Palm opens App Catalog for developers; other announcements

Earlier today, Palm announced several major improvements to its webOS platform, as well as adding a number of 3D games to its App Catalog for customers to purchase. The move will help it compete greater with Apple's App Store, which already features many 3D based games from big publishers.

The first announcement, and arguably the biggest one, is that Palm has now opened up its App Catalog for developers. The news, listed here on Palm's website, is big for consumers, developers, and Palm itself, as it will now be able to use its webOS platform to further compete with other companies. The press release stated, "We're thrilled to open the doors of a program that offers mobile developers unparalleled freedom and choice in how they distribute and market applications," said Katie Mitic, senior vice president, Product Marketing, Palm, Inc. "The combination of our highly accessible web-based platform, groundbreaking integration opportunities and open, flexible distribution program makes Palm webOS the best place for developers to create the next generation of innovative mobile applications."

To provide added incentive to the new offering, Palm announced a Hot Apps bonus program, which works as follows: "The developers of the top free and paid applications each will earn a $100,000 bonus; in addition, 40 developers will receive $10,000 (20 each for free and paid), with 400 developers awarded $1,000 (200 each for free and paid)." Those who have won said bonus program will be notified during June.

The next announcement was that a PDK (plugin developer kit) would be released at the Game Developers Conference in March this year, which will allow developers to get their own games onto the webOS platform. This'll be in addition to the other games made available, listed below from Palm's press release.

"Need for Speed™ Undercover" (EA Mobile)
"The Sims™ 3" (EA Mobile)
"MONOPOLY™" (EA Mobile)
"Asphalt 5: Elite Racing" (Gameloft)
"Let's Golf!" (Gameloft)
"Glyder 2" (Glu Mobile)
"X-Plane" (Laminar Research)

Five other mobile games were also introduced: EA Mobile's "Tetris®," "Sudoku," and "SCRABBLE®," and Gameloft's "The Oregon Trail" and "Brain Challenge."

Lastly, Engadget reported that Palm announced the rather major news that all webOS devices would be getting video recording and Flash 10.1 during February. The upgrades will come as a part of webOS 1.4, featuring video emailing, MMS, Facebook integration and the ability to upload to YouTube.

It's been a big day for the company, with many bigger ones to come yet. Keep an ear out for the improvements as they hit over the coming months.

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