Palm Pre Gets Its First Homebrew App, WebOS "Easy to Modify"S

Within hours of a leaked WebOS root image spilling onto the internet, would-be developers have coaxed a respectable number of hacks and tweaks out of their Pres—including the phone's first homebrew app.

Their accomplishments are modest in the grand scheme of things, but this is an auspicious start:

My first application works!! I'm so excited! It's just a pretty "hello world" application with a few simple command tests - but hey - it's a working application on the pre!

Other mini-hacks include changing vibration length and intervals, adding a shot timer to the camera and eliminating its shutter sound. The early consensus, it seems, is that the Pre is an easy hack.

Notice anything familiar here? This is a lot like what happened with the first iPhone, which shipped without native app support, leaving prospective developers to toil with lame web apps—sort of like what's been outlined in upcoming the WebOS SDK. That situation spawned a productive homebrew community, which is still alive and kicking today. From the looks of it, the Pre will have a burgeoning underground app gray market before its SDK even gets distributed.

Granted, Palm will grant developers appreciably more leeway than Apple's initial web-only approach, allowing for local storage and tighter system integration, but system-level mods, like the aforementioned changes to the camera and vibration functions, aren't on the table. Follow the thread for more—it's fascinating stuff. [Precentral]