updated 08:25 am EST, Tue December 16, 2008
Palm Software Store
Palm late yesterday signaled the surprise launch of the Palm Software Store, its own take on OS-native stores such as Apple's App Store and Google's Android Market. The store is divided into familiar categories for entertainment and productivity apps but is uniquely cross-platform; a similar interface is available both for Palm OS devices such as the Centro as well as the company's Windows Mobile-based Treo models. Free apps are given their own section independent of category.
The launch is also atypical in the use of third-party firm PocketGear to manage the store instead of complete operation by Palm. Allowing the outside company to run the service, however, is said to have helped the company offer over 5,000 apps on launch from approximately 1,500 developers. About 1,000 of those are free, Palm says.
Apple's own store offers over 10,000 apps but is helped by having launched five months earlier.
Questions have nonetheless been raised regarding the ability to attract further development. MobileCrunch notes that Palm is sharing the concept of a flat royalty sharing model with the iPhone-oriented store but, unlike Apple, is taking a larger 50 percent cut of revenue versus just 30 percent for iPhone apps. Palm's revenue is split between itself and PocketGear.
The launch of a software store is particularly important for Palm, which has struggled to hold on to market share in the US in the face of competition with Apple and Research in Motion and thus has garnered less support for its own choices of operating systems. The company is widely expected to launch its new Linux-based OS and a matching smartphone at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in January.