What a sad story Palm's App Catalog has been so far: never more than a few dozen apps, a near-closed submission process, and no way for developers to make any money. Today, a sliver of light: Palm is accepting a handful of paid app submissions as part of a closed e-commerce system beta, which means a wide release, though no necessarily coming soon, is imminent. Terms are predictable: 70% cut for devs, US-only for now, and no carrier payment system yet. Baby steps! The meat of the announcement:

Starting today, you can submit your apps via email for consideration in the Palm App Catalog e-commerce beta program.

We're initiating the beta e-commerce program so we can test the experience for both webOS app developers and users. This is an opportunity for you to submit your app and to market it to the webOS user base before we open the program to all developers later in the year.

All developers can submit both free and paid applications today for evaluation by Palm. Details of the program are the following:

* You can charge a one-time fee for the download of your application.
* Initially, the user base for e-commerce will be limited to the United States.
* Developers will receive 70 percent of revenues generated through application sales (less applicable sales taxes).
* webOS users will pay for their application purchases using credit cards and will download apps directly to their webOS device.

This is followed by a few guidelines for what kinds of apps Palm will accept, which can basically be condensed to "no farts, please." [Palm]