to iPhone OS 3.x, comparing the App Catalog to the App Store.

For all the current shortcomings and unfinished bits of webOS, I think its full potential won’t be realized until the SDK has been released and coders start taking advantage of it.

But that’s not to say Palm itself won’t keep adding to webOS too.

I tweeted to Palm last week that I expected a webOS update last week, most likely on Wednesday — the day Apple was making the iPhone OS 3.0 Update available — to blunt some of the iPhone’s impact. (Unfortunately, Search Twitter is wonky and I cannot retrieve this tweet to link to it.) The update came on Friday instead, the day iPhone 3GS was released. I then tweeted to Palm to debug faster. (Another tweet I cannot retrieve.)

Palm has a lot on its hands. Not just the current Palm Pre, webOS, and dealing with the beta expansion of the SDK program, but also working with carriers for whatever follow-up webOS device is coming (such as the rumored EOS).

Cut Palm some slack, give them some time.

Here’s one thing to look forward to. Once the SDK released, there will be hundreds — if not well over a thousand — apps in the App Catalog by the end of this year. Developing for the Pre should happen with a speed no other smartphone platform can currently match.

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