As if Palm needed more problems

by Volker Weber

Somebody has found a way to give German Pre users more apps. This seems like a good thing, since German Pre users have only 267 apps to choose from. But it isn't. Let me explain.

The issue is that developers need to flag their apps to make them available in certain territories. The App Catalog filters apps by those flags and makes only the designated apps available. For some territories that means zero apps. Some apps certainly have not been flagged by negligence, while others have been deliberately not been made available since they are trial apps. It does not make very much sense since Palm has not been able to launch the e-commerce system for Germany yet.

This is problem #1. You can't buy apps that would be available otherwise. What happens is that smart users found a way to download and install them without paying for them. That's a huge problem. Some would call it "piracy", others would say "you don't let me pay for them".

Problem #2 is that somebody has now published a way to sideload apps. That means you get to any app, but the Catalog won't count them as downloads.

This is what I would call really big failure for the Palm App Catalog. Not only have they denied users access to apps that are badly needed, they have also left a loophole for users to "steal" from the Catalog.

Read the comments. Developers are not happy.

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There should no such thing like apps. Over decades it was me, who decided, not the producer of the device. It doesn't matter if computer or cell phone. Just imagine Apple or Microsoft start to allow only App Store Software on their OSes. If the piracy theory was right, why have been software companys so amazing successful the last 30 or more years?

Enno Mane, 2010-03-04

I consider mandatory region filtering in the App Catalog a big mistake Palm made. It reduces the "felt" value of the device by a great deal, not only because it dwarfs the App Catalog outside the U.S. even more than in is already, by comparison.

It also takes choice and responsibility away from the customer. Not surprising that people seek (and find, eventually) ways around that limitation. For my part, I'd like to be able to download (and pay for, even) apps that absolutely make no sense in my current region. I'm not even sure if the "trial versions" argument carries much weight.

I hate to say anything bad about Palm, because I like them and wish them all the success they can get, but this situation is the well-deserved result of big-time strategic blunder.

Martin Böhm, 2010-03-04

This is the downside of "DRM is bad for the customer"

If you don't do DRM to 'protect' the apps, and you let people control (aka jailbreak) their phones and use them as --> they

Craig Wiseman, 2010-03-05

This is the downside of "DRM is bad for the customer"

If you don't do DRM to 'protect' the apps, and you let people control (aka jailbreak) their phones and use them as .they. want, then you'll get a certain amount of piracy. This happens in Windows and in every over OS, WebOS is no different.

Yes, Palm needs to rejig the website a bit to make it harder to pirate.

The real fix is to make it easy to legally buy and download apps in every market where Palm has devices.

Craig Wiseman, 2010-03-05

@Craig Wiseman: There is an upside of "DRM is bad for the customer"?

Martin Böhm, 2010-03-10

@Mr. Böhm: No.

Craig Wiseman, 2010-03-16

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