Announced on the Palm Developer Network Blog, submissions are now being accepted for the Palm App Catalog, allowing entrepreneurs to show us what they can do on WebOS. They are accepting both free and paid apps with the minimum allowed pricing set at 99 ¢. Criteria for acceptance are:
Palm will accept apps into the beta test program based on the following criteria:
- Apps should be useful and engaging to users.
- They need to have an appealing design and user interface aligned with Palm UI guidelines.
- They are written specifically for webOS and not delivered through the browser.
- They leverage webOS platform and device capabilities, for example, notifications, multitasking/background processing, location services, accelerometer.
- They have acceptable performance and response time on the device; apps with slow UI response or sluggish performance will be rejected. Applications that consume excessive power on the device will also be rejected.
The former two seems pretty subjective, while the latter three seem intended to ensure a measure of quality in their initial offerings. I can appreciate that, though I suspect critics of Apple’s equally vague rules won’t cut them as much slack. Still, I think the important thing to keep in mind is that these new types of app marketplaces are still emerging and they’re figuring out the rules as they go.
What’s most interesting is that they’ve taken the plunge with 99 ¢ pricing. If you’ll recall, RIM only goes as low as $2.99 in their BlackBerry App World. Defenders cite that as a measure of quality control, but really it boils down to the economics of breaking even after PayPal takes their bite out of the sale. I assume Palm plans on taking a loss on sales of 99 ¢ apps, but they are right to absorb the cost in order to be competitive.
My only concern is how long they intend to maintain this limited beta test. The approach is similar to Apple’s initial rollout of their developer program, which is smart, but still puts them way behind the leader. I’m not sure if they’re right on pace or need to be more aggressive. Either way, I think they’re headed in the right direction.