So a nifty new tool to help developers quickly make apps for Palm phones is a good move.
But is it enough?
It’s called Project Ares, and it looks pretty cool. The idea is that you can code apps for WebOS phones in any Web browser, versus coding for Android or the iPhone, which requires downloading and installing a software developers kit on a computer. (And Apple’s requires a Mac, Microsoft’s Windows Mobile requires a PC, etc.)
Smart move, assuming it’s a good tool. But it is probably not enough to power Palm past Apple, RIM, and Android, which are leading the apps race.
Mobile software companies are going to invest in the two or three platforms that have a combination of great app platforms, great devices, and large user bases.
So far, Palm has OK devices; a solid — if simple — platform that few people have been able to make apps for; and a small userbase. (Palm reported today that it shipped 783,000 smartphones last quarter, which is not bad, but it’s not great, either. RIM shipped 10 million.)
Most app makers will therefore probably continue to focus on Apple, Android, and BlackBerry.
While this finally gives developers easy access to make Palm apps, Palm still needs better devices, distribution, and marketing before it’s a threat to bigger platforms.
So the next logical question is: Is it enough to get Palm a buyer? Dell, Nokia, RIM, Microsoft, Cisco… anyone want in?
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