The Palm Pre is out. So where's the SDK?

Access to app dev kit for Palm's iPhone rival still is limited, leaving apps developers out in the cold

Palm's answer to the much-celebrated Apple iPhone, the Palm Pre, was released on June 6 via a partnership with Sprint. But it still remains to be seen when a software development kit will be generally available to leverage capabilities in the device.

A kit has been accessible by a select set of developers to build applications for the Pre. But potentially masses of other developers must wait for Palm to get around to releasing the kit on a widespread basis to assist them in building applications.

[ Last month, Palm told developers that more information on the Pre SDK would come as device availability neared. ]

"The SDK is still only available to those developers in the early access program -- it hasn't been released to the public yet," a Palm representative said in an e-mail on Wednesday evening. A beta version of Palm's App Catalog is available featuring approximately 30 applications for free download. There has been no announcement, however, of general availability of the SDK.

The existing kit has been called the Palm Mojo SDK and supports development for the Palm webOS platform leveraged in Palm Pre. But a developer who has sought access to the kit said he has not heard a word from Palm.

"I don't know if Palm's just overwhelmed with developers that ask for early access to the SDK and just can't keep up [with the demand]," said Charles Taylor, a senior developer at Break.com and an independent developer.

Not having the kit has impeded development and time to market for new software, said Taylor, who is looking to build productivity applications for Pre. He has, however, been able to do some development work using the Safari browser and Web standards featured in Pre.

Taylor is in talks with a business partner that has access to the SDK, but he would only be to do work for that partner. He also does not have the device itself in hand, as he is waiting for it to be untethered to a specific service provider, which would be Sprint in this instance.

Taylor said he sees a huge market for Palm Pre. "I don't think they'll have Apple running scared but I think they'll carve out a chunk of the market for themselves," said Taylor. Palm Pre is potentially a much better phone than RIM's BlackBerry Storm, he added.

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