My way to the Palm App Catalog


    Finally, I had free time to write something good-good-eternal.

    This time we will continue the conversation about how an ordinary non-American person can get into the mobile application market, and in particular, I will talk about how I managed to register and get the opportunity to post paid applications for Palm WebOS in the Palm App Catalog .


    It all started a long time ago, or rather, at the beginning of last year, when Palm announced the release of devices with Palm WebOS on board, as well as a program where developers could access the early versions of the Palm Mojo SDK , with which the development of applications for this mobile platforms.
    It all looked pretty beautiful and rosy, especially in light of the fact that because Since this platform is new, the possibilities to be the first and write an application that will become popular in the future were almost limitless.

    After the announcement of the Palm Mojo SDK Early Access Program, I immediately applied for participation, but when registering, my comrades from Palm openly stated that yes, registration is available to everyone, but only those whom Palm considers worthy will get access. It is not clear what criteria they were guided by, but I managed to get official access to the SDK only after 4 months. All these 4 months (and actually even less, because the SDK was not available for free download for a long time) had to be content with pirated / unofficial versions, which sometimes, with a delay, appeared on torrents.
    In fact, now a similar story is happening with the Samsung Bada. Access to the site is open to developers, but to download the SDK can not, for this it is necessary that your company become a partner of the Samsung, and for this they are asking too much unnecessary information that neskaz a permanently angry.

    And finally, a miracle happened and Palm sent me an invite, just around the same time the first chapters of the book ( here and here ) about developing for WebOS came out and it was already possible to somehow understand what to do with this miracle .

    It even works

    Yes, exactly, “it even works” - this is exactly the thought that came to my mind after I first installed the WebOS SDK for myself. Yes, there were problems on Vista with the fact that earlier versions tried to write something in Program Files, but you can’t do this, but with direct hands growing from the right place, all these problems were solved quite simply. And yet, yes, the SDK worked almost the first time.

    The development language is JavaScript. I never knew him, and there was no desire to learn something like this before (all my life I wrote under the desktop in C ++ and under any also in C ++, all hands did not reach interpreted languages). But new horizons, the opportunity to earn good money, fame, world domination ... Eh ... What can’t you do for the sake of world domination ... And I did. I sat down to learn JavaScript.

    I always adhered to such a rule that if you want to learn something, teach it to others. In this way, development tutorials for Palm WebOS began to appear. The first two weeks I set out to release one tutorial per day. He sat down, dealt with the problem, made an example, then described his impressions. From this venture it turned out this , this , this and a few more here .

    After the seventh day of preparing the tutorials, I felt within myself the strength to do something useful. I found a person who wanted a mobile application for WebOS and wrote the first commercial application - a client for exchanging files via SMS for SMSMyFile service. It took me 15 hours to develop the first version of the first webOS application . Now this application is available in the Palm App Catalog, distributed free of charge, although the development cost money.

    I hate you, Palm ... and love

    Then there were attempts to post the application in the Palm App Catalog. For the platform for the sale of mobile applications, Palm had the same policy as with the SDK. You write them a letter, in a letter you send a compiled package with the application, they consider the possibility of publication and then publish. It was all called the eCommerce Beta Program . Now the page with the description of this program on the official website gives a 404th error, so I don’t give the link.

    It looks simple and I very much expected that it would also be fast. Palm, after all, is a small company, somewhere I heard that at that time only 300 people worked in it (maybe this is not true, but still, the company is clearly smaller than MS), in addition, they have a share in the mobile device market not so big, so it seemed to me that for every satisfied client or developer, they should (maybe, should, somehow ...) hold with both hands.

    And so, I write a letter, attach a description of the application and the distribution kit to it, and ... nothing. Silence. For the sake of sports interest, he sent a letter with a notice of reading. Two weeks later I received a notification that yes, they read my letter. And again silence. I already thought that everyone lost my application or forgot, and after! (Attention) a month and a half I get another notification that ... the letter from someone from Palm was deleted without reading it. After that I was offended. By the way, I was not the only one who was offended. Many people also hate Palmdue to their policy of communicating with developers. Then there was a long lull when, having developed my appendix, I can’t at least somehow give it to users. Trying to distribute the Palm WebOS app on your own is a relatively stupid undertaking. Well, except that if you have a service that already brings millions of profits and you can spend some of this money on promoting your program (but then the question arises, why are you not in the App Catalog'e yet :)) .

    During this time, I managed to read all the useful documentation, for example, UI Design Guidelines , Application Submission Checklist , whose knowledge later repeatedly helped me in the future.

    And then ... Registration in the Palm App Catalog became public. This could not but rejoice, but along with joy other problems came.

    The main problem, oddly enough, was ... money. Much money. For some reason, Palm, in addition to slowness, was also greedy. Participation in the Palm Developer Program has become possible in three ways:
    • You register as an open-source developer and post all applications as free and open source. Do not pay anything for it.
    • You register, pay $ 99 per year, and then! (Attention), get a link to download your application and distribute it yourself as you want. Palm just mentions your application in RSS feeds and, in fact, hosts your binary. The rest is all yours.
    • You register, pay $ 99 for registration and $ 50 for each application that falls into the Palm App Catalog. Total, you give away $ 150 right away and it is not known whether your application will just be downloaded. In general, it looks very dangerous, it seemed to me then and it seems the same now.

    And Palm also takes away 30% of each sale from you;)

    In fact, registering on the site and downloading the SDK (you can download it officially only after registration) is possible for free, but if you decide to distribute your applications, you need to upgrade your account to developer status and, nevertheless, choose one of three options. I decided at the end of December. By that time, I was ready for the Android version of SMSMyFile, which began to be sold in the Android Market and I decided to spend the first profit on sales on registration in the Palm App Catalog.

    Things were approaching the new year, and when I decided to register, they took from me not $ 99, but only $ 5 for the first year of participation in the program and with the subsequent extension for $ 99. I don’t know if this discount is still available, I won’t try for the second time :)

    To give money is a simple matter, but after registration, in order to be able to post the application, it was necessary to enter a lot of personal data, including the address and PayPal account.

    With PayPal account, I somehow did not work out right away. Ukraine was not in the list of countries in the account settings. I had to write to the support service, from which I was waiting for an answer for two weeks. They advised to enter the American address and use the American PayPal (just funny, representatives of a reputable company advise such not-so-honest frauds). Well, I have experience with this. We drive in the address of the bank that issued the Payoneer card as the address, then we indicate the American PayPal.

    What next? PROFIT? Yes shchaz! This is just the beginning ... before the profit is still very, very long.

    Nevertheless, this was enough to post a free application.

    In order to post paid applications, it is necessary to indicate the American taxpayer code (the address in the account is American) - ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) or EIN (Employer Identification Number), which for obvious reasons I did not have.

    But, the Internet has it all. And I found a company that offered to register ITIN / EIN for 100 green American presidents. He paid the money, the number was sent in 4 days. The number is like a working one, indicated it in Google Checkout , Palm App Catalog , Intel AppUp. Documents confirming the validity of this tsiferka were promised to be sent within 4 weeks from the date of receipt. At the moment, more than 4 weeks have passed, and there are no documents yet, so I will not give a link to the site offering this service until the circumstances are clarified.

    While registering EIN, I found on Habré information about the AdMob system , which allows you to place ads in mobile applications. I decided to insert AdMob into SMSMyFile. For these purposes, there is a normal working SDK for WebOS, it starts with a half-kick. I’ll tell you more about the integration process in a separate post.

    But judging by the statistics for the month, there is no money there, at least on WebOS. SMSMyFile currently has around 10,000 downloads, and it’s worth it a few dozen cents a day. AdMob’s iPhone apps are much more useful, but I’ll talk about this later.

    The process of submitting applications in the Palm App Catalog is rather dreary, they require a bunch of different information. If you indicated that you want to distribute the application, for example, in Germany, then please, indicate all texts in German, make all localization in German. The English version does not roll. After you have provided all the information, there will be a review in Palm before publication.

    But there are a few points that I would call positive:
    • You have confidence in the result. If you post the application, then you can be sure that the review will still be, and there is also a possibility that tends to one, that the review will be completed within the stated period
    • If inconsistencies with UI Guidelines are found in the review process, you will get a list of inconsistencies ( they say that in the Windows Marketplace for Mobile each attempt to submit is worth $ 100 and they say only one reason for the refusal, even if there were several. Actually, the article compares markets I was very moved. From Marketplace for Mobile I’m just in shock and am already afraid to post there).

    Having played enough with the free version, I decided to try how it works with paid applications.

    As a paid application, I decided to make a program that saves Web pages as PDF files. Work on it took 14 hours. The program pulls one rather popular service that gives PDF on a GET request, so, in fact, the work came down only to the UI.

    At this point, I think it's worth noting this thing:
    • I have a paid account in the Palm App Catalog
    • I already have a free application in the Palm App Catalog
    • If I try to post another free application, then they demand $ 50 from me as for a paid one. Well, the question is, where is the PROFIT?
    • There is an opportunity to post a free beta version of a paid application. Such a submission takes place without a review and is free.
    • For free apps, it seems best to have a separate account with Community Membership.

    Initially, on the Palm Developer Program website, I registered with an e-mail, to which I have screwed Ukrainian PayPal. When trying to pay a submission from an American PayPal, I was told that this is some kind of someone else's account, it does not coincide with the e-mail on the site and I need to attach it to the account. Snap PayPal costs $ 10. In this place, I am desperately struggling with a toad, which almost strangled me when I decided to remember how much money I ditched, in total, for all this :)

    Then there was a beta version submission. For 3 days, while users enjoyed free beta, I received about 2000 downloads and 4 letters to the support service with suggestions of new features. For these 3 days, the application received a rating of 5 out of 5, which is very cool.

    Then there was a submission of the paid version, which took into account the wishes of users who unsubscribed by email with offers of new features. It all looked somehow like that .

    Why do I write “I hope they bought”? Palm has some kind of stupid statistics system:
    • You cannot see separately the number of downloads of each version of the application.
    • You cannot see download statistics for the current day / week / month
    • Only the general report for the last month and for all the previous ones is available, that is, it is impossible to monitor statistics in real time.
    • Download statistics are not updated immediately, but several times a day. It seems every 2-4 hours.

    Palm's payment system is even stranger. You will receive your money for the sold software “within 60 days after the end of the current month” so as not to be unfounded, here is a link on the topic (see the Payment section).

    Something like that. The system works, we will wait for payment.

    Some statistics

    • Time spent - 1 year
    • Money spent - $ 100 + $ 5 + $ 10 + $ 50
    • Profit earned - $ 9 for AdMob + (unknown) for sales
    • Total downloads of the free application - 10000 (for 1.5 months) + 2200 (for 3 days)
    • Total paid application downloads - ~ 500
    • Levelup received - yes, as always

    I hope my multibook will benefit someone.

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