A few days ago I got a mail from the developer who ported an emulator that lets you use real PC apps on a Palm. It’s the Palm OS port of the well-known DOS emulator DOSBox. It doesn’t only emulate an x86 CPU but also a DOS environment, so you can’t install another x86 operating system. But you can run many DOS apps / games in this DOS environment, even Windows until 3.11 and maybe even Windows 95 / 98.

This version is the first alpha release and very buggy, of course. But I can confirm that it’s no fake, and some things already work relative well:

  • CPU emulation works without many problems (though it’s relative slow)
  • 80 columns x 25 (43) rows color screen
  • VFS access
  • mouse is controlled by touchscreen, but very uncalibrated
  • my Tungsten C and my on-screen Graffiti 2 inputs aren’t recognized

The port contains all necessary program parts in one PRC file which is about 400 KB. In the app you can set the size of RAM and some CPU settings. Other settings can be stored in a file dosbox.conf in the root directory of your card, for example autoexec commands.

As this version doesn’t support entering text – at least on my Tungsten C – I have to set the app I want to start in the auto execution list of dosbox.conf. This works, and I can show you some screenshots:

DOSBox command prompt

t07 A true x86 emulator for Palm   first facts and pics

Microsoft QBasic

t02 A true x86 emulator for Palm   first facts and pics t03 A true x86 emulator for Palm   first facts and pics

Microsoft DOS Shell

t01 A true x86 emulator for Palm   first facts and pics

Microsoft Word 5.5 for DOS

A screen mode with 43 (instead of 25) lines is also supported!!!

t04 A true x86 emulator for Palm   first facts and pics t06 A true x86 emulator for Palm   first facts and pics t05 A true x86 emulator for Palm   first facts and pics

I’m already waiting very long for such news. A DOS emulator is, of course, NOT meant to be a replacement of Palm OS. But it makes you able to run your old DOS games on a Palm, to write small scripts in QBasic or to run apps that aren’t out yet for Palm OS.

I don’t want to upload this here yet because I don’t know if the developer agrees and I want to ask him first. But I want your feedback – now. And perhaps you have some feature requests I could send to the developer. So please comment.

Related posts:

  1. A new version of the DOS / x86 emulator for Palm OS?
  2. ACCESS publishes Garnet VM Emulator
  3. Leaked shots of the Sony PS One emulator
  4. LJP – the Treo 600 Gameboy Emulator
  5. LJP emulator updated

156 Responses to “A true x86 emulator for Palm – first facts and pics”

  1. Hi Alexander Gratz,

    I want to run third party controls whose binaries are build for x86 in arm processor device having WinCE OS

    is it possible by using this emulator ..

    or how i have to modify this emulator

    thanks in advance.

  2. What exactly do you want to run?

  3. Hi Alexander Gratz,

    like third party active x control whose source code is not with me so i have to use x86 binaries for running that on arm processor.

    thanks in advance.

  4. This emulator does not just emulate the processor but also the operating system (DOS), an own hard drive, … so I’m not sure if this is what you’re looking for. Furthermore, this application will only run on Palm OS (not Windows CE).

    You might use Google and search for Bochs or Dosbox for Windows CE.

  5. Hi Alexander Gratz,

    Thanks for your suggession , now i am trying by some other approach.

  6. hello
    i’m a palm tungstein t2 and i’m trying dosbox .
    but on my palm screen i’ve got this

    ———————————————————————————
    Tungstein | T2 Palm oooooo
    oooooo
    ———————————————————————————
    no tape system detected !
    tap the screen to continue
    Loading, please wait …

    ____________________________________________

    O | | O
    O |abc 123 | O
    _____________________________________________
    ___ ___ ___ ___
    |___| |___| (o) |___| |___|

    _____________________________________________

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