The webOS Wish List: A truly global App Catalog | webOS Nation
 
 

The webOS Wish List: A truly global App Catalog 36

by Derek Kessler Mon, 06 Feb 2012 7:18 pm EST

This weekend's post from webOS developer Dan Perlberger on dealing with app piracy has generated one of the best conversations on the issue I think I've ever seen. A lot of opposing voices have been brought into the discussion, with good points made on both sides of the issue (as always, we remain opposed to piracy here at webOS Nation). One point in particular worth noting is the availability, rather the lack of availability, for apps internationally. There are three levels of app availability: (1) the United States, where 99% of apps are available; (2) the approved international market - Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Singapore, New Zealand, Spain, and the UK - which has a healthy majority of the US apps, plus a smattering of country-specific apps that for whatever reason haven't been made available elsewhere, but lacks a good chunk of apps that are for whatever reason only available in the US, and (3) everybody else.

Group numero uno makes out like gangbusters when it comes to app selection on webOS [insert USA chant here]. The approved countries in the second group do alright too - it's up to app developers to submit their apps for these countries. Group three - everybody in other countries that have gone out of their way to purchase webOS devices - they get the real short end of the stick.

As developers in the piracy conversation pointed out, they will gladly deal directly with outside-of-the-system international users to get the app they so desire, but that shouldn't have to be the case. A user shouldn't have to track down who the developer is, hope they'll be willing to send over an IPK, and hook up with them over PayPal.

So here's today's webOS wish list item: a truly global App Catalog. We certainly understand the pain that could come from trying to set up credit card agreements overseas, so here's a solution: allow users to pay with PayPal. Or set up a system where they can purchase credit in the store instead, certainly that'd be easier to put together (plus it would lay the infrastructure for App Catalog gift certificates).

On the developer front, simplify things there too. Instead of having a developer submitting click off each country in which they want their app to be available, give them the option to click 'global' and automatically enable app sales in any new countries added after their last update.

webOS fans are a strangely dedicated bunch. For all this platform and community has been through over the past few years, HP should definitely take the time to put together a system for international app purchases. These people deserve it for the lengths they've gone through to acquire devices, and they shouldn't feel they have to resort to piracy to get apps on them. In fact, HP, this really isn't a wish list item. Wish list means "I'd like for this to happen." No, this needs to happen.

36 Comments

INDEED!!!!!

[typo fixed, snarky comment edited]

It's possible I might suck at typing, which isn't necessarily a good thing when one is a blogger.

It's all good.

Still awaiting paid apps to be available in Singapore..... :(

Level 2 doesn't tell the whole story. For example, here in Singapore the App Catalog is open to TouchPad users but not to smartphone users. I havent been able to get an explanation for this; can WOSN find out? I wonder if Rod Whitby can even buy apps in Australia, another spot where the TP launched but no phones.

Same here in New Zealand. My Veer and Touchpad, both on the same account enjoy all the apps available in the New Zealand catalog. However for my Pre3 which had to be on a different account I can't buy any apps (only look at them with Tuckerbox) as I need a US creditcard to buy which is very hard to get if you're outside US. I understand Rod managed to organise it for himself somehow, but one shouldn't have to jump through all kinds of hoops and additional costs to get one.

this need to happen

YES YES YES!

- And by the way, Level 2 - New Zealand - I beg to differ on the comment 'a healthy majority of US apps' - hmmm - it seems all the 'good' programs/games etc mentioned are not in the app store... granted, there may be places where there are less apps, but it still doesn't make us 'healthy'...

Hello, I'm in Honduras (group 4, lol) probably some of you don't even know were my country is (Central America, just below Mexico). I have a Palm Pre Plus with an international_non country supported account for year and a half with free apps only (about +500 I think), until I bought my TouchPad. First I synced my TP to my existing account but once I got my Pre³ and Veer I decided to make a new account to my TP with a borrow US billed address credit card. FINALLY I've had the paid apps catalog; then I sync my Pre³ to my TP account and voila! paid apps on my Pre³ as well (well, atleast up until I lost it :'( ). Now I use my spare Veer and have no problems with the paid apps. As you well said, Derek, I shouldn't have to go through this. THIS NEEDS TO BE DONE!!! This will be key to give us a chance so we can out-loud say LONG WILL LIVE WEBOS!!!

P.S.: Oh! and you on webOSNation should make or help a "global" -although unofficial- app be able to write comments! Man, as a webOS lover and defender, I'm telling you it will help your site to be more user-friendly at least on the basics tasks and therefor help your site to grow! We are a very dedicated community just as you are a dedicated site (and thank you for it), so please takes us (user) onto consideration. And if your answer is: "it's not a webOSNation official app" Than make one! THIS -also- NEEDS TO BE DONE!!!

Yes! This is a MUST!

yes this needs to be done on PRIORITY BASIS...

I don't think HP is going to come through for us. They didn't when they had an acute financial interest in doing it and the sure as h... will not now.

The only solution is to wait for the AppCatalog software to become OpenSource and then have someone (webosinternals/webosNation) roll out their own store, mirroring what amazon did with their android store.

This has been on the "wishlist" since day one! Just go for it! No need to wait any longer!

I think webOS internalz is making a lot of steps into the right direction recently

I outlined the basic criteria for a truly global app catalog in this post a while back http://forums.webosnation.com/hp-veer/285894-appcat-has-been-changed-con...

I also sent it to Richard Kerris before he found the greener grass and he replied that they were making changes he thought would please me. Unfortunately that email was from July 28th and things sort of changed radically a couple of weeks later...

Actually, this is the first article that can be seen entirely positively.

Nice that you put some focus on this, hopefully its not too late fixing what should have been done 2 years ago.

This is at the top of my personal wishlist! Please HP, make it happen.

+1, actually +10000000000 for this!!!!!!!!!! This has to happen immediately!!!!!!! It's so frustrating not to be able to buy apps because you live in an unsupported country or use an unsupported carrier!!!

...forgotten to mention: you even cannot use promo codes without already having a valid US credit card with a valid billing address in your profile. Not all are fortunate to actually having access to an US office address where they are "reachable", or their mail can be collected sometimes a year. (you _have_ to use an NA profile to access the store, because as mentioned localized profiles are neutered anyway, and most applications are only published for NA)

I'm signing under this "petition" with my both hands and whole heart!
Since I'm a user of 2 webOS devices and have no possibility to buy any app from App Catalog I'm considered as PIRATE - which I'm not.
I want my devices be fully featured and make use of them in legal way. And would love to let developers become reach when whole world will pay for their work, not only "selected" countries.

+1 +1 +1!
For us webOS users outside the List 2 market, that is the #1 request!
We need this asap, that is the one thing I miss the most about swiching from the Palm TX to the HP Pre 3, the lack of quality Apps and the fact that the ones I want I cannot purchase.

Everything above. and tie it up with App Catalog gift certificate ability, like Derek mentioned. You really can't be considered a serious player without these things. It's not like the webOS app catalog is in it's infancy. It's time.

"As developers in the piracy conversation pointed out, they will gladly deal directly with outside-of-the-system international users to get the app they so desire, but that shouldn't have to be the case. A user shouldn't have to track down who the developer is, hope they'll be willing to send over an IPK, and hook up with them over PayPal."

That does not seem to be true for bigger developers: I contacted Splashtop and Astraware. Here's their response...

Astraware
-----------------------------------------------
Hi David,

Thanks for getting in touch with us. I'm very sorry to hear that you are having trouble purchasing our games from Switzerland. We have made the game available in all the stores that HP has made paid games available in and I would've thought that Switzerland would be one of them.

Unfortunately we don't have a way of selling apps for sideloading as the purchase, delivery and installation process has to go through HP's store.

Sorry I can't be of more help.

Kind regards,
Priscilla

Splashtop
----------------------------------------------
Hi David,

Thanks for your interest in Splashtop!

Our agreement with the HP App Store only allows us to sell through their app store. We've passed on this information to HP as well. Hopefully, they will resolve this problem for everyone. If they provide us with additional information, we will pass it on to you.

Regards,
Victor
Splashtop

Then what choice do you have besides the warez sites. Hp is creating piracy by not selling people the apps they want why cant I still buy apps on my palm pre why should it still be on a carrier to access the app store I can buy apps for my Evo 4g even though its not active anymore Hp could learn some stuff from Android

The only reason why i didn't load any cracked apps on my touchpad, is because I respect the work of the developers. If it was only for the incompetent HP-clowns I wouldn't even hesitate one second!

but that's the sad part, HP messes up, the user and the developer pays for it.

Truth.

When I first got my Pre- I spent hours and hours and hours trying to legitimately purchase Sparkle. I even wasted money purchasing international credit cards that didn't work, and I tried contacting the developer only to receive a response similar to the one above from Splashtop.

After all that frustration, I ended up looking for a pirated copy, and it was easy to find. It really shouldn't be easier to pirate an app than it is to purchase it :(

P.S. As soon as the Australian app store became available I purchased a leitimate copy of Sparkle and every other app I had pirated. If a developer had not included the app in the Australian catalogue, I deleted it, contacted the developer and waited patiently. Unfortunately there are many developers that still haven't updated their app to include the Australian catalogue.

HP everybody on!!! Except Switzerland, Ireland, New Zealand, Honduras, India, ...

Running a multinational app store is going to cost a lot of money that HP isn't going to want to spend on the App Catalog. The only thing that makes this kind of thing worthwhile is lots of volume and that's not something that webOS is going to offer.

Why would it cost a lot of money? Let's connect it to Paypal and that's it. HP will have to open it to other countries sooner or later. If they want to have at least a little chance in the competition with iOS and Android, they can't keep it closed just for a few countries.

I have an idea to improve the situation:

Release paid apps for free to the areas where people can't buy them.

It actually makes sense. The developers wouldn't get anything from these people anyway, because they just can't pay you. On the other hand devs won't lose anything either, because on payable markets the same software still has a price. The system takes care of that.

In the end everybody wins! Developers get more userbase, users have better access to apps and nobody loses money! Who knows - some developers might even get some donations ;)

Thanks to Impostah I'm on group one (should still get an US credit card, btw), but theoritically I should've been on the third group (Italy).

What it hurts is that the WR webOS ROMs have Italian built-in... and I guess that the pre should have launched here too, for some reason it didn't (palm.com still says that the "new phone Palm Pre" is "coming soon")

Eugenio

My $ 0.01 to throw into the mix. Although this might not hold true for newer version of WebOS, my Pre+ (1.4.5) is happily running on the USA app catalogue WITH a NON-USA credit card (Canadian CC).

That said, my Pre+ is AT&T-branded and it was activated with an AT&T SIM while in America. Lots of forum posts exist about this whole mess that I won't re-hash.

In short: I'd caution anyone thinking of spending the time/money to get a US CC for app purchases to do their research first.

I cannot agree more. I'd love to have some paid apps and I'd love to give some money to webOS app developers even more, I can't though because I don't live in one of the chosen countries. HP should realize that every additional customer in the ecosystem matters.