As we mentioned here, the TamsPalm team is going to be taking on the task of reviewing most of the popular launchers available. This is Part I, where we take a test drive with Propel.

Propel by Iambic, is an alternate launcher for Applications, Memos, Documents, Files and Contacts on your handheld device. After you download and run the installer, you can choose wether to use Standard or Professional version. (This review focuses on the Professional Version).

screen1 Launcher Review Series Part I   Propel

Clicking the “Yes, let’s go!” button will launch Propel, where it will refresh your data. Unfortunately my device crashed during this process. Upon reboot, Propel says it has crashed, and the problem was with my Memos database, and to check it to make sure there are no problems.

screen2 Launcher Review Series Part I   Propel

I checked my Memos, and everything seemed to be fine. I even deleted many of the Memos I really didn’t need, hoping that I might delete the one(s) that caused the problem, but that did not fix anything. This was very frustrating, not being able to even get Propel to launch, but we did like that it at least specified where the problem was, instead of just crashing without any error logging (although, we wished it wouldn’t of crashed at all!).

Finally I was able to have a crash-less refresh, so I was able to actually use Propel (I changed the Application that handles Memos from Memo Pad to PsMemo, and that seemed to solve the problem, but I have no idea why)

screen3 Launcher Review Series Part I   Propel

Launching Applications was a little harder than I would’ve liked, as Propel uses a nonstandard scroll bar, but maybe it was something I just need to get used to. The real killer feature for Treo users is the ability to launch applications by pressing the letter of the app you want to launch. Propel will then show you a list of apps that start with that letter, where you can either navigate to what you want to open with the five-way, or further specify your search by typing in more letters.

screen4 Launcher Review Series Part I   Propel

Although technically you can also do this by using the on-screen keyboard with your 320×480 Palm PDA, it certainly is not as easy because the keyboard is not always on-screen.

Propel has a bunch of different views that can be used to launch anything from Music to Memos to Contacts, and this worked well.

screen5 Launcher Review Series Part I   Propel screen6 Launcher Review Series Part I   Propel

(Blacked out by me)

screen7 Launcher Review Series Part I   Propel

Propel has many different options, and this seems sort of overwhelming when you first start using it.

screen8 Launcher Review Series Part I   Propel screen9 Launcher Review Series Part I   Propel

screen10 Launcher Review Series Part I   Propel screen11 Launcher Review Series Part I   Propel

One option that doesn’t seem to be available, is adjusting the font size on a area by area basis, i.e. I personally like the font for the Applications quite small, but everything else larger. When I set the font small, it makes the top tabs really small and hard to press.

screen12 Launcher Review Series Part I   Propel

Another thing we disliked, was the way to select Application tabs. If you have more categories than one screen width can “fit”, then the only way to get to these other categories is to press the little arrow buttons to the left or right side of the tabs.

screen13 Launcher Review Series Part I   Propel

The problem is that the arrows change the categories one by one, so I had to press that button about six times to get to my last category. Maybe instead of this, there can be a drop down menu or have the tab area support icons so you don’t overflow one screen, but whatever it is, this needs a little work. Propel also has a nifty little feature called Favorites that allows you to specify Favorites for stuff you access often. For example, you can select some Applications as Favorites and also some Memos, and when you select Favorite Mode everything else will be filtered out, except what you have preselected.

screen14 Launcher Review Series Part I   Propel


  • Ability to not only launch Applications, but most types of other data too.
  • Favorites feature
  • Type to search (esp. for Smartphone users)


  • Instability
  • Hard-to-use tabbed interface
  • Overcomplicated
  • Font Size only adjustable on a whole view basis
  • Statusbar cannot be taken off-screen in Propel (I know some people like to do this)
  • No double column list view to maximize space

In Conclusion

The idea and attempted functionality of Propel is great, make it a “one stop shop” for most of your data on your device, if you will, but the implementation is a little weak. This software attempts to do a lot of things, and some things it does well (like the Favorites), but it really needs a serious overhaul to do them all right. If you’d like to try out Propel, and see if it fits your needs, a free trial can be downloaded here. Unfortunately a TamsPalm Shop discount was not possible for this review, as we normally do, but Propel Professional Edition can still be purchased at full retail price here.

Related posts:

  1. Propel launcher 2.3 from Iambic
  2. Launcher Review Series Part II — Appshelf
  3. Launcher Review Series – Introduction
  4. “Ringo Pro”: Review, part 1
  5. SplashID 4.03 review Brand New Ways to Protect Your Data

6 Responses to “Launcher Review Series Part I – Propel”

  1. Hi,

    did you try a database check program for your memos? I think there is one, written by the developer of DateBK.

    Or you could take Bird and see if their are “strange” (empty, or without content) records in the memo database.


  2. Why is Initiate ( and Propel exactly the same software (different skins) but from different developers? Notice the status bar on top, they both have the same icons and colors, the scroll bars are the same, the configuration screen is the same

  3. @Alex

    I used the new “TealScan”, and it said I had two 0 Byte Empty Records, I told it to delete them, and it didn’t change anything. I could run DbFixIt and see if it “sees” anything.


    I have no idea.

  4. Probably because Iambic has a history of being a bunch of sleazeballs and likely ripped off Hobbyist.

  5. Hi,
    hmm – I could enquire with iambic about that!

    As for iambic, you can think of the company what you want – but please do not get offensive towards the company. Publicly defamating businesses helps no one; but can get lawsuits brought in against both you and me.

    Best regards
    Tam Hanna

  6. Well, OK, but it’s an opinion based on things such as their registration awhile back of domain names of their competitor, Pimlico’s DateBk, for example. It could be that they properly licensed Propel, but their past hijinks makes me skeptical and is part of the reason I’ve never purchased any of their products. I’ve tried some of them, but they rarely last more than a day or two before I remove them for being bloated, slow, and overly intrusive. Again, this is only my opinion based on their actions and my experience with their software.

Leave a Reply



You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Subscribe without commenting

© 2013 TamsPalm - the Palm OS / web OS Blog Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha