Yet more movement in the smartphone wars this morning, with Palm opening up its development environment in order to stimulate activity on its platform, while Research In Motion/BlackBerry now boast a music download service of its own, powered by UK digital music company 7Digital. The latter firm also began its assault on Apple’s iTunes’ home turf, launching in the US today.

The first major digital music store to go DRM-free (though arguably, eMusic could lay some claim to this) 7 Digital is well-known in Europe, where it commenced activity in the UK. In the US, tracks sold by 7Digital will cost 77-cents, or $7.77 for an album (standard prices, variable prices also exist).

Tracks are sold in high-quality 320kbps MP3 format, completely free of DRM. “The company also offers a “digital locker” in which all your downloads are backed-up on 7 Digital’s servers in the event you need to redownload them in case of computer failure,” reports Distorted Loop.

The company is offering a free application through the BlackBerry App World store, which gives BlackBerry users access to the company’s full catalogue of 6 million songs. As 7Digital also drives Spotify’s music download service, it’s not unlikely we’ll see Spotify launch properly in the US soon, and potentially offering a music streaming service for mobile phones.

Meanwhile, over at Palm, new hires Ben Galbraith and Dion Almaer, both ex-of Mozilla, delivered a speech to developers in which they stressed that open development would be the way to go, laying a couple of initiatives down that clearly aim to combat Apple’s App Store and iPhone.

Principal in these initiatives:

– Developers can now fully distribute their apps on the Web. They submit apps to Palm and Palm then gives them a URL they can share, there’s no need for a store.
– Apps will not be reviewed by Palm.
– Palm will offer the App Catalog for developers who want to charge for their Apps, membership costs $50.
– Palm is making its WebOS App Development software available for free, waiving the prior $99 fee.
– Perhaps most crucially as the company continues its anti-Apple crusade, the company is to open up its analytical data to any developer who might want it.

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