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  1. sam1am's Avatar
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       #1  
    I have learned the following from an undisclosed source who may or may not work for Palm:

    Palm themselves seem unsure if they will allow the side loading of Applications, however it is clear that the investors do not want there to be a way to install applications other than through the revenue generating app store.

    At this point, it looks like the only officially supported way to sideload apps will be through the SDK, once it's released. It will have instructions and an easy way to install apps for the purpose of testing.

    Given this information, the only realistic way to distribute apps outside of the app store would be to write a standardized installer that uses the SDK on the back end but makes it user friendly to install applications. What a disappointment. Someone should educate the investors that a closed app system will mean more revenue in the short term, but will hurt the brand and ability to compete in the long term.

    Recommended reading (especially for Palm's investors): :: The Future of the Internet — And How to Stop It
  2. #2  
    why would you be opposed to only distributing apps through the app store? or (from consumer perspective) why would you want apps that isn't from the app store?

    just curious as to why you, or others, think this is such a dissappointment.

    if they don't censor/filter/limit the apps that can be in the store, then i dont have any major problems with the app store only distribution if there is a way for me to load my own apps personally.

    i dont mind them making money off of it, but i would not be too pleased if they have demands apps have to generate revenue or that they won't let certain apps be distributed. if that happens, then i would be very opposed.

    why are others opposed?
  3. atlanta's Avatar
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    #3  
    Its all about money my friend.
  4. #4  
    If an app is free, how is it about money? Besides, what is wrong with it being about money?

    The app store model has a lot of value for developer and users alike. It provides developers with an easy marketing, distribution and sales mechanism. Palm deserves a reasonable cut of application sales for that service. As a developer, I have no problem with this arrangement.

    End users get a no hassle way to get free or paid apps that have been put through a reasonable testing process. It's better than having to get your apps from a variety of sources and potentially ending up with buggy or even malicious code.

    If you want amateur homebrew apps and hacks, then you are free to root your phone or sideload with the SDK. Neither is terribly difficult.
  5. sam1am's Avatar
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       #5  
    I am not opposed to distributing apps through the app store, I am only opposed to that being the only method available. Closing off other methods hurts developers and it hurts consumers. It benefits Palm and it benefits Sprint. Go to that link I posted in the original entry and read just the introduction to that book.

    Closed application distribution hurts consumers by limiting the types of apps that can be distributed. Just look at the iPhone app store - everything from religious applications, to ebook reading applications, to games, to music applications, to browsers, to emulators have been rejected for various reasons. The iPhone can NEVER become anything beyond Apple's limited vision for it because they simply won't allow people to truly use the platform. Do you think Apple/Palm/Sprint/AT&T would ever allow a tethering application? Or an SMS gateway that allows you to avoid costly SMS fees? Not likely.

    The develop gets hurt for the same reason. Recently a guy spent an entire year building a commodore 64 emulator. He even got appropriate licensing for the platform and game packs. After his year of hard work, Apple rejected his application from the app store for arbitrary reasons. They don't care about developers any more than they have to to sell more phones and more applications. This guy has no other means to distribute his application legally. He has no hope to recover his investment.

    Computers are what they are today because they were built to be open. The original Apple II booted to a command prompt waiting for instructions. Apple didn't start moving Apple II computers until someone wrote the first spreadsheet software - VisiCalc - which Apple didn't even know about. The thing that sold their computers was OUTSIDE OF THEIR VISION. The thing that made computer ubiquitous in our world today was the fact that they were open - anyone could do anything with them regardless of what the manufacturer thought about it.

    More control and less freedom will stagnate development. Period. Without the ability to distribute your applications freely, your phone is just an appliance. It's a really nice typerwriter that can only ever do what Palm/Apple designed it to do. It's BAD BAD BAD news for everyone involved. I believe that in a totally free market and all things equal, any non open platform will eventually fail. Look at the closed versions of the internet like compuserve, aol, and prodigy. Each one fell to the open internet which was created by the government without a revenue model or concern for subscriber numbers.

    By handing over the rights to your hardware to Palm or Apple or any other company, you give up your freedom. In return you get a little bit of security and the knowledge that Palm has tested the app for stability. Simple community reviews can serve this purpose. As Benjamin Franklin said "He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither." I can install any application on my computer without a security risk, so a balance can be achieved.

    Don't let anyone tell you what you can do with your device.

    Like I said, I'm not against the app store. I think it's great and a wonderful way to distribute and install applications. However, there are going to be instances when you want to distribute an app that your carrier or manufacturer won't like (usually ones that give you more freedom). There are also cases where the app store model does not fit the developer's business model. For these cases, platforms should be wide open to alternatives.

    Any platform that is not will eventually die. So while it might afford them a little extra revenue in the short run, it will hurt their brand and their ability to compete in the long run. It's a really sad thing and a loss for the consumer.
  6. #6  
    Don't be so dramatic. Quoting Franklin is a bit much. Anyone can install anything they want on their phone by rooting or just using the SDK which is leaked now and will soon be available to anyone that wants it. Also, they are free to buy any phone from any carrier. No one's freedom is in danger.
  7. #7  
    What are you finding rigorous about the approval process? I will be submitting some apps in the coming months and I'm curious to know.
  8. #8  
    wow, what a speech. i have to agree with Blubble, it's not BAD BAD BAD like the world is going to end and Palm is coming to burn your house down. please be less preachy and more real here.

    your scenario above is purely based on the assumption that palm will block/disapprove/filter/censor apps because apple has done so. I'm not saying they won't, but right now we don't know yet what will be in app store and what won't. so until then, let's not damn them to hell for something they haven't done...yet

    and right now there is other means of loading apps, so it's not like palm has blocked that. those other means (rooting or using the SDK) seem rather appropriate to me considering they take some form of tech-savvy to do. that means that only the ones that are willing to take the risk, or the ones that have the knowledge to deal with the consequences can be the ones to install apps that don't get approved (presumably) for the app store. if someone make an app that doesn't get approved for the app store, there's probably a reason, and if so and the developer really wants to distribute it, they can. and the people that really want to use can figure it out. whats so bad with that?
  9. nerp's Avatar
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    #9  
    Told ya.
  10. nerp's Avatar
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    #10  
    [from sambao21]... if someone make an app that doesn't get approved for the app store, there's probably a reason, and if so and the developer really wants to distribute it, they can. and the people that really want to use can figure it out. whats so bad with that?
    It's an unnecessary barrier to commerce. You are essentially saying that ONE company can sell homogenized milk in sterile jars; but, if you really don't like the homogenization process or have a moral problem with the idea that the company doesn't recycle the jars - you have an option: Get a cow, milk it, put the milk in a recyclable paper carton and take it home with you. Someone will sell you the ability to do this ... but since it's HARD to do, less people will bother and most will simply distrust the whole process.
  11. squeff's Avatar
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    #11  
    My concern with an app-store-only approach has to do with backlog. When things ramp up, I can see it taking weeks or even months for Palm to approve an app for the store. The delay is releasing the SDK (officially) is just one indicator that Palm just isn't prepared (yet).

    I can see it now: there's a bug in a piece of software. The author fixes it quickly, but Palm's so backlogged that the fixed version can't be approved for several weeks. With a "sidestepping" approach, a software author can fix a bug and release it to everyone in a matter of hours.

    I'm all for an app catalog/store, but Palm needs to be able to move new release from submission to publishing in a matter of days. And updates need to be approved same day.

    And Palm needs to be able to keep this up, whether they get 2 submission or several hundred in a day.
  12. #12  
    Bottom Line: If Palm doesn't allow side-loading I'll be jumping ship in 11 months when I can get a new phone and I'll probably be looking at the G2 or whatever the newest Android phone is. I (mostly) agree with sam1am.

    I understand Palm is trying to "protect" consumers by filtering everything through the app store, but they should still allow power users to install whatever they want at their own risk
  13. #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by sambowatkins View Post
    Bottom Line: If Palm doesn't allow side-loading I'll be jumping ship in 11 months when I can get a new phone and I'll probably be looking at the G2 or whatever the newest Android phone is. I (mostly) agree with sam1am.

    I understand Palm is trying to "protect" consumers by filtering everything through the app store, but they should still allow power users to install whatever they want at their own risk
    As long as they allow the developer mode install, I'm fine with it. Most software will be in the App store. However, I would want an amendment to the SDK agreement. I will not distribute apps outside of the App Catalog, UNLESS I AM PROHIBITED FROM DISTRIBUTING THEM IN THE APP CATALOG FOR WHATEVER REASON.

    If Palm becomes Apple, they will either completely lose developers or create a black market that allows what they are trying to do in the first place. Or SDK developers will have to have an alter ego to push non-App Catalog apps out there.
  14. WhoAmI's Avatar
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    #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by sambao21 View Post
    why would you be opposed to only distributing apps through the app store? or (from consumer perspective) why would you want apps that isn't from the app store?...why are others opposed?
    For me, it's a matter of ownership. I bought the device from the company - I'm not renting it! As a result, I think I should have the right to load anything I want onto my hardware. Just like on my computer, where I can load any piece of software (or modify my OS), I believe I should not have to be forced to use Palms method of installing just so they can get more money out of me.

    Personally, I'm a huge fan of cutting out the middle-man for marketing reasons. It means I pay less and the developer gets more! I don't need Palm to police what I install on my Pre!
    --WhoAmI--
    Sprint Palm Treo 700p with MR --> Palm Pre

    T-Money is now available for the webOS! Financial planning has never been easier.
  15. #15  
    One of the biggest reason to allow applications outside the app catalog is for businesses who want to install custom business software. It would be so easy to allow your corporate IT developers who are already working on web development to make custom applications for your deployed Pres. That seems to be one of the ideal use cases for webOS. These same companies aren't going to put all their software in the app catalog.

    But the SDK might be sufficient. The IT staff at that company would just have to load up their corporate applications on all of their deployed phones.

    I can see Palm making this calculation and choosing to disallow sideloading apps. It makes a good bit of sense from their point of view. It looks like the homebrew scene will be robust, since rooting is not too hard, but I think it will be hard to monetize that from a developer's point of view, since it will be a minority of users who are rooting their Pres.

    Having said that, consumers sure like Apple's app store. The one-stop shopping is really nice. If Palm doesn't botch the approval process like Apple has done, perhaps this way won't be so bad. It just means that developers will have to trust Palm, and that's not a comfortable place to be.
    Palm III-->Handspring Visor-->Sony Clie PEG-NR70-->no PDA -->Palm Treo 755p-->Palm Pre-->HP Veer
  16. #16  
    One positive note is that Palm has specifically stated that unlike Apple, they will not reject applications because of duplicate functionality. They addressed this issue directly to members of their early access program.

    Apple has rejected a lot of good apps because they supposedly duplicated the functionality of the iPhone's built in apps. They have used this stupid excuse pretty widely to reject good apps that really didn't duplicate their any functionality.
  17. #17  
    Palm also said that they would allow homebrew.
  18. #18  
    There does seem to have been a recent policy shift. I just hope that they are not embracing the Apple model now that Ed is out of the pciture.
  19. sam1am's Avatar
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       #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by Blubble View Post
    Don't be so dramatic. Quoting Franklin is a bit much. Anyone can install anything they want on their phone by rooting or just using the SDK which is leaked now and will soon be available to anyone that wants it. Also, they are free to buy any phone from any carrier. No one's freedom is in danger.
    This is a very big deal. The world of smartphones is new - as it is just recently hitting the real mainstream (the tipping point). Policies made now will determine the future of these devices.

    Imagine if the Apple II came out and Apple said that they would only allow applications that they wanted. Seriously - think about it for a minute. We would be living in an entirely different world right now. The personal computer was a success because it was open to whatever you wanted. You never had to buy a computer that was locked down only to compuserve or that couldn't run a competitor's spreadsheet application.

    If someone submits an application to Palm that goes against their business interest, they will deny it. It's not a question of "if" it's a question of "when." If someone submits an application that Palm's investors or Sprint doesn't like, it's the same story.

    I'm not saying that closed application stores will kill the smartphone, I'm just saying they will significantly stagnate development and they will hurt in the end the ability to compete of any smartphone platform that uses them. It's what everything in technology has come down to, time and time again. Developers won't always want to give away 30% of their revenue or invest time into programming on a platform where it is unknown if their apps will even get approved for distribution.

    If the iPhone or the Pre ever becomes as ubiquitous as say, Windows, there is no way they will be allowed to have exclusive rights on distributing applications. It will be seen as a monopoly and anti-competitive. Just like all the anti-trust stuff that Microsoft is constantly facing. They are not allowed to block competing browsers anymore than mobile platforms should be able to block alternative application distribution methods.

    App store exclusivity benefits the consumer in no way, and only serves to stifle innovation. Seeing as how everyone in a few years will have a smartphone (dumbphones will be a thing of the past soon enough), I'd say the precedents we set now are pretty damn important. It's not just a toy, it's the future of how we compute and communicate.

    Do you want a really nice typerwriter (an appliance?) or do you want a mobile computer? That's the question.
  20. #20  
    I've only mentioned this to a few people, but I haven't intended for it to be a secret, it's just not my top priority at this very moment.

    There is already the beginning of several end-user applications that will be created to allow side loading of applications through the SDK-like method with novacom. They are java applications build on top of the novacom libraries distributed by Palm. The first one to be completed will be the GUI side loader, followed by an auto-rooter, and then an on-phone application installer that can be configured to pull downloads from multiple feeds. If a company wants to have their own feed with automatic updating of their users phones, that will easily be possible through this method.

    The location of this project is AltCatalog dot com, but there is only a stub in place at the moment. I have a coworker who just moved back to town who needs help building a couple of new bedrooms in his house, so that is my priority right now. When that project is done, I will be back on the Pre Alt Catalog with all of my free time until a usable portal is established. This direction is not about money, but rather creating a way for people to do the things that they want to do without Palm or anyone else sticking their fingers in the pie.

    Chris
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