webOS Developers, here is your 2011 to do list: Maintain Mojo, Start on Enyo
After the confusion (and correction) about whether traditional (or as HP called them, "Legacy") webOS apps would run natively on webOS 3, we are happy to say that we now have greater-than-140-character-hints that the answer is yes. HP has responded to that and several other concerns with a statement to us (it's after the break).
Just so that it's very clear to everybody, here's the score for existing apps:
- Mojo Apps will work on webOS 1.4.5, webOS 2.x, and webOS 3 natively. You should probably give some thought to how your app will scale up to the Pre 3's resolution and down to the Veer's, though
- Also give some thought to deprecating the back button and Meta-Taps on your Mojo App, as the former will appear as on-screen buttons in a window on webOS 3 and the latter aren't quite figured out yet
- HP is recommending developers keep maintaining their current webOS Mojo apps because they expect you'll be able to sell plenty of them on Veer and Pre 3.
- HP is also recommending you develop your app in Enyo in parallel. Note, however, that HP doesn't expect Enyo support to phones until an update "later this year."
For new apps, it's a different game and HP recognizes it's a "business" decision. We take that as code for "hard one," because here are the options:
- Develop your new app in Mojo. It will work great on all phones from the Pre to the Veer to the Pre 3 and HP doesn't appear to be sunsetting native support for your apps at least through 2011. However, it will appear in a fussy window at an unknown resolution on Tablets undergirded by back and forward buttons.
- Develop your new app in Enyo. It will not work on any phone older than the Pre 2 and won't work on any phones at all until HP releases a software update "later this year." However, it will be a boss experience on the TouchPad this summer and a killer, easy-to-maintain-for-multiple-devices app once the phones get their update.
We can't make that decision for you, but the Enyo option for new apps is starting to look pretty compelling if you can forego making any money on apps between now and the TouchPad's release. We kind of hate to point this out, but we sort of doubt there are a ton of webOS developers making their entire living off webOS and we sort of doubt that the webOS ecosystem will be getting huge before Enyo lands on phones, so Enyo makes sense.
On the other hand - for real - we want more apps now and will pay for good (or even decent) ones and we are willing to bet most webOS users are in the same boat. The question is: do you think there are enough of us to make it worth the Mojo choice?
In any case, if you're struggling through the business decision, our very own webOS Developer forums are full of people with the same predicament. If you're looking for more details directly from HP, well, you might try asking in their own forums after you read that full statement after the break.
* On webOS smartphones, Mojo apps will look and behave exactly as they do in webOS 2.
* On TouchPad, Mojo apps will run in a card that occupies less than the full size of the display. An on-screen UI will be provided to simulate back and forward gestures.
As for how developers should approach the Mojo-to-Enyo transition, here's what we recommend:
* Developers with existing Mojo apps should continue to support their apps over the next several months -- fix bugs, make minor feature enhancements, and optimize for the higher-resolution Pre3 display. The upcoming Veer and Pre3 launches represent substantial sales opportunities for these existing apps. In parallel, developers should start working on Enyo versions of their apps, targeting TouchPad first and understanding that they'll be able to leverage their work to release Enyo-based smartphone updates later in the year.
* Developers planning new apps need to consider their business goals and make a choice. For many developers, the best option will to be to start with Enyo -- again, targeting TouchPad first and smartphones later in the year. Developers who are focused on near-term sales or who are eager to capitalize on the Veer and Pre3 launches may choose to start new apps in Mojo, but should factor in the effort required to rebuild their apps in Enyo down the road.