Palm doubles size of webOS developer community

A week after promising to accelerate the growth of its early access program for webOS development, Palm reports its webOS developer community doubled in size overnight after the device maker sent out its first batch of invitations requesting programmers to sign on. "This is just the first set of new members--our plan is to double the size of the program again in the next week, and then continue the growth as fast as we can until everyone who wants the SDK has access to it," writes Palm Developer Community Manager Chuq Von Rospach on the Palm Developer Network Blog. "If you didn't get an invite, please be patient--we're working on it and will continue to work to get as many of you into the program as fast as we can."

In related webOS news, the Palm Pre's App Catalog storefront topped the 1 million application download benchmark last week. According to market research firm Medialets, Palm has sold more than 150,000 Pre smartphones so far--despite the availability of only a few dozen applications, Pre users have so far downloaded an average of more than six apps each. Medialets notes that the average Palm Pre user has downloaded 26 times the number of apps as the average iPhone user at the time Apple's App Store surpassed the 1 million download mark in mid-2008--moreover, the average App Catalog application experienced 16 times the number of downloads that apps in the App Store had experienced at comparable points in their growth.

"We think the Palm Pre is by far the best product we've ever shipped and I am very happy with how we are managing the launch," Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein said during the firm's earnings call Thursday, but refused to disclose actual sales numbers. "The most important indicator of our success is that customer response has been simply great, especially to Palm webOS. Just as Palm pioneered PDAs in the '90s, we believe it has now pioneered the mobile operating platform for the next 10 years and beyond... We feel it takes better advantage of the benefits of Web 3.0 than any other mobile platform available today."

Rubenstein also addressed the status of webOS's Mojo SDK in the wake of news it will delay the software kit's official release until late summer. "We are eager to expand access to our SDK but we need to do so in a measured and methodical fashion, so we can be sure we are providing a great development experience," he said. "Over the next few weeks, we expect the program to grow from hundreds to thousands of developers and our goal from there is to make our SDK available to everyone by the end of this summer."

For more on the Palm Pre's progress:
- read this All Things Digital article

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