Please tell us more about yourself and your company
As you all probably know, I’m the owner of RNS::, the company behind Hi-Launcher, and popular Treo utilities like TopSelecText or TopNewRingtones lately reviewed at TamsPalm. And many, many other apps for Palm OS.

What were your initial impressions after the webOS announcement?
Looks better than latest ideas from Palm (like Foleo). Perhaps it has future if it is ready to compete with its direct competitors who are much stronger (like iPhone). I like its design. Too bad Palm didn’t put Palm OS on it :-(

What did you expect Palm to do? Were your expectations met?
I expected Palm to do what they did, but… with the old good Palm OS. Now I’m afraid they finally told “farewell” to their first child – Palm OS.

The operating system is said to be web-only. Do you think that its possible to create solid applications in such an environment?
Sure. But it depends on the definition of “web-only” system. Once the developer’s docs are released we’ll have an idea of what is possible on the new device.

WebOS is not able to run old Palm OS code. Can you understand this decision?
Yes, I understand. They just don’t care about the potential they got thanks to the thousands of third-party applications. Now, having written “PACE” (the transparent program that lets older Palm OS applications run on Palm OS 5 devices), how hard can it be to write a similar “emulator” to run these applications on Palm Pre? If they cared, they would create something like this.

Many have compared webOS to the iPhone, thinking that most applications will be crapware. Do you think that a solid economy will be built around the pre?
That’s what I’m afraid of the most: that the answer is: no. Palm is too weak now to “build its economy” :-)

Do you plan to develop applications for the pre? Could you give us a preview?
No, I don’t plan. I plan to switch to the leading platforms, and not platforms without potential :-) Sorry, Palm.

If you could change one thing about webOS, what would it be?
If I could turn back the time, and if I were a Palm manager, then I would not even create WebOS. The time that software architects and engineers spent on creating the new system could have been then focused on updating Palm OS, and bringing it back to life. With the modern design of Pre, I think that this would DEFINITELY bring Palm much more profit, happy customers, and developers! They had the solid ground, which they wasted.

If you could ask Palm one question, what would it be?
At first I thought that I should ask whether they will release any new device with Palm OS. But that would be a ridiculous question. Does anyone still believe they will do so?
As a result I came to conclusion that the question should be why did they kill Palm OS? But I already answered this question myself: because they don’t care about their profits (perhaps they have enough), their loyal customers, and third-party software developers.

So the most accurate question is: “Palm, how dare you not care about everyone who believed in you and helped you raise your operating system?”

Anything you would like to add
Yes :-) Perhaps my question to Palm stated above sounds distressing, but I’d like to assure them that neither I care about their OS now. Neither Palm OS nor Palm WebOS. They are past all belief to me. And I think many Palm OS developers think the same way now. We’re switching to platforms with future, not with failure.

Related posts:

  1. WebOS intro interview – Tunji Afonja, GX5
  2. WebOS intro interview – mobile-stream
  3. WebOS intro interview – Mikhail Barashkov from HandyDev
  4. WebOS intro interview – HandCase
  5. WebOS intro interview – Miro Pomsar, Resco

11 Responses to “WebOS intro interview – Radoslaw Nowak, RNS::”

  1. Wow. Pretty honest. I think he is right about it. The more the amazement of the new hardware wears off, the more it seems like a strategic failure to ditch the remaining Palm OS base. Sure it was small in the end, but now Palm has to start from zero. We’ll see if they find enough new customers.

  2. wow, pretty bone-headed. Sure, palm “abandoned” their existing software base, but to long-time user like myself this is what it was meant to be — a new beginning. The old palm os would have taken more time and effort to upgrade than this new system did to build. Seriously, how would you like to dig through piles and piles of legacy code most of which is horribly out of date trying to drag it kicking and screaming to the present. Sure, it would have been nice if they included some kind of emulator for old applications, but they didn’t. That stinks, but there is a technlogically viable platform to build on now. Anyway, chances are StyleTap will be ported over — so long as palm exposes the appropriate APIs (which it makes sense to do).

  3. Palm has hinted a few times that there may be a separately available emulator. It would make sense for Palm to work with a company like StyleTap or Access to make one. It’d save Palm countless hours of work that they can instead spend on the OS itself. Plus, I believe Palm wouldn’t be able to easily license webOS to vendors if it included PalmOS stuff (though I could be wrong)

  4. Honestly, his software would be useless no matter what on a new operating system, whether it had its base in OS5 or something all new like WebOS.

    All that he sold were programs to add functionality to the Treo that should’ve been built-in in the first place. (And I’ve bought plenty of them).

    If he’s going to be bitter about it, good riddance.

  5. I’m guessing that Palm thought this through, lets concentrate on the operating system, fast, secure, scalable and let third party developers do the PalmOS emulation. Which are out there already but just need to be ported.

    For me its more important the import of data from PalmOS to Palm webOS, not so much the emulation. I would love to run a app and all my Palm memos for example import into the Palm webOS. I’m afraid here is where thinks are going to be more difficult, not impossible, but harder.

  6. Hi Folks,
    thank you so much for talking back!

    I have forwarded this to Rano and hope that he chimes in soon!

    All the best
    Tam Hanna

  7. @Joe: +1

    Let’s face it: there was a lot of “crapware” even on the Treos of today. So many programs that simply remapped a hardware button or showed you the log that was accessible anyway (hello, RNS::?). So you paid for stuff with little functionality. Don’t get me wrong, I liked many of those programs, but how many do I really need? As ong as I can upgrade to the webOS pendants of those programs, I’m fine…

  8. Hi,
    the problem with the upgrades is that they will likely not be free.

    The more effort developers have to make for a port, the more they have to charge. Web Os requires a rewrite, which costs a lot of time.

    There go the free upgrades.

    All the best
    Tam Hanna

  9. Unfortunately, he let’s his bittterness over the failure of the platform he wrote for (and perhaps the lack of success of many of his apps) color his judgement. The idea that Palm should have stuck with Palm OS is ludicrous. P-OS is dead, and has been for a long time. Had Palm tried to build on it, it would have been the final nail in their coffin.

    Will WebOS succeed? It’s too early to tell, but without something as dramatic and new as WebOS Palm was guaranteed to fail.

  10. Tam, agreed, it will be some effort to update the apps.

    On the other hand, many old apps will simply be superfluous. Partly because Palm has adressed the matters in the webOS (Browser, Versamail, Gimmicks that dim the screen or show you the time or or or…), partly because they only made sense in the OS5 context.

    By the way, is webOS = PalmOS 7 (because 6 / 6.1 Cobalt is dead, too)?

  11. Hi Ulfert,
    the word Palm OS is dead for a reason ;)

    Web OS is not the next Palm OS IMHO…it just happens to come from the same manufacturer!

    All the best
    Tam Hanna

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