Palm Shows Its Mojo, Opens Up Palm pre Developer Program

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At the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco, Palm took the wraps off important details of the developer program for its forthcoming Palm pre mobile device, expanding early access to its Mojo Software Development Kit so programmers can begin to create and port applications to its webOS operating system. If the iPhone has proven anything, it’s that a thriving third-party application community is now central to launching and expanding a mobile platform, and Palm wants to get developers working on its platform as soon as possible—although access to the developer program will initially be limited, with general availability coming later in 2009.

"Developers are an incredibly important part of the webOS ecosystem, and we’re eager to get the SDK into their hands," said Palm’s senior VP for application software and services Michael Abbott, in a statement. "Now that the SDK will be available to a broader base of developers, we think the enthusiasm for webOS will only grow and accelerate. We’re very excited to work with developers to make this unique development environment even better."

Palm also announced it will be deploying its own cloud-based messaging and application service, which will be able to offer users access to Web applications or offer cloud-based services to applications already installed on webOS devices.

Important features in Palm’s webOS include the Mojo Messaging Service, an XMPP push-capable messaging service that enables users to publish information to the cloud and have it delivered automatically to interested (or permitted) subscribers. Palm says the Mojo Messaging Service will start with a limited feature set and develop over time. WebOS will also feature an integrated database name Synergy that can pull information from multiple online sources, including services like Google, Facebook, and even Microsoft Exchange services, making it easy to keep on top of instant messaging and social networking services. Developers will also be able to integrate support for calendars, contacts, notifications, and GPS capabilities into their applications: programs will run natively on the device and can cache data locally.

Folk who rely on existing PalmOS applications also got some good news: MotionApps has announced it is working on a Palm OS emulator (dubbed "Classic") that will be offered for purchased with every Palm pre: although Classic won’t offer webOS-specific features, it will enable existing Palm users to move their applications to the pre once it becomes available later this year.

This marks the second release of an SDK for the Palm pre, following a much smaller private release in January; some developers are already showing apps for the Palm pre, including programs that can track flights, as well as apps from Fandango and Pandora.

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