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Palm should move as quickly as possible to implement a webOS Developer Beta Program to help test new features and functionality for future versions. That's what we're thinking, even though we know it's definitely not feasible in the short term or even medium term.

See, we just heard the news today from our sister-site The iPhone Blog that Apple has released a new beta for developers of their iPhone OS, iPhone 3.1.  While We're happy to see that Palm has been rapidly releasing updates to the webOS, it's no secret that Palm has a very tough row to hoe when it comes to competing with Apple, who has at least a two-year head start. We're thinking that one of the better ways to hoe that row is to start handing out tools to the large and rapidly growing webOS community. 

There are many many eager developers out there and more coming every day -- developers who would be happy to not only help out with future versions of webOS, but who would also be happy knowing that their apps will be compatible with what's coming.  Developers who could help kick the tires, find security holes, and test out new features.  We think that Palm should try to start releasing beta versions of the webOS to developers as soon as it's feasible. 

Now, we understand that 'as soon as it's feasible' isn't likely to be anytime soon.  The webOS has been out and in the public's hands for literally less than a month.  We also get that the SDK is still in private beta and in all likelihood not even completely finished yet. For all we know, since the SDK is under NDA, Palm is already doing this with developers and we just haven't heard about it yet. We get that just throwing more people at a problem does not a solution make and that managing a public beta is often a logistical nightmare. This isn't something that can happen in the next month -- or even the next six months. 

So we're not asking for this now -- we're just putting it out there.  If Apple, that most secretive of companies, can see fit to release Betas of their upcoming smartphone software, we'd like to think Palm can too.  Your growing webOS community is standing by, garden implements in hand. Help us help you.

[Image adapted from the FSA/OWI Archive]