Palm drops app submission fees for App Catalog, refunding current devs | webOS Nation

Palm drops app submission fees for App Catalog, refunding current devs 39

by Dieter Bohn Wed, 30 Jun 2010 9:38 am EDT

Emails are flooding in from developers that Palm is dropping the $50 fee that used to be required to get your app listed in the official app catalog. On top of that, they're refunding the fee that current developers have paid to get their apps submitted. Seriously. Emphasis ours below:

These are exciting times for Palm and our developer community. The Hot Apps promotion that we kicked off back in February is about to end with over 400 developers receiving a share of a million dollars. We recently launched the Summer Half Off promotion—a 50% discount for nearly every app in our catalog that was funded by Palm; developers still get their full earnings for each sale, but customers get half off. And we're just getting started.

In July, we're launching the new PDK Hot Apps promotion—another million dollars to developers, this time focused on the C/C++ apps that were excluded from the original Hot Apps promotion.

And we have one more program change that will benefit all developers. When we launched the developer program, we introduced a $50 per app fee to submit apps into our catalog. Effective immediately, we're waiving this fee and refunding to all developers any $50 fees collected in the past. If you're one such developer, you will see a credit in your PayPal account in the near future.

Thank you for being part of the webOS community. We will continue to evolve the Developer Program as together we build an incredible application catalog for customers.

If you have any questions about these upcoming changes, please contact us at

That, friends, is some serious support for developers and, to our eyes anyway, a clear sign that HP is serious about spurring app development on webOS in any way possible - including letting Palm burn some cash to get things moving

Thanks to everybody who sent this in!



oh no, brighthouse and dijit will produce spam even faster...

This is what I am afraid of, and from others we don't know about yet.

This begs the question: Can PreWare be written to only show applications from specific developers or to exclude some developers? No offense to good devs intended, but it is hard to get to the apps sometimes when you have to wade through a ton of "books" which are not apps anyway.

I doubt the official app catalog will ever do this, but maybe PreWare can?

the only downside to this is theres going to be a TON of crap apps now, brighthouse labs will have a field day.

So now we'll be seeing a lot more app spam, huh?

Uhoh... thank god for hide app vendor patch!

Heh, brighthouse-mind.

Think of how much money brighthouse just got refunded

My understanding is Brighthouse had most of their apps queued long before they started charging and Palm only trickled them out. They did not want to flood the catalog. Would be the only thing that made sense. If Brighthouse were paying for all their apps it would be a losing proposition. They are not even close to recovering their initial 50.00 on any of their apps.

Invasive Bamboo here. I don't like this move at all. This is a bad move. Having to pay that fee meant we had to carefully consider what we were doing and we tried to put out quality because of it. That fee kept app spammers out. Unless there is a better review process, this won't be of much help. On the positive side, many small developers, specially among the younger teen set, have a hard time to come up with the fee and this will encourage them. Vaslin and I have done a lot to push young teens and engineering students that want to learn about programming into WebOS for it's fun factor and low cost of entry. Outside of companies like Brighthouse and Appible being all excited, these young people should too. They can put out an app and maybe make a little money.

However it will do more to bury the good quality apps and it could be a terrible move. Let's hope for the best.

You sir couldve summed it all up in a few choice words....

SCREW BRIGHTHOUSE... Everyone Flood the app store with Your own quality apps... Heres your chance!!!

Not charging the fee doesn't mean Palm isn't monitoring their catalog. It just means there will be more submissions and Palm will have to step up the monitoring game. I'm sure the manager they hired isn't there for nothing.

I hate to say it, but we need Appible and Brighthouse labs. All those journalists do not have this device when they write about it, so they cannot comment on quality. That leaves size as the only remaining metric they can use. To compete, we need the numbers. To get the numbers, we need Brighthouse Labs.

It's crappy to me, but they have their function and I am sure they will fulfill it.

Hell yeah. More Brighthouse!!!!

honestly i don't think it means much. i doubt 50 bucks is what's keeping ESPN, Fidelity, CNN, Adobe, etc from making apps.

it may help the novelty developers and the smaller guys. fine but, no offense to them, those aren't really the apps i'm looking for. it may increase, the meaningless total number of apps but i don't think it will increase the interest by big companies.

I'm a developer and I have mixed emotions about this. Sure getting some 500$+ back is great, but at the same time the app catalog is going to be spammed with pure crap now. This will move my applications way down the list of apps. I think I would make more money by paying the 50$ then I would by submitting free apps.


Instead of refunding those $, how about giving away a million Pre handsets to increase the potential market size for apps?

And how about GIVING a developer phone to any developer that exceeds a threshold for app ratings, or downloads, etc. We need to attract iPhone developers, not just make it easier for the current spam champions to turn up the volume.

Now the development phone giveaway is seriously a great idea! Send that over to Chuq.

I don't know who that is. Feel free to take that idea anywhere you want. I hear that Verizon has a BUNCH of handsets available for such a promotion...

I think they should send out free Pre's with 2 years of service to all the top app developers for iOS and Android.

Also, they should give a free Pre to anyone trading in any Android or Apple Phone.

Maybe it should be the first 5 apps from any developer are free and the $50 after that.

hey hey invasive bamboo I like plumbers nightmare! It rox I'm stuck on lvl 13 tho lmao and yes I've reset several times and still can't figure out lvl 13 easy! Please help lol

Thanks ezTech!! Appreciate the compliment!

Is that medium level 13? I'll post a link to the solution later tonight in this thread when I get home from work. I get LOTS of emails for that puzzle.

I've posted the solution in the "webOS Apps and Software" forum.

maybe we should just click on the 3 and up star apps in the new catalog !!!!!! And I wish I had made a bunch of crappy apps the last few months so I could get paid back that would have been a great!!!!!!

palm just needs to organize the app catalog better so we don't need a patch to ignore brighthouse or dijit.

Brighthouse must be doing the Snoopy dance...

In the short term, this is bad for users of WebOS. In the long term, whether we like it or not, this is a great move for improving the chances of success for WebOS, since it will cause the app catalog total to come closer to the inflated totals that android and apple have,and the majority of pundits and consumers think more is always better.

In other words, this was inevitable if HP/Palm was going to be serious about competing in the mobile sphere.

I was amped the second I opened the email. I have 3 projects I've been working on for a couple months now and I haven't been really motivated to work on them since my one app that is in the catalog is doing ok but not great. I was hesitant to pour more development time into my other projects then drop $50 each to put them in the catalog. Now I'm going full-bore on all of them since the barrier is down.

Yeah, the potential for crap apps is huge now, but in the real world the raw number of apps sells hardware. Doesn't seem to matter if they're good, bad or indifferent.. if company X can claim they have 50,000 apps available versus a company with 10,000, more users will gravitate toward the bigger number. Sad state of affairs but an unfortunate reality.

Honestly, I find this to be great. To the people who are complainging about a flood of spam apps. Woop de do. Me as a paying customer for apps. If I want your app I'll find it. The app catalog is just a book of all the apps available. If that is your only means of advertising and showing your app off. Then its your own fault for no one finding your app. In the world of the web, you make your product stand out from the rest. There are other ways to browse the app catalog let alone get a link to download a app to your phone and palm has made sure of this.

I say bring it on.

As good as that sounds how you will find an application you have no idea exists?

Say for an example I create a pinball app. You love pinball but you never think to search for it on the app catalog. You will never purchase my application. However when I release my application it will be close to the top of the "What's New" section and have a ca better chance of seeing my app. Even though you never searched for it you still end up buying it because you love pinball.

Now picture you clicking on the "What's New" section and you see 20 fart apps, 20 horn apps and 100 e-books. My pinball app is now lost in a sea of crap apps and I will no longer get the publicity I used to get. Thus you will not buy my pinball app and my app sales will drop. Thus making me go back to other platforms that are much more profitable like Blackberry and the iPhone.

P.S. I don't have a pinball app I was just using that as an example.

Very true. And I see the point here.

But if you rely only on the app catalog to promote your app. Your exactly right, your sales will drop off and loose exposure. That is why you promote, advertise and push the knowlegde of your application.

There is more then 1 way to give someone a link to get your application. Create websites (free), Post on message boards (free), Get search engine exposure from doing the above (free), and Get app reviews on sites like precentral (free). Those are just a few of ways to show your app up above the rest of the spam.

Everyone has the own way of doing things. I barely go into the app catalog. So I'd never find your pinball app if all you did was use the app catalog to get your sales.

Spam or not, the app catalog WILL get huge. The current app catalog may not work very well for searching. But we know theres a improved version around the cornor.

Relying only on "what's new" as promo is then your fault (in hypothetical world of pinball app lost in crap apps).

Ever hear of Precentral Featured Apps?
here's a hint, its on the right side of the webpage. its free, and if you app is worth anything, the amazing precentral team will get it out to the masses (precentral readers at least). You can email other Pre sites like webOS roundup. I never go to app catalog and just scroll thru. takes too long!

I either search under a category (like games if I was interested in a pinball app) or if the app is worth trying, someone in the forums will mention it, it might make precentral blog, or The Guys might mention it in a PalmCast.

Please relax. Yes we need *Quality* Apps, but unfortunately, we also need Numbers too.

i've said it before but the palm app catalogue is open for a developer to create their own catalogue with whatever rules or rating system they wish.

there maybe some spam but this might make other delvelopers make apps now that it's not costing anything and maybe get our other wise lame app catalog more apps to compete with android and the iphone catalogs because right now other then games and a select few quality apps the rest is just useless to me and just makes me spend more on the apple catalog where they more apps I want.Guess it's about time palm pulls out all the stops

Everyone who is complaining about how this will make it more difficult to search for apps is willfuly ignoring the fact that app catalog expansion is a necessary and unavoidable consequence of being a player in the mobile market.

Your complaints are moot. Yes, it sucks that you are getting the short end of the stick, but that's the reality of the business. Would you rather WebOS die simply because at a future date ios/android have a million apps each and WebOS only has 50,000?

Like I stated before, having a high total number of apps is the price of doing business here, period.

Exactly. This is great for the webOS development. A developer needs to do more then expect the app catalog to bring them to fame.

That's like saying we choose the family car based on how many different models of spark plugs or headlights I can get from Pep boys. I'ts nice to know I have a choice between bosch and champion, but my decision isn't based on knowing that every brand in the world has a spark plug that will fit my car - especially if 80% of them are of such poor quality that I'd never consider them under any circumstance. Yes, having a large catalog is important, but quantity isn't mutually exclusive of quality.

If you think they are mutually independent, then I challenge you to try it in your restaurant choices. For the next few months, don't go to Mortons or Ruth's Chris... Every week you should have a big night out at Waffle House - and always order the steak. You will agree quickly that the quality is lacking even though the quantity is there...

You're missing the whole point. Say Ruth's Chris goes out of business next week because its quality-over-quantity policy was viewed by the majority of consumers as a poor way of doing business; then where are you going to get Ruth's Chris from?

Basically what I'm saying is that you can howl all you want for an idealized, perfect company that caters to all your individual needs and wil probably disappear next week, or you can accept reality and work with what you've got.

Funny, no one is talking about curation. Even with a small number of apps, with no rules or speed-bumps, the store will be overwhelmed with junk. You can't have the kind of app store that iOS has without the curation that iOS has. That means that someone at Palm will have to be assigned to approve and reject apps on a much more stringent basis. Even Google had to pull two apps from the store and the phones of Android users. It is an inevitability. I suspect that with this new policy, Palm will have to reject more apps than they accept. We shall see.

considering a year on they have basically 2600 apps and i haven't really seen a big name app since Facebook i don't see how they can be charging anyways. i'm not positive but i think even the android store grew much faster in one year.