When I decided to release Binary Clock for Palm OS(it was a toy project for a long, long time) I was shocked to find out that it didnt work any more on my classic Palm IIIc running OS 3.5.3. It worked fine for OS4 and OS5 – thus, a warning dialog was slapped on and the product was released. Did I loose much cash? Nope!

People who have very old handhelds usually don’t buy any more new software – they have what they want and dont feel like upgrading. Companies like Lotus ruined themselves by making an enormous fuzz about compatibility with old hardware and benefitted nothing in the end.

If you have a handheld thats like 5 years old and goes for a buck on ebay, how likely is a person to buy programs for it? He usually is satisfied with the current state of his handheld and will never add extra programs(exceptions exist, albeit rarely). OK, for Binary Clock’s desk clock function, supporting the IIIc would have been nice – but the first handhelds well suited as desk clocks were the m5x5 series running OS4(rechargeable battery and universally usable color screen).

When looking at past hardware compatibility, IMHO, OS4 is a reasonable compatibility target for all applications that can’t benefit from ARM nativity. Loads of OS4 handhelds are still in use…so why not profit from them while not having major disturbances in the development process. However, the extra revenue from OS 3.5 users is not worth the extra effort(IMHO)…

What do you think?

P.s. Add in that Palm IIICs and Palm V’s can easily be upgraded to OS4…the upgrade files float around various web forums!

Related posts:

  1. Binary Clock 4.1 released
  2. Where gremlins suck…
  3. Fixing a Palm Vx touchscreen
  4. Ding-Dong, a Binary clock?
  5. Training wheels…or why people rarely drive unicycles

4 Responses to “Why supporting OS3.5 doesnt pay out”

  1. “the upgrade files float around various web forums!”… Palm never released a free update, so all these “various web forums” offer illegal software :-|

  2. Hi,
    full ack here…but all I wanted to say was that someone who really wants to get it, can get it in the end…

    Sort of like with dope…its illgal in austria but theres still good economy around it!

    Best regards
    Tam Hanna

  3. You are right, it doesn’t pay out.
    I just try to maintain maximum backward compatibility:
    1. by respect to the beloved users of my software :-)
    2. because it’s fun to code having this challenge in mind ;-)


  4. Hi,
    to be honest, you just made me try it out too. Maybe version 4 will run on OS 3.5!

    Its economical nonsense…but challenges are cool!

    Best regards
    Tam Hanna

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