Mobility

Leaked Mojo SDK should speed WebOS development for Palm Pre

Derek Schauland thinks that the leaking of the Palm Pre SDK could be a good thing for WebOS development and help it compete better with Apple. Should Palm embrace the leak?

Just a few days ago, the anticipated Mojo SDK for Palm's Pre device was leaked to the Internet. Several mirrors appeared all over the place and presumably the app development for the Pre will be in high gear very soon. This is a key development because the SDK was not due to be released until sometime this fall, with the exception of a few key developers at a time participating in the Early Access Program.

As a Pre owner, I am excited that the development of apps for the phone may have been sped up exponentially with this leak, but I am also curious to know what Palm might do to put the wraps back on Mojo. Unfortunately, I am not of the developer mindset, so downloading the SDK and emulator will not do me much good. However, more applications for the Pre might move the competition with the iPhone 3Gs to the next level and perhaps squelch the argument that the volume of apps available for the iPhone makes it the superior device.

Prior to this development, Palm decided to embrace the open source community and allow homebrew applications to work on the Pre, rather than updating WebOS to close off rooting and open source development. To their credit, I think this was the right move. Letting developers work with your device via an established program is a good idea, but not punishing anxious developers who just want to make your device better, to me, shows that Palm is serious about getting applications moving for the Pre.

Some home brew apps require rooting

The root image of WebOS for the Pre has been floating around the Internet for some time. The image allows home brew developers the opportunity to dig into the code. Installing the root image on the device can open up additional features for the phone.

If you are not comfortable with Linux, do not root your device; applications are removing the requirement of rooting and more will be available soon.

One application taking advantage of rooting the Pre is tethering, the ability to connect via your Pre to the Internet on your laptop. Sprint has not allowed tethering on the Pre and currently has no plans to do so, although the developer community and Palm's willingness to help them may change Sprint's position there.

Update: Palm released WebOS 1.0.4 for download on the Pre — apparently, to close a security hole which allowed home brew apps to be emailed and installed via a link in messages.

The installed home brew apps still appear to function without problems, but installation without the device has been turned off.

About Derek Schauland

Derek Schauland has been tinkering with Windows systems since 1997. He has supported Windows NT 4, worked phone support for an ISP, and is currently the IT Manager for a manufacturing company in Wisconsin.

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