Though Palm initially restricted SDK access to a limited number of partners, the company now says it is ready to take a limited number of applications from developers.

But Palm said not everyone will receive the new SDK right away because it wants a small group of developers to kick the tires on its APIs, tools and docs before releasing them to the rest of the world.

“Our goal is to make the SDK available to everyone by the end of this summer, and to get there in stages,” said Palm Developer Community Manager Chuq Von Rospach. “Beginning immediately, we’ll accelerate the growth of the early-access program,” which “will grow from hundreds to thousands of developers.”

A Major Holdup

According to Medialets, the Palm Pre application catalog has already grown from 18 applications at the smartphone’s launch June 6 to 30 applications as of last week. During this period, the Palm Pre catalog generated more than 650,000 software downloads, the mobile analytics firm said.

Medialets notes that one of the major holdups behind Palm’s release of a public SDK is the Palm Pre app catalog itself. Developers have been continually jockeying to position themselves at the top of the catalog’s “most recent” category by simply posting an upgrade, which changes the date of the app and moves it up the list, the mobile analytics firm observed.