Palm’s (PALM) Pre smartphone and WebOS software developers kit aren’t ready to support the kinds of gorgeous, motion-sensor-based games that have been so popular on Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone, according to one developer.
iPhone developer Craig A. Hunter explains in a blog post, via Daring Fireball, that Palm’s SDK doesn’t give access to OpenGL graphics, “a requirement for serious games” or fast-enough access to the Pre’s accelerometer.
This could change, of course, but for now, it’s likely to limit big game studios from investing in Palm’s new platform except for relatively simple casual/mobile games. (Which should be fine for now.)
Sadly, my suspicions were confirmed — there is no way for developers to tap into OpenGL ES using the webOS SDK, despite the fact that the hardware supports it. So that’s a major blow. Then I took a look at the accelerometer capabilities. The accelerometer is desirable for games that use tilt control of course, but is also key to apps based on the equations of motion, like my gMeter (vehicle performance) and greenMeter (eco driving) apps.
Well, strike two — while the webOS SDK allows access to raw accelerometer data, it’s limited to a 4 Hz sampling rate (that’s four samples per second). Applications like gMeter and greenMeter need 50-100 Hz to even be practical, and most games need at least 20 Hz for smooth inputs that won’t lag too far behind typical graphics framerates. A low rate of 4Hz is not usable for dynamic motion where high fidelity is desired. Accelerometer support in the webOS is suitable for detecting basic movement of the phone for interface rotation, but that’s about it.
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