Commentary

Palm Opens Catalog To Paid Apps

Palm Pre App Catalog

Palm today announced opening the doors to developers who want to sell apps via the handset maker's online storefront for the Pre. Developers can now start submitting apps for consideration in Palm's App Catalog e-commerce beta program kicking off in mid-September. As with other mobile app stores, developers will get a 70% cut of sales with Palm keeping the balance.

Palm says customers will be able to easily purchase applications using Visa and MasterCard credit cards. The full developer program is to roll out this fall with more details to follow. With the door open to developers, the big question now is will they come?

Palm and other companies seeking to challenge the App Store's dominance need their own legions of developers to fill their online stores with a batch of apps that will at least offer a credible alternative to the Apple juggernaut. After launching in June, the App Catalog still has just 32 (free) apps, according to mobile analytics firm Medialets. But those few have been downloaded 2.7 million times so far.

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Palm can only hope that the chance to make money off their mobile wares will spur developers to queue up for shelf space in its App Catalog. Why not offer developers an 80% or bigger cut as an incentive, at least initially, to get them to look beyond the iPhone to also create apps for the Pre? The key for Palm now is to build inventory quickly rather than benefiting from individual app sales.

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