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Palm Apps: Open for Business

It’s official. As of Thursday, developers can flock to create apps for the Palm Pre. The Mojo Software Development Kit (SDK), the long-awaited developer portal is open for business.

So far, apps have been downloaded aggressively from Palm’s online store. Only a month and a half after the Palm Pre’s release, users have downloaded nearly two million apps. Yet thousands more are just waiting to be developed. Now that the SDK is available, it is free for the downloading, developing, and disseminating of Palm Pre applications.

The development site gives potential developers all the information that they need to begin crafting programs. It’s all free. Downloading the kit, learning about building applications, and joining the developer community are all open to the general public. For a few months, development tools was only available to a select few. Palm Apps: Open for Business

The development portal release comes at a good time. The Palm Pre got an uh-oh announcement from Apple on Tuesday. The new version of Apple’s iTunes lowered the smackdown on Palm Pres, which crept in as iPod lookalikes to sync with the software. Now, Palm Pre users are unable to sync with iTunes if they are using the latest version of the software.

The broadened app market for the Palm Pre could mean better sales. That’s the idea, at least. One of the fueling factors for the iPhone’s virulent growth is the rapid dissemination of apps—1.5 billion to date. Getting your hands on more and better apps is the key to having a valuable mobile device. Thus, more and better apps for the Palm Pre will hopefully kick up sales for the shy-of-a-million Pres already produced.

The downside is that none of the apps will be released until this fall. That could be one of the strikes against Palm, since anticipation has been high for a well-stocked app store ever since the Pre hit the shelves. Palm is busy coaching developers and holding meetings, like the developer confab at Palm’s corporate headquarters (July 28), and a development summit on August 8.

Palm needed the Pre. And now the Pre needs apps. Since Palm’s slow and steady digression over the past few years, hopes have been high for a saving device like the Palm Pre to step in and halt the decline. So far, it’s working. But hard blows like the iTunes fiasco and a slower-than-desired uptick for apps is making it difficult. The Mojo SDK, if strategically directed, could make or break the Palm Pre—and the ultimate success of Palm Corporation.

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