Palm’s secret sauce for its Pre smartphone is its clever WebOS software; it’s the tech that’ll carry into future Palm phones. Palm now appears to be trying to inject some much-needed gaming fun into the platform, looking to hire a game programmer.
A job listing has popped up indicating that Palm is looking for a “Game Frameworks Engineer,” requiring a familiarity with 3-D hardware acceleration and pixel shading. It’s basically an indication that Palm plans to expand the graphical code that underpins WebOS. Some future version of the firmware will be capable of serious graphical feats–enough to get some good 3-D gaming action on the Pre. Currently WebOS is pretty limited in this regard, which will seriously limit how much Palm’s app store can expand into games, even though the SDK is now out in the public.
Meanwhile, Apple’s iTunes App Store continues to experience explosive growth, with thousands of increasingly sophisticated games coming to the fore. The platform also has a gaming-centric future, ably demonstrated by the boosted processing power of the new 3G S version and the 3.0 firmware. It’s a model that Palm would do well to follow, hence this new job.
To be frank, Palm has to expand the capabilities of its device. Given what appear to be sluggish sales of the Pre, a slow uptake of app sales due to Palm’s surprisingly slow release of the Mojo SDK, and rumors that the next WebOS device is being held back, Palm must be trying to do whatever it can to ensure the future of its smartphones–and itself as a company.