When Amazon released the Kindle Fire, many a developer was left wondering why Amazon forked Android and rolled a browser of their own – even though “Silk” is not bad, better browsers exist.

The folks from VisionMobile recently published a very interesting analysis, the key passage of which is below:

Routing the Silk browser’s traffic through its own servers allows Amazon to collect click streams — and not just when the user is shopping on Amazon.


It would make sense to license out the Silk browser to OEM manufacturers of smartphones or other tablets. … the OEM gains an additional revenue stream as a broker of Amazon foot traffic.

Find out more via the URL below:

http://www.visionmobile.com/blog/2012/09/the-kindelization-of-tablets-part-2-the-silk-strategy/

Parker and Marshall Minardo, most famous in the PalmOS world for the Saguaro widget engine, which after a few years of development was scrapped. After scrapping this project, the pair was unsure of where to go. Apparently, they made the right choice in going to the iPhone:

Parker and Marshall Minardo, owners of a software company called EdgeRift, created a $1 iPhone application called Emergency Radio that gives users access to more than 1,200 radio feeds from police, fire and emergency frequencies around the country.
Within days of its launch in early May, the application shot up to No. 2 on Apple’s list of paid applications. As of Friday, Emergency Radio was still ranked in the top 40.
More than 180,000 iPhone and iPod Touch owners have downloaded Emergency Radio, and the application is currently averaging between 1,000 and 1,200 downloads per day, said 20-year-old Parker, Edgerift’s CEO.

The boys net in 70% of each sale, bringing in more profit than they probably ever got in PalmOS sales…

Congratulations, Parker and Marshall. Now come develop for the Pre ;)

Read the full story: Tucson brothers create iPhone sensation.

It’s this part of the year again: while the rest of the world is running around celebrating and accepting usury cup deposits of more than 2 Euros per cup, yours truly is sitting in front of his MSI Wind U100, creating a reflection on the events of the year.

From a Palm OS point of view, 2008 should be known as the year of the big decline. The end and resuscitation of PalmGear left developers in stasis, loosing over 80% of the sales volume on this (once big) channel. Companies are fighting to pay their wages; many of them have already had to let go staff and are preparing to abandon the Palm OS (or the mobile market in entity).

Palm Inc has done little to reassure or help developers. While Nova is rumored to drop shortly, it currently has even less of a developer support program in place than the Foleo originally had. This is understandable as they had to worry about their “post-peak” Centro sales – which apparently tank worse than originally expected.

Surprisingly, I feel that the US recession IMHO has helped the Palm OS economy to some extent: as Palm OS devices usually work quite well once configured properly, device owners have little issues with “deferring” their upgrades to a later point of time when income is more easily disposable.

2009 will be the year of Nova – this platform alone will decide on the future of Palm Inc. Their insane business decisions (e.g. no handhelds) can work only if backed up by an unique sales proposition: if people are unhappy with a WM device, they can always go to a competitor…

P.S. Similar thingies will pop up at our sister sites shortly. In case you are interested in my outlook on any of the platforms below, just hit the link and enjoy!

PPC Christmas (about Windows Mobile PocketPC devices) @ TamsPPC
Christmas with Symbian @ TamsS60
iMas (on iPhone and iPod touch stuff) @ TamsIJungle
ChristBerry (about BlackBerry devices) @ TamsBlackBerry

 SMS prices on the rise in AustriaAustria is a lovely country. It is small, has a population of about 6 million people, lovely food, loads of shrinks hunting smartphone owners (had to do it, sorry ;-) )…and about 10 carriers fighting for the 6 million aforementioned folks (who, on average, have more than one phone each).

This has led to a huge price war – carrier managers repeatedly bicker about how the lower and lower fees damage their ability to remain profitable. Nevertheless, the lever gets lower by the minute…we are now down to 4 cents/minute without a contract of any kind.

Hartlauer’s marketing department has proven to be a good friend of the Tamoggemon Content network for quite some time, as they send us a free brochure containing all kinds of stuff once a week. This time, it contained a comparison of tariffs from 2005 and 2008 (click for bigger German version). Needless to say: minute prices have fallen insanely…
Dezember 2008t SMS prices on the rise in Austria

So far, so good. But when you look at SMS, you see that all of the five carriers included into this survey have raised SMS prices by more than 25% in the last three years. What cost just 20 cents in 2005, now costs 25 cents across all of the five carriers who do contracts.

While my comparison definitely is skewed to some extent (I have excluded special SMS deals), it nevertheless shows an interesting trend. Carriers are moving away from the “mainstream”, looking for niches where revenue can be generated (think SMS, apps, mail boxes, calls to foreign countries, etc).

The carrier landscape in Austria is shaking as smartphones allow for new revenue models – let me recommend an application that helps our aforementioned friends scam smartphone users passing them by automatically…

Image: Wikimedia Commons / Rüdiger Wölk, Münster

A recent report by Standard&Poor’s names Palm one of the few companies endangered by the current sub-prime crisis. I personally am not surprised – here is why I think that Palm is the worst possible place for money invested into mobile computing.

We best – ignore industry trends
In the last years, Palm has repeatedly ignored industry trends. As an example, let’s take proper web browsing. Insider sources have told me that Opera repeatedly approached Palm with an offer to create a web browser for the platform…only to be ignored.

Palm seems to live by the NIH syndrome – if it’s not invented here, it sucks.

We don’t need money – ignoring the Palm faithful
While we all agree that the PDA is a dying breed of handheld, I wonder why Palm doesn’t offer a step-gap solution for its customers. HP still offers PDA’s, and furthermore offers smartphones that combine big rectangular screens with a keyboard and a phone.

We gamble – betting all on one form factor
Continued from above: if Palm wants to make smartphones only, why do they have to bet it all on one form factor. Yes, the Treo is well-done – but it takes many phones to make a world. Why not offer a touchscreen-only device, a flip phone and a slide-out keyboard one?

This diversification of the platform would make selling Palm devices (and the Palm experience) much easier. Instead of forcing customers down one road, why not let them choose which way they wish to go?

We great – kicking third-party developers in the butt
The final – and very grievous – topic involves Palm’s handling of its developers and enthusiasts. Web sites like the PocketPC FAQ have existed for ages; developers have created PocketPCfoo apps enhancing the operating system.

Palm, on the other hand, feels that this is not needed. In fact, it even is impossible to advertise products for Treo on AdSense nowadays – if that isn’t an effective way to slow down the Palm ecosystem, what is?

In the end, it all comes down to the age-old problem of self reflection and proactive management. Palm’s management seems to lack both capabilities: the company’s recent life can be described as luck and turmoil (IMHO). Palm needs to refocus on its old core values of “being the platform that works best” – unless they do that quickly, we can IMHO short their stock…

What do you think?

Some of you have recently criticized my increasingly negative stance on the future of Palm OS Garnet and its successor OS, Nova. As the TamsPalm team believes in reader feedback, here is my personal opinion why I feel that Nova will fail to become more than a short blimp on the mobile computing timeline.

The mobile computing market has changed significantly due to the iPhone. An even broader range of customers now understands the value of third party apps (last but not least due to heavy advertising on apple’s part) – and will be hesitant to purchase a non-expandable phone.

Stunning applications, however, are created by talented developers. As mobile-capable coders are extremely rare, their man hours are precious. System houses thus love to have huge ROI – but getting big ROI is difficult on a platform which has very few active devices roaming around the markets.

Unfortunately, getting devices out isn’t easy. Customers want to have a handset that is cool out of the box – which is somewhat difficult to accomplish if you don’t have any third-party apps.

Let’s now assume that a lightning bolt fries the brains of Palm executives and makes them pray to developers and offer free Nova devices and a final SDK tomorrow…I am pretty sure that the response of most of them will be bored yawning. The reason: Palm unfortunately has a long history of not shipping stuff.

Cobalt’s failure is quite an old story – but the hundreds of man hours that went down the drain with it are still very present in developer’s minds. The public disaster around the Foleo then did the rest to drive developers off the edge: a product which essentially was ready to ship was killed.

Even though I am pretty sure that the developers who participated in the pre-release program were compensated to some extent (to keep them from suing or selling their Foleo off to the highest-bidding journalist and declaring it lost), the public perception of the deal was catastrophic (as everybody thinks that the orange boys f##ed them over big-time).

The situation above looks like a classic catch-2 – and it probably is just that. Unless Palm takes radical measures to ensure developers of success (read: guaranteed sales), Nova will be ignored by third-party coders not contracted by Palm. This will lead to a huge lack of third-party programs, which slows device sales. This will then lead….you get the idea.

What do you think?

Traditionally, Handango’s yardstick report provided loads and loads of tables from which analysts could derive lovely figures for their readers (look at our coverage of 2007 for an example). Unfortunately, the recently-released document doesn’t bear any similarity with the yardsticks of former times: it is a slim, one-page PDF containing very little info. Nevertheless, read on for the most interesting things!

First of all – here’s the traditional table of best-selling devices (this time averaged over all platforms). Handango always supplies two lists – one looks at the devices which have generated the most revenue, while the other one looks at the devices from a pure number-of-sold-apps perspective:
By revenue
1. BlackBerry 8830 World Edition
2. Palm TX
3. BlackBerry Pearl
4. BlackBerry Curve
5. Motorola Q (5.0)
6. Nokia N95 (S60 3rd Edition)
7. BlackBerry 8800
8. AT&T/Cingular 8525 (5.0)
9. Nokia E90 Communicator
10. Palm Treo 700p

By # sold
1. BlackBerry 8830 World Edition
2. BlackBerry Pearl
3. Motorola Q (5.0)
4. BlackBerry Curve
5. Nokia N95 (S60 3rd Edition)
6. Palm TX
7. AT&T/Cingular 8525 (5.0)
8. BlackBerry 8800
9. Palm Treo 700wx
10. Palm Treo 700p

Handango furthermore provided the following information broken up per platform:

RIM (BlackBerry)
The top-ranked content categories for BlackBerry this year were Entertainment, Games and Business & Professional. However, the top 10 individual applications sold for BlackBerry represented numerous categories. BlackBerry had four devices in the top 10 list of smartphones adding content in the first half of this year.

The top 10 best-selling applications for BlackBerry in First Half 2008 were:

1. Ringtone Megaplex (ringtones)
2. Colour Your Trackball (trackball customizer)
3. VoiceControl (voice command)
4. BBSmart Email Viewer (email enhancement)
5. SplashID for BlackBerry (information security)
6. Ringphonic Lite (ringtones)
7. Pimp My Pearl (customization)
8. IM+ (instant messenger consolidator)
9. eOffice (productivity suite)
10. IM+ for Skype (instant messenger consolidator)

Palm OS

Palm OS has not released any new devices in 2008 and therefore, Palm OS devices have fallen out of the top 10 list of smartphones adding content.

The top 10 best-selling applications for Palm OS in First Half 2008 were:
1. SplashID for Palm (information security)
2. VoiceControl (voice command)
3. PocketMirror Standard (personal information management)
4. Agendus Professional Edition (personal information management)
5. Agendus Desktop Edition (Outlook synchronization)
6. Traffic – One City (traffic)
7. SplashID for Desktop (information security)
8. Ringo Pro (ringtones)
9. eWallet for PCs (information security)
10. PocketMirror Standard Upgrade (personal information management)

Windows Mobile Standard (formerly Smartphone)
While the top 10 individual applications span several categories, Windows Mobile Standard users continue to focus on fun in 2008, as Entertainment and Games remain the top two categories for the platform. There are no Windows Mobile Standard devices in the top 10 list of smartphones adding content in the first half of 2008, whereas the Motorola Q and the ATT 8525 both made the top 10 list in the second half of 2007.

The top 10 best-selling applications for Windows Mobile Standard in First Half 2008 were:
1. MobiTV (streaming television)
2. Ringtone Megaplex (ringtones)
3. SBSH Facade (home screen plug in)
4. eWallet Professional Edition (personal information management)
5. Documents To Go Premium Edition (productivity suite)
6. PocketStreamer Deluxe (streaming media)
7. Agenda One (calendar manager)
8. SmartphoneNotes (note manager)
9. Jeyo Mobile Extender for Outlook (text messaging)
10. Photo Contacts Pro (phone features)

Window Mobile Professional (formerly Pocket PC)
Three Windows Mobile Professional devices made the top 10 list of smartphones adding content in the first half of this year – the ATT Tilt, the HTC TyTNI II and the HTC Touch. The Games category leaped to the number one position in the first half of 2008. The Business & Professional category remained in the number two spot, followed by Entertainment.

The top 10 best-selling applications for Windows Mobile Professional in First Half 2008 were:
1. Spb Mobile Shell (today screen plug in)
2. MobiTV (streaming television)
3. Spb Pocket Plus (today screen plug in)
4. Pocket Informant 8 (today screen plug in)
5. Spb Backup (file backup)
6. eWallet (personal information management)
7. Spb Phone Suite (phone features)
8. Ringo Mobile (ringtones)
9. Spb Time (clock)
10. SOTI Pocket Controller-Pro (desktop synchronization)

Symbian
Productivity and Utilities applications remained the top two categories, respectively, in unit sales in the first half of 2008 on the Symbian platform. The top device for Symbian OS continues to be the Nokia N95, which launched in 2007.

The top 10 best-selling Symbian OS applications in First Half 2008 include:
1. Quickoffice Premier (document manager)
2. ProfiMail (email viewer)
3. Handy Weather (weather)
4. Advanced Call Manager (call manager)
5. X-plore (file management)
6. WorldMate Professional (travel assistant)
7. IM+ for Skype (instant messenger consolidator)
8. LCG Jukebox (music player)
9. Advanced Device Locks (security)
10. Ultimate Voice Recorder (voice recorder)

Now that we have the raw data posted, it’s time for a small analysis. The first and most impressive thing is the position of the Palm TX – the device is extremely old and completely outdated hardware-wise; but still managed to get the second place on the revenue chart. Even though this may be claimed on the high prices for Palm OS programs, its high postion in the sales number figure corrects this to some extent.

Looking at S60: the extremely strong sales of Nokia N95 and E90 applications are unsurprising (for me). The N95 has sold like mad – and the people using Communicators have had to replace most of their existing software due to the OS change (which IMHO explains why the box is only in the revenue list…these apps tend to be extremely dear).

As for Windows Mobile – the SPB dominance remains unbroken. 7 of the top-ten PPC applications now come from this Russian house – a monopoly situation I have never ever seen anywhere before.

Gamers will be less than happy, as no games are in the top applications for S60, palm and WM. BlackBerry users seem to be the most playful – Sudoku and a Poker simulator both made it into the top-10 on this platform.

Unfortunately, the growth speed analysis made last year can no longer be done – Handango didn’t itemize the growth figures on a per-platform basis (no idea why)….

What do you think?

P.S. In case anyone wonders why no iPhone programs are listed: the sale of iPhone applications is handled by Apple exclusively (there is no third-party store)…

Last week the iPhone 3G was released to much fanfare. Along with the new 3G speed and features comes the ability to install applications via Apple’s iTunes store and GPS. Why does it seem like I am the only one steamed about the new phone?

Let me start by saying this: I don’t own, nor have I ever used an iPhone or an iPod Touch. My belief is that there is little behind all those fancy interfaces worth playing with. And the kid in my French class wouldn’t let me toy with his.

The phone itself is definitely one of the better phones on the market without a doubt. It’s spawned more carrier rivalry knockoffs than there are brands of LEGO Knockoffs, especially from LG as of late. The device is just plain cool. So why is lil Ryan so hot under the collar?

Two things: The company and the company’s supporters. Yeah, I expect a lot of, er, wonderful comments from you “Apple can do no wrong” people. You’re the ones I’m writing about, so open up and listen for a while. Apple keeps screwing you boys over and over and, for some reason or another, you welcome it with open arms and shouts of praise!

First it came with the initial release of the iPhone and Touch. Apple delivered a solid phone on time but they told developers they would not be able to develop native applications and would have to rely on the device’s webkit based browser, programming in ajax or another web app language. This limited the devices’ usefulness throughout the first “generation” (more on the quotes later) yet very few people seemed to mind, for some reason. Past that, the devices were solid, albeit fairly overpriced, and the blogosphere and geeks alike went mad over the thing, even over the imo gimmicky multitouch interface (I see that being more use on a larger screen, a la the Win7 demoes people have been throwing around)

Then came the price cuts. Within three months of the phone’s monumental release Apple slashed prices by 200$ with much public outcry. The blogosphere was practically up in arms, the major media, even, had something to say on the matter, yet the fanboys were strangely silent. Apple tried to make amends with the mainstream by giving the early adopters a 100$ credit to the Apple store. Why not? It makes Apple look like the saints they seem so keen on portraying themselves as and they still get to keep all the money they made on the deal. All it did was screw over the early adopters who were brave enough to step out.

And now the latest chapter in what I’d like to term iMania (please don’t sue): the shiny new iPhone 3G. Why isn’t anyone mad about this device? Apple’s “first generation” (I am quoting this because I hardly consider sticking a 3G radio in the first iPhone constitutes a generation) iPhone was, lack of third party SDK withstanding, with one notable fault: it ran on AT&T’s slower 2G network rather than their superior 3G network. So, Apple one-upped themselves with the 3G’s ads proclaiming a better-than-iPhone iPhone and light years ahead of the, what, six month old “first generation” iPhone? And, hey, made it even cheaper! 200$ with a two year contract gets you an iPhone 3G. Maybe the 4G will be free… <_< How bout those early adopters, Apple?

And best of all, the world loved it. The 3G is one of the most talked about things on the market. Hell, it completely dwarfed the release of a new colored Centro, also on AT&T. We can blame Palm for picking a bad release date, but isn’t a new color on a nice stable device about as noteworthy as Apple putting the screws to their user base? Am I wrong in thinking there is a problem with how Apple treats their hardcore user base? Should they be able to get away with defecating on the people that made Apple what it is, and get rave reviews for it, no less? Would Palm get even a fraction of the slack Apple’s been cut?

The shut-down of PalmGear.com hit a few good friends of mine hard as PalmGear sales have drooped to almost zero(customers have sent me loads of complaints about application purchases not working). A sign of the downfall of the Palm OS… Motricity sells eReader to Fictionwise. A sign that ebook services are dieing for good.

When one looks at the headlines coming out of Motricity recently, one could feel that the worst doomsday visions of mobile technology analysts have just become true. Apocalypse is here…hope you all paid your taxes and donations on time.

But is this really true? Are the markets really going down? Or is it just a big reorganization inside of Motricity?

Let’s take a time trip back to 2007 – April, to be precise. Alex Bloom(director of PalmGear et al) gives a very interesting interview; and states that:

We have three more business areas: content distribution for carriers(e.g. MediaMall….ringtones, wallpapers et al); ringtone/etc sales(aka Jamba…MTV ads for ringtones et al) and various SMS related services

we plan to emphasize subscription billing

Looking at the world(just turn on MTV for a second), one can immediately see where the money is at home. Cash isn’t made by selling shareware applications to power users…money is made with teenagers willing to pay 3€ a week for some kind of ringtone/wallpaper service(so much for subscription billing). OK – the shareware department definitely never worked at a loss(looking at their truly insane margins); but its ROI definitely cannot compete with ringtone peddling.

And this leads me to a different theory: I think that someone at Motricity’s is trying to increase the total ROI of the company as far as possible(probably the new stakeholder) by selling off or killing all departments that do not have as high profit margins.

I expect more doom-and-gloom messages to come, but will remain calm and unaffected – what do you think?

Astraware is a fixed name in the Palm OS/PDA game market. Astraware’s Chief Executive Officer launched a blog post looking at the future of Palm OS games, and also takes a “stab” at titles like Zap Evolution.

In short, Howard’s message is that hardcore gaming freaks have died out and made way for casual gamers – but get the full scoop here:
http://www.astraware.com/company/blog.php?entry=38

Jan Slodicka showed me a lot about Rescos development machines and how the 4 programmers and the tester work together. (Talking about the Palm division only; Resco has more work force in PPC dpt. and on the enterprise projects.) Lets dive straight in by looking at the machine configurations!

Rescos dev machines
Most of the people working at Rescos are still using CRTs there seem to be rather few LCDs here, and I saw no dual monitor workstations either. The machines themselves are of varied age, there seems to be a lot of classic Compaq hardware in use.

The IDE
Rescos Palm division uses Metrowerks CodeWarrior for development. CW is used even for the Symbian development. Desktop part is done using MS Visual C 6.0.
Metrowerks tools fit the bill very well and are more than comparable to the MS tools apart from stability problems.
Jan has a habit of keeping feature lists, etc all in CodeWarrior(text files).

Bug tracking
A bug tracker was installed generally a few years ago, however, the developers never got accustomed to the system and fell back to using text files and Excel sheets. Their tester still uses the bug tracker occasionally.

Revision control
Revision control is handled by Microsoft SourceSafe. SourceSafe is in use at Rescos for more than 10 years without any problems whatsoever the merge difficulties are perfectly normal according to Jan.

Testing methodology
The developers do limited testing using both simulators and real devices. The tester works primarily with real devices. The Sinulator is used also for making screenshots. We had a photo of some of their testing devices in the first part of this series look at them here!

Multiplatform strategy
Rescos multiplatform strategy consists of rewriting the program for each operating system in a separate offer common code base is small – low level libraries for imaging and zipping, desktop component for the Viewer and server components for the WorldCup application. No multiplatform-SDKs are used for UI look reasons. (Jan says that this decision was taken because of past experience with multiplatform development for the desktop systems.)

Selection of applications
Resco strategy is to concentrate on a few strong titles created in a close co-operation with the user community. This demands heavy investments in the initial phase, but results in products with higher added value and longer life cycle.
Overall, I hope that you enjoyed this smorgasbord of interesting facts about Resco. I consider their development system very interesting and probably also very effective! Tune in soon for information on what Jan Slodicka thinks about the Palm OS economy(and its ESDs).

What do you think?

Resco is an uniquely interesting company because they sell similar products for Palm OS, Symbian and PocketPC so if one company can make qualified discussions and comparisons, its by almost all means them. Jan gladly shared with me a few very interesting insights but before that, we need to look at a significant part of the Resco history.

The Resco history – short
Essentially, Resco was a PocketPC company right from the start the Palm OS development division was added only much later by aquiring JSoft, Jan Slodickas company. There are more than 15 PocketPC people, but only 5 Palm guys at Rescos; one of the Palm guys also does Symbian!

Platform sales a few significant examples
For Resco, PocketPC generally is the top selling platform(if you look at the history, this probably explains why though). Palm is second, and Symbian development was an expensive venture that didnt quite pay back. Please treat the following two apps as case studies:
Resco Sudoku
Resco Sudoku was released for Palm OS and PocketPC nearly simultaneously. Both applications have similar look&feel. The PocketPC version outsold the Palm OS version approximately 5:1.
World Cup Mobile 2006
This application was released for Palm OS; PocketPC and Symbian. Palm and PPC versions had very similar look&feel, Symbian version was a bit weaker. The PocketPC version outsold the Palm version 4:1, and the Palm version outsold the Symbian version 5:1.

The Top 10 selling devices
As a special gift from Resco I can bring you a top-selling devices list from one of their software distributors. The following devices purchased the most licenses in the last quarter:

  • Dell Axim X51v
  • Motorola Q
  • Palm Treo 650
  • Palm Treo 700p
  • Palm TX
  • HTC TyTN
  • Cingular 8125
  • Palm Treo 700w
  • Dell Axim X50x
  • HP hx4700

3 moths ago the order was(the Palm OS devices kept their positions – the shifts were in the PocketPC camp)

  • Dell Axim X51v
  • Motorola Q
  • Palm Treo 650
  • Palm Treo 700p
  • Palm TX
  • Cingular 8125
  • HP iPAQ hx4700
  • Dell Axim X50v
  • Palm Treo 700w
  • Audiovox PPC 6700

I am not totally sure about the significance of these numbers after all, Resco is mainly a PocketPC company that runs the Palm department more-less separately. Also, there are less Palm developers than there are PocketPC folks so as said, I am not the one who wants to interpret these numbers.
How would you interpret them?

A TamsPalm user sent me a very interesting email asking for answers on how the Palm Treo 680 will affect the Palm OS economy as whole. Since the answers could be interesting for everyone and he agreed to have it answered publicly, here we go:

Yes… Palm OS. I read your opinion on the PalmSource forum. I think if I were starting over again that I would err on the side of caution and choose Windows Mobile but, when I was considering the development platform back in May of 2005, the Treo 650 was easily the best thing that I could find out there. The fact that PODS is free also helped.

A year ago, the Palm OS’s market situation still looked a lot brighter than it did now. At the moment it looks like a close tie.

As for the development environment, the freeness of development tools shouldn’t be the platform decider(IMHO – but I do it too sometimes). If you pay 50$ for a development environment but sell 50 times more, you will quickly recoup your investment. PODS itself is obviously ‘different’ from most other environments, but becomes usable after a few hours.

Palm OS development itself also has a few weird quirks – but as said, once you an do it, you can do it. The benefit of the initial steep learning curve is that there are rather few new developers, which leads to more $$$/app.

Out of curiosity, has your opinion brightened on Palm OS now that the 680 is out on the market (this being a clear sign, along with the perpetual OS licence agreement, of Palm’s future direction with the OS)? Would you invest more time in Palm OS development work or would you wait on a big 680 success story? I do believe that Palm OS has a BIG opportunity as the OS for the general masses (essentially moving down from its business position) and that Palm Corp. stands to make big bucks here. Furthermore, I suspect that the true geeks among us, who see the 680′s merely incremental improvements over the 650 as an indicator of pending doom, are missing the point Joe-average buyer will very much be wowed by this phone.

For me, Palm OS Treo hardware sales success and Palm OS software sales success are entirely different pairs of shoe. Many Palm users who buy a Treo never ever think about installing third party software – and the more the Treo replaces the Symbian semi-smartphones, the more such users you get.

The Palm OS economy gets fueled by advanced users who see their Treo as mobile computers than can be extended. If you pay a high price for the privilege of doing Treo, you will probably think about what you bought. If you, on the other hand, get the Treo 680 for 1 with the contract, you probably will see it as a dumbphone just like the Nokia one you had before.

Would you answer any of the questions differently?

Now that the dust has begun to settle about Palm’s perpetual license of Garnet, a few seething questions still remain(in developer’s minds). This article is just my personal opinion though – so please don’t buy stock on it, and feel free to discuss!

First of all, this purchase shows that Palm seems to understand the value that its third party developers make for the platform. OK, Windows Mobile now has a load of stunning apps too, but the diverse application landscape of the Palm OS still is mostly unique for a mobile OS. So, keeping developers happy by keeping their API alive pays out.

This insight probably didn’t fall from the sky though – Nokia gave a great example of what happens when you piss off developers by releasing an incompatible S60 revision.

Palm’s purchase of the Garnet environment allows them to do exactly the opposite of what Nokia did – they can now swap out the old Garnet kernel and kick a new one in; or they can create a Garnet emulation environment(PACE, anyone – Garnet is a huge Os4 emulator mostly) on whatever host OS they want to use.

Palm also saves a lot of licensing fees with this purchase on the long run – they must have some kind of longterm usage in mind with the IP that they just acquired, for else they would have just kept paying a per-box licensing fee.

Essentially, this IMHO is a bit of a good sign for Palm OS developers. While now always is a good time to look out for another OS to support(as Seth said – Do or Die), a one-OS shack owner should now be able to sleep a bit better. I will run another article on how Palm’s future lineup will look soon – for now, what about sharing what you think?

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