Smart Phone Platforms

Robert Scoble: "He says on Windows Mobile and other phones it's getting downloaded far less often than that. Westergren told me if he were starting development today he'd build for the above three platforms and is seeing more growth in Android than the others, so he'd bias to iPhone and Android, if he had to make a choice of only two platforms to develop on. This is also what I'm hearing from many other developers." - Yep. I love me some iPhone development, so much so I wish I could find a way to do it full time. Having said that, Android is looking more and more like a solid number two, with the Palm Pre coming in at number three in my book.

My brother, who co-developed RxCalc, is dug in at Verizon for mobile service, and he's looking at Droid for his next phone. Not a bad choice.

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Fool bearish on Palm

The Motley Fool: "Palm's issue isn't the quality, price, or configuration of the Pre. Yes, the early evidence isn't encouraging, but hey, it's early evidence. I'm more concerned that Palm is priced as if the Pre is already an iPhone killer -- and I'm not about to take those odds." - Palm has a special place in my heart, so I'd like to see them stick around, but is it a little too late?

Let's see if the Pre can save the day!

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Lowest common denominator

Wired: "Sepulveda's comment is focused on what sets webOS apart from other mobile environments: It only requires programmers to know JavaScript and CSS, which are simpler and easier to learn than other mobile programming languages. That's in contrast to iPhone's Objective C based Software Developers Kit (SDK) or Android's Java based tools." - There you go. Everybody can now be a developer. I can imagine the Dancing Hamsters application for the Pre. Wink, wink. I'd rather learn Objective-C, but I have a definite Mac lean these days. They're playing to the web designer, not developers, which will open the doors to a lot of folks that otherwise wouldn't be able to develop. You can create web apps for the iPhone but the serious applications are written in Objective/Cocoa, why's that?

I hope this works for Palm, I really do. It's a huge risk. But as we all know, with huge risk comes huge reward, if you hit the mark.

BTW, have you, as a traditional developer, ever had to work with CSS? It's harder to learn than a new development language, like C++, or Ruby, or Python, or Objective-C. It's really quite strange to work with. I think the place to be is at Palm, as a developer on the OS, that would be fun!

Oh, and it'll support Flash.

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Posted by Rob at 7:26 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Death of an OS

TG Daily: "Chicago (IL) - There never will be another smartphone to utilize the Palm OS. The company announced today it will begin a transition to webOS while also supporting Microsoft Windows products. The current Centro smartphone will be the last phone to utilize the Palm OS." - This is really quite sad. I'm the proud owner of a Palm Centro. I love the OS! It does a lot of things really well, like synchronization, they nailed that years before Apple ever go into the game. Heck the even have, are you ready for it, Copy and Paste! Have had for years and years! I like Palm, I really do, but I just don't see why they had to completely drop their OS instead of evolving it? Just was was wrong with it? I'm afraid there were a bunch of folks sitting around, drinking, one night saying things like "Gee, Linux is so popular. We should dump our current OS and write something new on top of Linux!" Linux, she's not that great folks, other than being free, not that great, sorry.

Will webOS be Open Sourced, or did they get around that somehow? I know this post sounds like I hate webOS. I don't. I just don't understand the motivation behind the move, that's all. They're giving 30,000 developers a new OS to adopt, heck, why not move to the iPhone now? It will be just as costly to most Palm OS developers to move there as it would to jump to the Pre.

I'm sure the story is bigger than any of us understand. There's the whole relationship with Access, the new keepers of Palm OS, that probably helped push this decision, but that was a whole different mistake made by Palm years ago, wasn't it?

On a side note, I'll bet resumes are pouring into Palm! Goodness knows it would be a very exciting project!

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Posted by Rob at 2:04 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Palm Pre, better than the iPhone?

I didn't think they could do it to be quite honest with you, but it looks like Palm may have come close to out doing Apple. I was skeptical, like everyone else, but this phone is something! The Palm Pre user interface is beautiful, the phone design is super nice, and the slide out keyboard is sweet.

I haven't explored it too much yet, but it looks like it has a brand new OS, which is apparently Linux based. It's called WebOS and apparently uses web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for creating applications. That's a little troubling to me. What about all the existing Palm applications?

From the development weblog...

"And good news for Palm OS developers! There are a number of ways to migrate data from a an existing PDB file to your new WebOS app. Stay tuned for more information for developers with Palm OS applications who want to build WebOS applications."

That could be a big whoops, but only time will tell.

The other bad thing, it's Sprint only. Kudos to Sprint for having the guts to give this a go, it's going to do for them what the iPhone did for AT&T. Some people will cancel their existing service and jump to Sprint just for the phone.

Here's the full press release.

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Posted by Rob at 7:17 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Palm throws a Hail Mary

SFGate [via NerdyNews]: "Palm, maker of the Treo and Centro phones, has fallen behind Apple's iPhone and Research In Motion's Blackberry in the highly competitive market for smart phones, the Internet-enabled devices that serve as mobile computers. Catching up will depend in part on whether consumers flock to Palm's new but long-delayed operating system, Nova, which may be released in January." - Palm has managed to run itself into the ground. They had a substantial head-start on everyone else then they started making bad decisions. I've always been a fan of Palm, the OS especially, but it now looks very outdated. You'd think they'd take a queue from Apple and give their devices and OS a facelift, but no, they haven't. Now they're boarding the Linux bandwagon hoping it'll somehow magically revive them. How can changing your OS choice fix anything? Was the PalmOS, and BeOS, so bad you couldn't use them? The one good thing they did was make sure Nova will run with old apps. Hopefully, just hopefully, they'll provide a compatibility layer so all those legacy applications can move forward. That's worked quite well for Apple, hopefully Palm can pull it off.

Good luck fellas, you're gonna need it.

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Palm, you'd better respond soon

Palm has a new phone, the Treo Pro, running Windows Mobile? Are you kidding? When are we going to see something with the new form factor, iPhone like, running a reloaded user interface? Why not use the fine Palm OS with a new shell? Yeah, yeah, I know, easier said than done, but very necessary if you want to compete with iPhone. There are already a few clones on the market, get with it or you'll be buried guys. I like Palm, it has a special place in my heart, I used a Handspring Visor for years and loved it. Spruce up the existing Palm OS, virtualize the keyboard, or come up with something revolutionary and give us a big display.

Then again... maybe they're after BlackBerry, and this form factor is where it's at? At least the Palm has a touch interface.

Here are the Treo Pro specs.

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Posted by Rob at 10:17 AM | 1 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

About

Rob Fahrni has been a Software Developer for 20 years. He's developed DOS, Windows, Linux, iPhone, and Palm based applications in C, C++, Objective-C/Cocoa, C#/ASP.Net, and, yes, even BASIC...
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I work at Pelco. The opinions expressed here are my own, and neither Pelco nor any other party necessarily agrees with them.

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