Mostly true. They could change it but it would kill off a bunch of apps in the process.
Originally Posted by fernandez21
Also, the reason it has taken so long for them to have even hinted at any of those aforementioned APIs is that they have been working on the underlying system for years. Then they finally had a release but it wasn't perfect. They had relatively little cash and they couldn't afford to go spending it wildly.
You'll notice they announced the camera and mic APIs in April, around the time when Palm was secretly put up for sale. This is probably because they figured they'd go all in at that point and get as much done with their short cash supply as they could so they could go any route necessary.
Additionally, they can't just let any app use the camera or microphone APIs at any time. They have to put preventative measures in place for some things, and it seems they did (if you look at the webOS doctor thread, I posted a finding where there will be a dashboard notification letting you know that an app is recording video or audio). Not to mention the fact that with webOS 1.4.5 and lower there is no access to the USB partition for apps (because of an oversight by Palm engineers with regards to the over-the-air update) unless you use the webOS doctor or webOS Internals' fstab patch. And not to mention Palm has said nothing publicly about whether or not apps will be able to write files outside of a PDK component, though having a camera app kind of requires that you can write files (because there will obviously be some apps that use camera APIs and mic APIs for things other than identifying songs; probably an updated version of that time lapse maker, probably a camera app that lets you snap a shot and edit the photo then save it, probably a video app that lets you add stuff inside it, maybe even a better camera app, you never know).
So these things can take some time to make. And they take even longer to make them work better. Look how long it took them to make the video camera addition to the camera app. Just goes to show how long it can take to make these things work out in the best possible way.