CWmike writes "Palm opened up its webOS developer program to the public this week in a bid to close the gap with the number of iPhone and Android apps. Palm will also open up its application distribution channel to developers and Web sites, giving them access to detailed information about applications and statistics, such as the number of downloads. This will allow them to build their own application directories and application ranking mechanisms, Palm's Katie Mitic said. 'As an incentive to developers interested in building their own directories, Palm is offering $1 million to the developer with the most downloads of free and paid applications between February and May, Mitic said. Palm also announced a plug-in development kit for WebOS that allows developers to extend the OS's capabilities using code written in C and C++. Over time, these plug-ins will be incorporated into the software development kit, she said. The plug-in development kit will be released at the Game Developers Conference in March, but a handful of game developers have already put the kit to use. EA Mobile, Laminar Research, Gameloft and Glu all released games that were developed using plug-ins. Those games include 3D titles, such as EA Mobile Need for Speed Undercover, and are now available.'"