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Palm developer freedom

There’s been a lot of heming and hawing over Palm’s developer relations, and many were hopeful that the hiring of Ben Galbraith and Dion Almer of Mozilla fame would go a long way to improving the developer side of things. Well, tonight after Palm pushed out the first paid webOS applications, less than two weeks after joining Palm the amazing duo has announced updates to Palm’s webOS development platform.

TechCrunch was at the event and reports that Palm is amending the developer agreement to allow for distribution outside of the App Catalog (or at least that’s how we’re reading it). “Developers can simply submit their apps to Palm, and Palm will return them to a URL that they can then blog, tweet, do whatever they want to share it. When a person the clicks the URL they can easily install the app. And while Palm is providing the URL, it is not going to be reviewing the apps in any way.” This trends much more towards the Android side of app reviews (where they perform an automated test for stability, they don’t check for “appropriateness”).

And for a developer that wants to distribute their apps as open source, Palm is also waiving the $99 yearly registration fee. According to Palm’s Twitter postings, developers that will be distributing closed source apps, free or paid, will still have to pay the $99 annual fee, as well as $50 per app.

Palm will also be opening all that aggregate info that they’ve been collecting to developers. TechCrunch notes that opening up their analytics data stands in stark contrast to Apple, who has historically held the data they collect very close to the vest.

And in a wonderful last note, Palm pulled an Oprah and gave all developers in attendance a free Pre, Touchstone, and a month of Sprint service. Galbraith told the new Pre owners to “Just hack on it.” It’s clear that Palm is taking a much more open stance on webOS development, quite possibly rivaling Android in terms of development transparency. To us, that’s a wonderful thing.