Coders have been hard at work since this past weekend’s Pre launch delving into the digital innards of the phone. By tweaking the Reset Doctor, designed to resurrect a crashed phone, they’ve found all of webOS’s root code, and that’s led to the first independently developed Palm Pre “apps.”
Since Palm hasn’t yet released a software development kit that will let third party developers create apps to populate the Pre’s applications store, the leaked code is letting some keen coder-developers build very basic apps. There’s a classic “Hello World” test app, but also some more useful ones, like a five-second photo timer system. Apart from this app tomfoolery, the 195MB image of webOS’s root code is an amazing gift for smartphone hackers–it gives an insight into exactly how the OS works, reveals comments by the original developers, and could allow for easy hacking of the phone to unlock it from Sprint.
And there’s one more treasure hidden inside the code. It seems there’s a reference to two code-named devices among the software–“Castle” is assumed to be the Pre itself, but “pixie” is a term that’s been used to describe the Pre’s successor phone, also known as the Eos. The most fervent Palm enthusiast may see that as a sign that Pixie’s development is actually significantly advanced, and the device may surface sooner than later.
Aside from that rumor though, there’s one very positive implication of what some may think of as an otherwise unfortunate code-leak. The fact that developers are tearing into Palm’s system so fervently is an excellent sign for the Pre. It implies that when Palm gets around to releasing the SDK (which it better had soon, given the ever-expanding App Store of its competitor iPhone) then the same sort of enthusiasm will likely be devoted to developing proper apps for sale.
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