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Palm Announces Ares SDK for webOS Apps Karishma Sundaram | , 6:17 p.m. Nov. 5, 2009 2009-11-05

Google Android, Apple iPhone and BlackBerrys have one thing in common, that is apart from making smartphones; they have a huge collection of apps that run on their phones. 

There are a number of reasons for this collection: firstly, the platforms are either exciting or the phones are tremendously popular, leading to a potential client base that would attract a number of developers. Android doesn’t have that big a piece of the cell phone market at the moment, but since it is open source, developers are latching onto the operating system in a huge hurry. As a matter of fact, the openly available Java libraries used to program on Android form only part of the charm; the excellent Google integration with the mobile operating system plays a large role as well. 

The only big player in the market without an app marketplace to rival those of the others is the Palm Pre. Unfortunately for the Palm Pre, it was overshadowed in popularity with the arrival of the iPhone. The business functions are more than adequately handled by BlackBerry phones, so where does the Palm Pre fit in?

It is the device that manages to mesh all the good qualities of the other phones into one. Which means, it packs in the capabilities of a BlackBerry, the style quotient of an iPhone (albeit not remotely in the same way) and the usability of a normal phone. The app store is massively underpopulated though – something that Palm is looking to rectify. 

Initially, Palm Pre apps needed to be coded with Mojo. The SDK (software development kit) was announced in summer this year, a somewhat delayed reaction to the release of the actual phone. Presumably since the phone runs on an entirely new operating system, webOS, Palm gave developers an opportunity to acclimatize themselves with the platform first. The new operating system is an amalgam of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. This unprecedented combination of elements in a mobile operating system sent a subtle message to existing web developers – that here is a new medium to work with. 

However, Mojo has not taken as well as Palm hoped it would. They identified a reluctance to move from web designing to mobile app design on the part of existing web developers. Palm decided that the best way to woo developers would be to create a new SDK that was easier to use than Mojo. Therefore, Ares SDK has been introduced. 

Ares, which is scheduled to be launched formally towards the end of the year, is a drag-and-drop development tool. Apparently there is no installation required with Ares, which is completely built using web technologies. Developers open a web interface, move around a few boxes, and voila! an application for the Palm Pre is created. This kind of application development may just interest a greater majority of the populace, especially the programmer variety. 

Palm’s App Catalog will hopefully see the fruits of these actions soon after. It will certainly attract a bigger clientele to Palm Pre.

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