Palm expands developer circle, announces emulator for old apps

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palm_logoPalm has made its webOS “Mojo” SDK more widely available, after releasing it some time ago to a select group of developers. You might want to check your email if you didn’t make the first cut. Of course, there’s other news that might just obsolete your ideas for a webOS app altogether: MotionApps will be releasing a program called “Classic,” which will emulate the old Palm apps — but it won’t be free. Still, it’s a good security blanket for those a little unsure about taking the plunge. What am I talking about, who’s afraid of switch from PalmOS?

Palm also mentioned some stuff about cloud services, but do you really want to know about that?

Check out the full press release below:

Palm Extends webOS Early Access Program for Developers

Company Reveals Expanded SDK Program, Plans for Integrated Cloud Services, and Palm OS Emulator Application from MotionApps at Web 2.0 Expo

Web 2.0 Expo San Francisco 2009

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Here at the Web 2.0 Expo, Palm, Inc. (Nasdaq: PALM) today revealed additional details regarding its developer program for the new Palm® webOS™ platform. In a keynote address, Palm’s senior vice president of Application Software and Services, Michael Abbott, said that Palm is expanding its early access program for the Palm Mojo Software Development Kit (SDK), and discussed the company’s plans for integrating cloud services into the new platform. Palm also today announced an application from MotionApps that will allow legacy Palm OS® applications to run on webOS devices.

The Mojo SDK, previously available only to a select group of partners, will be provided to a broader set of interested developers that apply for access to the program at the Palm Developer Network website (http://developer.palm.com). Access to the program initially will be limited as the tools and systems continue to be refined and improved, with general availability scheduled for later this year.

“Developers are an incredibly important part of the webOS ecosystem, and we’re eager to get the SDK into their hands,” said Michael Abbott, senior vice president, Application Software and Services, Palm, Inc. “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.”

With Mojo, developers have the ability to integrate their applications into core webOS functionality, such as linked contacts, layered calendars, multitasking, notifications and GPS capabilities.(1) webOS applications run natively on the device. They don’t depend on any server connection to run and can cache data locally. Providing developers with the freedom to integrate unique webOS functionality and services into their applications paves the way for a rich catalog of innovative offerings for webOS users.

Palm webOS is a new kind of mobile platform. Standard web technologies, such as HTML, JavaScript and CSS, are deeply integrated into the webOS architecture, enabling a much broader developer community to easily create compelling applications. The ability to customize webOS applications will appeal to developers and ultimately benefit consumers with a unique and differentiated user experience.

“webOS makes mobile application development incredibly easy – we were able to get a version of Pandora running in no time,” said Tom Conrad, chief technology officer, Pandora. “And because webOS has true multitasking capabilities, Pandora runs elegantly in the background while you’re using other applications. The unobtrusive notification bar lets you know what’s currently playing, and allows you to pause and play without having to go back into the application. It’s an incredibly powerful and flexible platform.”

“The webOS functionality and integration opportunities provide a richer experience for moviegoers on the go,” said Ted Hong, chief marketing officer for Fandango. “With Fandango’s webOS application, you can watch trailers and buy tickets, pick your showtime, which is automatically added to your calendar, then get directions to the theatre, and easily forward the showtime to friends or family. You can even create a reminder to let you know when a specific movie is opening so that you can buy tickets in advance on Fandango. The webOS technology helps further our goal of making moviegoing experience as convenient as possible.”(1)

Integrated Cloud Services

Palm also announced that it would deploy its first Palm branded cloud service. Cloud services are software resources provided over the Internet. These services can deliver direct benefits to the end user, such as giving them access to their favorite web applications, or can be incorporated by developers into their applications to enhance the end-user experience.

When the Mojo SDK is broadly released later this year, it will include a developer-facing offering called the Mojo Messaging Service, an XMPP publish/subscribe service. The Mojo Messaging Service is an elegant, standards-based way to exchange information over the Internet. When new information is available, it is “published” to the cloud and all interested parties who are subscribers are notified that new information is available. This will allow developers to push live content to their applications or services. The Mojo Messaging Service initially will have a limited feature set and service level that will evolve over time.

Palm OS Emulator Application

Palm also announced that MotionApps (www.motionapps.com) is creating an emulator application that will allow most Palm OS applications to run on webOS devices. The application, called “Classic,” will be available for purchase when the Palm Pre™ phone becomes available from Sprint in the first half of 2009, and gives users peace of mind as they transition to Palm’s new webOS.

Since Palm OS applications running in Classic won’t be able to leverage core webOS functionality, Palm is working with partners to ensure that popular Palm OS applications are made available on the webOS platform and are optimized to take advantage of everything it has to offer. In the meantime, the MotionApps Classic application will allow customers who have invested in the Palm OS platform to use Palm OS applications they’ve grown to love and depend upon on their new webOS devices.

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