Features we'd like to see in the Palm App Catalog | webOS Nation

Features we'd like to see in the Palm App Catalog

by Robert Werlinger Thu, 12 Aug 2010 1:04 pm EDT

The App Catalog has been live in various forms for a little over a year now, and Palm has continued to add both features and applications during that time it’s gone from a measly handful of offerings to a marketplace offering over 3,000 applications, including immersive 3D titles like NOVA and Need for Speed, and the inbuilt search algorithms and overall app discovery have improved considerably.

But even with these accomplishments, Palm’s online marketplace lags behind competing offerings - namely the Android Market and the App Store - in certain key areas and needs to rapidly add functionality to bring it up to par. We’ve caught a glimpse or two of where the App Catalog may be going, and here are three features we think Palm should be sure to implement in the next version.  What features would you like to see?

In-App Purchasing

There’s little question that in-app purchasing makes developers’ titles more profitable. While webOS doesn’t have an inbuilt system for such transactions, developers of the platform have figured out ingenious ways of implementing their own systems. Self-Aware games, developer of the popular Word Ace game, is a great example of how in-app purchasing can lend to greater profits. 

Carrier Billing

It’s a simple equation: The easier it is for a customer to purchase an app, the more likely that customer is to buy them. Other online app stores already plan or are looking into implementing such a system.  RIM is going to do it with App World 2.0, Google has made its intentions known in wanting to bring it to Android Market, and Apple is presumably thinking along those same lines.  Palm's Joe Hayashi did mention the prospect of the feature coming to webOS at Palm's Developer Day.

We aren't fond of carrier billing ourselves - we prefer to have as few fingers in the app billing pie as possible. Still, it's an option that many like and we imagine plenty of developers would be happy to see it.

Bulk/Gift purchasing

Apple has started doing bulk purchasing and has been doing gift purchasing for awhile, desktop clients like Steam have done it for a while, and it’s time for Palm to implement this crucial feature. Being able to give the gift of an app is a great thing, and as webOS begins to gain momentum in areas of education and business, those organizations are going to want to purchase apps in bulk for a discount without having to hassle with contacting individual developers.

Promotion Codes / Giveaways

This is one that's been near and dear to our hearts since the App Catalog launched. We love giving stuff away to our readers, but right now there is no easy way to do it - either for us or for the developers. Whether we pay for them ourselves and gift them or Palm enables developers to generate a certain number of free codes, we know from our friends at CrackBerry that an app giveaway is a great way to promote an app and spur sales.

Other ideas?

There are plenty of other ideas that could improve the App Catalog. It might be nice to add a checkbox to allow us to anonymously share our installation data with others so that the total install counts (as opposed to downloads) are visible in the catalog. What other improvements would you like to see?