According to recent research by Skyhook Wireless (the guys who work on Wi-Fi positioning systems), only 8% of location-based service developers will jump to the Palm Pre operating system, WebOS. The survey was conducted over 100 developers spread across six platforms: Windows Mobile, Symbian, Android, BlackBerry, Java and iPhone. Here are the main findings from their study:
- 73% of respondents want exact location positioning. City or neighborhood-level targeting is not sufficient for most applications.
- Applications are designed to be used in metro areas. Very few applications are designed for use in rural areas.
- Quick location results are very important.
- 48% of respondents say location sets their app apart, or is a core component to their app. 46% say location increases app value, and would not have developed an app without location.
- The majority of location-aware app developers will port to other platforms. These developers are most interested in the iPhone and Android. Despite Palm and Nokia’s best efforts to lure developers with the Pre and Web OS and Nokia’s Ovi Store, very few developers intend to port to these platforms.
This is bad news for the Palm Pre, which isn’t even out yet (we’re thinking sometime this summer), and could be a serious blow to its app selection at launch. Symbian didn’t rank so hot either, getting only 9% of the developers votes. Why is WebOS such a poor choice for developers? Apparently accuracy and locking speed were big deciders, so perhaps Palm’s web-based programming language doesn’t support GPS properly on that front. To be fair, it’s still very early on to be calling a death-knell for Palm Pre LBS apps, but it is certainly a cause to worry. If you’re interested in a closer look the survey results, feel free to take a gander.