Wednesday 10 February 2010

O2 Litmus: Palm Pre Developer Event Part Two

This was the second O2 Litmus and Palm developer event in London. It was kind of hard to follow up on the first event at which all attendees got free Palm Pre’s, but they certainly did a good job. The food and beer was just as good as before and Dion and Ben know how to get developers on side.

First up was O2 with some updates on Litmus:

O2 Telefonica & Litmus

  • 7,000 customers now signed up for O2 Litmus
    • tech-savvy users willing to test new apps and provide ideas
    • To me this is the real strength of Litmus — it’s not just a developer program encouraging new apps. O2 are making use of the biggest advantage they have over a “dumb pipe” — their relationship with their customers
  • one shared mobile advertising org through whole of telefonica — starting to propose new advertising models:
    • click to call
    • click to receive an SMS
    • click to locate
    • receive an MMS with a map showing direction from where you are to the advertised location
  • developing O2 Priority Ticketing app
    • already available for iPhone
    • available on Palm in next 4-6 weeks through Litmus first
  • may open out ideas for developer community to build
    • especially around existing brands that don’t have a mobile presence
    • some private APIs may be available…

Palm Developer Evangelists

Ben Galbraith & Dion Almaer

  • app store growing fast (but linearly) since October, with slight acceleration
  • now up to 1,500 apps

Plug-in Developer Kit (PDK)

  • mechanism you can use to extend existing web environment — provides a plugin mechanism to the browser
  • will have a Flash plugin available to ship in Feb.
  • write code in C++ and have it available to the WebOS environment


  • app data streams are available
  • visualisations appearing already:
    • Nicholas Felton — visualization guru
    • Project Appetite
      • allows you to send apps to the phone…
    • WebOS Schools
  • can get through app review in a couple of hours
    • that’s quick! where’s their team?
  • app catalog can act as intermediary, so can turn off a bad app
    • provides a quality source of apps
    • though you don’t have to go through the app store to make your app available

Editing — Project Ares

  • uses Mozilla Bespin (accent on the “e”), which Dion and Ben were involved with when they were working for Mozilla
  • enables you to drag and drop interfaces and build apps just using a browser

Incentives: Hot Apps Promotion

  • Most downloaded applications from Feb 1 to May 31
  • Separate pots for Free and Paid apps
    • Top 1: $100K
    • Top 20: $10K
    • Top 200: $1K
  • Will create a leaderboard in March
  • Can probably launch an app as late as April and still get a prize

European payment for app store

  • not here yet…
  • credit card to begin with
  • will follow up with operator billing, but can’t give any timings…
  • want to give as many options as possible to consumers
  • in-app purchases on roadmap too
  • app catalog releases may be restricted from their own purchase mechanisms to avoid confusion

Coding example

  • works a bit like rails
  • palm-generate -t <dir>
  • using palm-run wrapper script
  • can have multiple stages with multiple scenes
    • another stage might be notification stage
  • sources.json is where the first-assistant.js is loaded
  • prototype.js comes built-in
    • prototype can observe events and Mojo provides the touch events
  • can use standard media selectors to have different layouts per device
  • emulator is unable to play video
  • emulator always in charging battery mode
  • can see the source of all the Palm widgets
  • can turn on webkit inspector (palm-run -i) to dig in to any of the apps on the phone
  • although Mojo is the first attempt, you don’t have to use it — there are others… (pastrykit… :-) )


  • push notifications?
    • Mojo messaging coming
    • provides unified mechanism for apps to work together to go to the network
    • saves battery life…
    • full multitasking with UI notifications
  • accelerated CSS transforms?
    • still coming soon…