Traditionally, mobile games were developed by developers who took the risk, and reaped the rewards. A studio called Bravado Waffle has decided to try and turn this process over by using “venture capital” contributed by users.

Read on to find out more about them…

Please tell us more about yourself and your company
I’m Stephen, the CEO and Game Designer for Bravado Waffle Studios. We are a startup mobile game development company based in San Francisco. We are made up of 3 team members right now and we have been working for the past seven months on our debut title RoboArena for the iPhone and iPad iOS devices. RoboArena will be a multiplayer casual strategy game inspired by the classic board game RoboRally, and is just the first of many titles we have slated to develop.

Please describe the program for which you seek crowd funding
We are turning to Kickstarter for fund raising to help us complete the development of RoboArena and start the marketing. Kickstarter is an exciting platform that allows small startup companies and entrepreneurs crowd source their fund raising. Supporters pledge money to the projects they would like to see completed, and get to be a direct part in the development cycle. What makes it even more exciting is the fact that it not only allows you to raise funds, it lets you build a community of loyal invested supporters and fans. These fans are what will make or break your success, especially in the competitive world of iOS Apps. Crowd Funding is fund raising, market research, and community building all wrapped into one!

Traditionally, developers have born the risk of development costs themselves. What has motivated you to deviate from this strategy
Traditions are old and crusty, they are made to be overturned. My question is: Why bear all the financial risk if you don’t have to? Web 2.0 has brought us many ways to waste our time, but it has also brought new and exciting ways for savvy startups to raise funds and build their fan bases. Going the crowd funding route, you literally have nothing to loose and everything to gain. It lets you interact directly with your fans, it lets them be a part of the process and feel like they are part of something bigger, it can endear you to your fan base, and it lets you see just how interesting your ideas really are!

How did you set up the crowd funding process
We researched what it took to run a successful campaign and structured ours so that it had the best chance to succeed. We planned the pledge tiers carefully and weighed the costs involved so that we could set a reasonable and fair funding goal. We decided to go with Kickstarter even though it limits us to a US audience since it is the most popular platform out there and has the biggest audience. This is important for us since we didn’t come into the campaign with a fan base to start out.

Above, you mention that you expect support from the fans who invested into the game. What kind of support do you expect?
Well these fans that are willing to invest in your campaign will likely help you in spreading the word to their friends, and giving your game great reviews. They get to feel like they are a big part of the games production, and indeed they are. Word of mouth recommendations is the very best way to market and advertise a game, and it’s probably the hardest as well.

Given that this is an iOS title, I always include a few generic questions. Do you still see sense in supporting OS 3?
Of course. There’s a ton of older devices out there, and not supporting the previous OS systems would be like shooting ourselves in the foot. Especially since our game is 2D and *hopefully* will be easy to run on them. I don’t know the numbers of those who run the older iOS versions, but I’m guessing it’s surprisingly high.

Do you plan to port your products to other platforms
We’d love to port it to Android as well as release the game on the Mac App store. Steam is also an option for the future that we are considering since it is very indie game friendly.

Sprint’s loyalty to Palm has not paid them well in the past – whenever an article looks at the woes of Palm, commenters start to bash Sprint. If the Pre had launched on Verizon, the world…you get the idea.

In Austria, media has to cover both sides of a story…and I thought that it would be too cool to give Sprint the opportunity to “talk back”. Here is what they had to say regarding Palm:

Please tell us more about yourself and your company
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two wireless networks serving more than 48 million customers at the end of the fourth quarter of 2009 and the first 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; industry-leading mobile data services; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The company’s customer-focused strategy has led to improved first call resolution and customer care satisfaction scores. For more information, visit www.sprint.com.

Why has Sprint chosen to act as webOS launch partner?
Palm Pre is designed to provide the ultimate Web-enabled wireless device seamlessly integrating voice and data capabilities; it is ideally suited to leverage Sprint’s three key differentiators – our dependable 3G network, Simply Everything pricing plans and the Ready Now retail experience. Sprint and Palm have also been close partners in innovation for more than a decade and Sprint boasts the largest community of Palm users in the wireless industry.

Have your initial expectations been fulfilled?
Palm Pre had broken previous sales records (first day and first weekend) for a Sprint device, and continues to an important part of the Sprint device portfolio.

Now that Palm is facing problems, many “blame Sprint” for the problems. What do you think about that?
In 2009, Palm Pre was part of a comprehensive rebuilding of both the Sprint and Palm brands. The combination of Sprint’s robust wireless network capabilities and Palm’s innovative software and designs drove smartphone adoption for years. Sprint has worked diligently over the few years to leverage its strengths, including its robust 3G network, unlimited pricing and newly created improved retail experience with Ready Now. Meanwhile, Palm has been working exhaustively in the development of a new and revolutionary operating system that sets the standard for mobile device user interface, and ergonomic hardware that is extremely comfortable and easy to use. With the announcement of Palm Pre, Sprint and Palm built on that heritage, strengthened their industry-leading positioning and challenged the industry standard.

webOS products are now sold by various channels; often with better specs (Verizon). Has this impacted Sprint’s ability to benefit from webOS?
Sprint continues to work with Palm to introduce enhancements to our webOS devices. We were one of the first U.S. carriers to offer the 1.4 software upgrade our its customers, and will continue to work with Palm to introduce new enhancements.

I know that this is unfair to ask, but will there be further webOS products on Sprint?
Sprint does not comment about the development process for our device portfolio. Sprint is constantly working to bring our customers a strong portfolio of products and services. This includes a variety of form factors, operating systems, price points, features and appearance.

Do you plan to continue advertising the Pre and Pixi?
We have recently featured Palm products in advertising across a variety of mediums, but we do not disclose future advertising plans for competitive reasons.

On a Sprint-wide point of view: are webOS devices leading the pack in terms of sales? Revenue/data traffic per head?
Palm Pre had broken previous sales records (first day and first weekend) for a Sprint device, and continues to an important part of the Sprint device portfolio, but Sprint does not provide sales rankings or usage data for specific devices.

Do you think that Palm will still be around a year from now?
Sprint does not provide forward-looking projections about our partners. Palm is a valued partner, and we continue to work closely with them.

Anything you would like to add?
We are confident in the ability for Palm Pre and Sprint to compete with all the other hero products on the market because no other partnership combines an industry-changing device with the best value in wireless. Palm Pre is uniquely positioned to take advantage of Sprint’s three core differentiators: blazing-fast speeds on one of America’s most dependable 3G networks, Simply Everything(SM) flat monthly rate plans and Ready Now, Sprint’s revolution in the wireless retail experience.

Anything to add or ask? Leave a comment here, and I’ll try to get it answered!

Keen Studios Checkers game was one of the first released for the webOS – it naturally made quite a splash in the community. Jordan Gensler, the head developer, now sat down with us to discuss future plans…

Please tell me more about yourself and your company.
Well, my name is Jordan Gensler. I am the founder of Keen Studios and the head developer as well. The company is currently set on developing webOS applications, but is looking at branching out later in 2010.

Why did you focus on Palm’s Pre?
When Keen Studios was founded, we were focused on Windows applications, but unfortunately the size of that market prevented us from being noticed. We went dormant for a while until I came across the Palm Pre.

I saw so much potential in the webOS platform the I jumped right on-board the fan boat and watched the news carefully until the launch. Ever since we have been dedicated to developing webOS applications.

How would you describe your experience with the Pre so far?
My experience with the Palm Pre has been superb to say the least.

I’m a huge fan of the webOS platform as a whole and developing on it has been a breeze.

Has Palm been supportive of your efforts so far?
Palm has been very supportive of my efforts. Working with them has felt very personal and very simple. They’ve got one of my apps in the catalog.

Where do you currently see the main weakness of the development environment?
The only weakness of the development that I see is the lack for openGL support and the dependence on Javascript.

Javascript is an amazing language and perfect for this type of device, but many developers want to develop native applications for the platform.

Looking at the djstribution platforms: would you be happy if independant ESDs would start selling webOS software?
I’m very happy with the current distribution method.

No other comments.

Do you expect the Pixi to boost sales?
I expect the Pixi to boost the sales of palm phones in general. I think it will be very successful.

Are you willing to tell us a bit more about your future projects?
Sure thing, the next app that will be appearing is Checkers Pro.

After that, updates to the framework of Checkers and Checkers Pro, adding online capabilities. After that, expect Wellow’s Bounce Room. Going out even further we see Chess down the road.

Anything you would like to add?
I would like to speak a bit about our online gaming service, Keen Studios Online, which we will be rolling out to all of our applications.

Basically, a user can register a Keen Studios Online account, either on the app or online at our website. This account will let them login and play against any other users. We will also be rolling our services out to other applications, and we plan on opening our developer portal sometime this October, allowing other developers to add our service.

1a Interview: Berthold Thoma, CEO, Hutchison AustriaHutchison Austria’s CEO Berthold Thoma is known to be extremely talkative when faced with journalists – the interview below has him talking about a few interesting things.

Before diving into the (translated) interview, let me give you some background information from other sources: this carrier has always invested heavily into smartphones due to their multimedia features. Originally being deep in Microsoft’s camp, they have since moved over to the S60 camp (which makes up for about 30% of the offered handset models). The carrier is known for its great service at affordable prices – here we go:

The Hutchison Group was the first to offer free roaming all over its network. Why that?
At Hutchison’s, we are convinced that having cheap data access all over the world is an integral part of information society. We have realized thiis vision inside our group via the 3LikeHome service.

Of course, there is a business plan behind all of that. Our research has shown that cheap roaming is in demand. Lowering prices causes usage to explode: in the first year, voice usage in 3likehome networks increased by 427 percent, with data usage being multiplied by a factor of 90.

Do you think that we will see further carrier mergers?
The trend has already started. Three of the four Austrian carrieirs are already in international networks, which will consolidate even more on a long term.

Where do you see Windows Mobile in two years?
We currently sell three Windows Mobile handsets. Our business customers love the Exchange integration, and Microsoft furthermore does a great job integrating Live into the OS.

I predict that WM’s market share will raise over the next two years. The main risk IMHO is Android…if it continues to fare as well as it did, it could become a significant competitor.

What do you think about S60
S60 has had some problems staying in line with other OS’s, especially when apps and the web browser are concerned. I wonder which future updates Nokia will deploy in order to remain competitive…

The iPhone is said to dominate the handset market. Do you think that Apple can keep this position?
Apple has caused movement in the handset market, but has since maxed out at a 13 percent smartphone market share…which is not something I call dominance.
Nevertheless: customers benefit from every movement on the market which leads to better handsets.

What do you think about picocells?
In general, these do not pay off financially. However, I can envision them being deployed to cover hot spots like shopping centres….

Will VoIP replace classic voice calls?
VoIP definitely is interesting, especially for customers who are into international calls. Teens furthermore love Skype. Unlike most other carriers, we want to help our customers realize the benefits of these services and thus provide pre-bundled Skype with some of our handsets.

As for VoIP replacing classic calls: unlikely.

Opera ASA, the manufacturer of various mobile browsers, has managed to gain a cult following on almost all platforms: Windows Mobile heads love the superb rendering engine, Symbian heads used to love the tabs and Palm OS and BlackBerry heads used Opera Mini to replace their crappy default browsers.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Thomas Ford from Opera Mini on various topics ranging from tab-capable Opera Mini builds to Opera Turbo and Opera for S60 – read on for the full scoop..

Please tell us more about yourself and your company
My name is Thomas Ford. I’m a communications manager for Opera. I started working for Opera in 2005, so I’ve been pretty lucky to watch some of our more recent history unfold.

Opera is the only company in the world that makes Web browsers for all devices. So whether you have a PC, high-end smartphone, Web-enabled TV, or even a Ford F150, you could have an Opera browser there as well.

Despite what some people believe, Opera isn’t a small company. We have more than 700 employees working in our offices around the globe. I think what impresses me the most is how passionate everyone is about the business of building Web browsers. You could look, but I am confident you would not find another company of its kind anywhere.

As it stands now, mobile devices get more and more powerful by the minute. This makes native browsers more and more competitive. Don’t you think that this will squeeze OPM out of the market?
I think despite the advances in native browsers there will still be plenty of room for Opera. Native browsers are really improving on only one type of device: smartphones.

On those higher-end phones we still offer plenty of advantages to consumers, operators and phone manufacturers. For one, we offer Opera Mini and Opera Turbo to help ease the bandwidth constraints on today’s mobile networks. Creating a browser is hard work and we have the experience to make great mobile browsers that consumers enjoy using.

We’ve been doing it for 10 years and that experience gives us the ability to do things faster and more cost effectively for our partners.

At the same time, smartphones comprise less than 15% of the total phone market. By far, more phones are sold without high-end browsers natively. For these phones, Opera Mini is the ideal solution. Operators love it because a better browser translates to more data revenues, so we actively work with operators to offer the same Web browsing experience throughout their device portfolio.

Opera Mini shines on devices where the integrated browser sucks (think Palm OS Treos). As mobile web browsers get better, don’t you think that Opera Mini will fade away?
Rather than fade away, Opera Mini will continue to evolve. Consumers demand a better mobile Web experience, but not all OEMs and operators want to put their resources into making a Web browser, particularly as consumer expectations increase. We can offer Opera Mini very easily to operators they know it will work on almost all their phones, with minimal effort on their part. At the same time, it makes surfing on these phones enjoyable, so more consumers actually use it. This translates into greater revenues for operators while at the same time consumers have a good experience. By addressing both what operators and OEMs need, as well as what consumers want, I think Opera Mini will have a bright future.

I should also point out that there are approximately 1.6 billion people on the Web, but that anywhere from 50 to 60 percent of the world’s citizens have a mobile phone connection. Over the coming years more people will get online with a mobile device than ever did with a PC. I think that trend will continue to ensure both Opera Mobile and Opera Mini remain vibrant products.

What about the future features of Opera Mini? Will it ever get tab support, for instance (the beta was available some time ago).
Tab support is definitely one of the most requested features for Opera Mini. I can tell you that we listen loud and clear to the feedback we receive. Opera Mini 5, when released, will be a major step forward for Opera Mini. I think you and your readers will be quite excited.

The native version of Opera is under pressure as OS vendors improve their browsers (think IE6 mobile). Where do you see Opera Mobile two years from now, and now will it remain competitive?
I think Opera Mobile will support more platforms and will include even more server-side technologies to improve browsing on mobile devices. Due to the sheer size of the required investment, newer mobile broadband technologies are not rolling out as quickly as the newest, most advanced handsets. Opera Mobile will help bridge that gap.

I also think in general you will see more operators and OEMs looking for a single, unified browsing solution across their product portfolio. Opera is the only company that will work with operators and OEMs to create a browser that can work on all their devices. We can even include widgets, for eaiser access to Web-based applications. Our work with T-Mobile on their web’n'walk platform speaks to what we can accomplish when we collaborate with world-class operators.

A version of Opera Mobile which uses the 3d chip of some phones for scrolling has been announced some time ago. Why isnt it available for purchase yet?
Actually, we just announced a beta of Opera Mobile 9.7. It supports some of the hardware acceleration you mentioned. If you have a Windows Mobile phone, visit http://www.opera.com/mobile/download/ to give it a spin.

What about Opera for Symbian? We have heard of licensing troubles with the Flash player in the past…
Clearly consumers now more than ever want Flash on their handsets, primarily to access the wealth of Flash-based video content on the Web. Adobe understands this and we are actively working with them to find a solution.

As far as a browser for Symbian, our current focus is on the widget platform for Series 60. Expect to see news on the browser front sometime this year.

Opera’s accelerator proxy looked very promising in the demo video. When will it become available to end users, and at what price?
Right now Opera Turbo is available for free in the new Opera Mobile 9.7 and Opera 10 desktop versions. All those servers and all that bandwidth comes at a price though, so we are still studying how this affects our business model.

I suspect by the time Opera 10 reaches its final release, we will have our business model in place for Opera Turbo.

When will Opera be available for the BlackBerry?
As a BlackBerry user myself, I would be lost without Opera Mini. If you’re looking for Opera Mobile on BlackBerry that may take some time, so Opera Mini is still your best choice.

Only good things will come from more people using Opera Mini on BlackBerries. For instance, with more people testing and identifying issues, we can fix them faster. Maybe a large user base on BlackBerry will also help us in the same way that it worked for Virgin Mobile. They found a lot of their customers were using Opera Mini, so they reached out to us and we worked with them to perfect our browser on their phones.

Anything you would like to add?
Thanks for the chat. Using our browser is one way to support our goal of making the Web an open resource for everyone. I hope more people discover the mobile Web through Opera Mini.

With the Pre’s release date getting closer by the minute, it’s now time to let a few user speak about what they expect from their Pre’s!

First up is Prof. Jonathan I. Ezor, the author of an ebook on risks related to mobile computing. He states the following:

The Pre is very much the true successor to the TX: full-screen, fast and smooth Internet integration. It will enable those of us for whom the BlackBerry isn’t mandatory, and the iPhone isn’t functional enough, to do real business and manage the rest of our lives anywhere we are.

For me, the Pre will add smoother and more reliable e-mail and Web browsing, areas where the TX, for all its pluses, still struggles, along with real multitasking for background processing.

It will also make it easier and less controversial for tech-savvy individuals to integrate with office IT, since it does not require client or dedicated server software (other than Exchange Server) to connect to Outlook. For my own multi-faceted life (teaching, law practice, and kids and family), the Pre, with its Synergy multi-calendar and multi-e-mail account support and Web-based tools, makes perfect sense.

I’m disappointed, though, that Palm did not add even a microSD slot to the Pre; given that I have 16 GB in my TX (courtesy of Dmitry Grinberg’s PowerSDHC driver), I’m actually going to have less onboard storage if I switch to the Pre. (Hopefully, Palm has or will add software support for an external microUSB thumb-type drive or card reader, for expanded storage and security.)

I’m also counting on Palm to provide Bluetooth keyboard support; it’s unthinkable to me that Palm wouldn’t, given how long external keyboards have been available for the PalmOS (remember PiloKey?), but it so far has not confirmed such support. I use my Bluetooth keyboard *a lot,* and if Palm refuses to support one, it might actually prevent me from switching to the Pre.

Next up is Carla Morelli from FreyerMartin, which is a really weird (but interesting) financial agency which specializes on bill management for individuals:

I’m on my third Treo in five years. First was a Palm OS, the next two were Windows Mobile. I own an 800wx today. The Treo’s concept was so attractive that I kept upgrading hoping to get a model that worked effectively. I’m about to throw the 800 out the car window and run it over. The crunching would feel good. Office Mobile is worthless, PDFs are impossible to work with, and the phone, frankly, is a mess. I reboot at least weekly, sometimes two or three times in a row. The battery life is inconsistent – it swings between not so hot and atrocious.

I liked the iPhone, but I’m on Sprint – and I’m not wild about the keyboard. I’ve been considering a Blackberry, but am afraid I’ll miss the touchscreen. If Palm had come out with another Treo, I’d say forget it. If it’s a completely different platform, it may be worth wait to see what people say.

Finally, it’s time to look at Nathalie Chiles from MemoryMavens, who specialize on photo archive management:

I am a current Palm owner (Treo 650) and am salivating at the mouth for the Pre. I just found out today that Verizon may be carrying the Pre in the new year, and because of my husband’s employer we are a Verizon family, so I can’t WAIT to get my hands on it. I’m tired of the clunky Palm software- it’s so outdated. I’m very hopeful that the new Pre is parallel to or perhaps exceeds the iPhone, but it seems it’s been hard as a consumer to get enough info on it other than “it’s going to be way cool.” I also hope the plan isn’t too ridiculous- I’m dreaming of checking my email on my phone.

With that, let’s end this post for now – what do you expect the Pre to improve?

Peter Shankman’s HARO service is extremely useful, as it allows bloggers to reach literally thousands of users with little effort. My query regarding Palm’s Pre has led to a torrential flood of email hitting my inbox – from now on, user opinions will be posted for your enjoyment frequently.

Our first “user” is Sam Dependahl from Jarvis Communications, who has some pretty interesting ideas:

I’m excited about the Pre. I actually check all of the blogs and search Google News every day for the updates. That being said, I will not be buying a Pre any time soon. For most of 2009 I was set on buying it the day it came out, but the more I thought about it, the less sense it actually made.

I have a Treo Pro which I absolutely love, and it doesn’t make sense to give it up for a new, unproven OS. Even if the Pre is as ground breaking as the reports, it will take a long time (if ever) before it has the apps to compete with the competition.

I think it might also have a bit of an identity crisis. I don’t think it will ever have the cool “it” factor of the iPhone, and will never be taken as seriously as RIM or WM for business users. I love Palm, and I really hope the Pre lives up to the hype. I’ll give it some time to prove itself in the market before I get one.

Keep in mind, I am not a tech expert and I’m not in the phone industry.

Mobile content providers have always made me wonder about the economies of mobile computing – they run extremely expensive ads, sell very bad programs and yet don’t die off.

I recently had a cup of tea with somebody from this industry who wants to remain anonymous but nevertheless wanted to talk…here’s what our buddy had to say:

Do you sell subscriptions only?
We advertise subscriptions only. However, individual downloads can also be bought via the web sites.

Does the heavy MTV, etc advertising pay?
Well…first of all you must look at it this way. We buy huge amounts of airtime…so our total cost is much lower than what you see on the rate cards.

On average, well, we pay a few hundred thousand euros a month…and it obviously pays out for us.

What’s your average user?
Dumbphone user – no heavy-duty smartphones in here. Age ranges from 13 to about 19…and the users arent too smart. This actually makes our life easier, as piracy becomes a non-issue.

One more facet you will likely be interested in is that we have over 90 percent female users for some love or partnership related fun apps…

How long, on average, does a customer stay bound?
I don’t want to say more here as this would give my identity away…but it’s about four and a half months for all of the industry.

What happens if users are on prepaid and run out of cash?
We try to bill his card for about two months…and then give up eventually… . Our company is not too big on lawsuits…they don’t pay out for us…

Do you do native S60 or PPC apps?
Hell gee, mate. Covering all S60 boxen gets you 20 percent of the market at best. J2ME is king here…and also keep in mind that most of the sales come from music or photos.

How can an ISV do business with you?
Not at all – find an aggregator.

You have to think of it this way: we sell hundred thousand and more positions. For us, 60 items is nothing…we usually wont even negotiate with you.

Why not offer individual apps as subscriptions?
Please don’t say that I sound haughty if I say that all business models possible have been tested. The current model works best – believe me on this one.

Did the German Jamba lawsuit affect your ability to do business with minors?
I have to say that this is largely irrelevant to us, as it was limited to a single county of Germany. We sit in a different county…so no impact here.

After that, my informer was picked up by a mate…so the story ends here. Nevertheless, much of this was new to me, and hopefully was interesting!

What do you think?

Our final interview partner for the WebOS interviews is HandCase. This Brazilian company has often been parodied on TamsPalm due to their insanely written press releases. Cutting a long story short – English definitely isn’t their mother tongue.

Nevertheless, their CEO Ricardo Garay is very talkative – here is what he has to say (edited a bit by me):

Please tell us more about yourself and your company
I originally started by creating the first-ever online RPG for the Brazilian market back in 1997. We then started to grow very fast…in the last 4 years and with a portfolio of 323 products, we can be considered one of the biggest software makers for Palm OS.

What were your initial impressions after the webOS announcement?
When the entire team of developers at Handcase’s, including me, saw the minimum specifications provided, we did not like it at all. Palm did not clarify the crucial question for developers…

On the other hand, the WebOS seems to make users pretty happy…

What did you expect Palm to do? Were your expectations met?
Palm has definitely proven its success once again. All people who talked crap about Palm now have to shut up.

While developers like me are not too happy, we tend to say that the user is god. And the user apparently is very happy!

The operating system is said to be web-only. Do you think that its possible to create solid applications in such an environment?
In the case of software, just turn real software into a bunch of scripts.

Let us not forget, software is software, script is script.

But if you do good work with scripts, you can quickly adapt applications. However, you must remember that your scripts will depend on the server. Ie you will not have applications, but rather web services. With this approach began to spread that release 100 web services, based on 100 of our applications (including some not yet been released in English, and they exist in Portuguese, at least 1 year).

WebOS is not able to run old Palm OS code. Can you understand this decision?
This is no decision.

This is the only point to be resolved by Palm. When the Palm killed the PQA service, over 25% of developers closed. Palm will not be stupid, repeating the same mistake.

For us the effect would be minimal, and the small but, as will be? So who is big, has breath and can redo his apps. Small developer on the other hand… There is no arguing about what this. The legacy PalmOS, must run in WebOS. Nothing less than 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?
iPhone will end. I am not saying this because the Palm Pre born. Always said this. Here in Brazil, gave interviews and talked to journalists, saying this. Explico, iPhone does not have:
killer app; 95% of developers worldwide use PC, will not change from PC to MAC; no serious company, will produce a major application, to sell to 99 cents; no company will produce an application or game, to sell at a single store, where the owner let her.

Could list other reasons. Lisa, Newton were two cases that help to illustrate what I mean. Time will tell if I am right.

And yes, undoubtedly there will be a world around the WebOS. I believe that many web developers, will unite and form an army of developers to Palm.

Do you plan to develop applications for the pre? Could you give us a preview?
As I said earlier, we will develop 100 web services, which are based on our applications.

We have an advantage, as we were developing something about a year but had stopped because the web browser in these cases is crucial, and Blazer was not good enough. Now it has become feasible. We deliver the first 3 web services in each segment (personal, professional, leisure, security, medical, corporate), ie, the first 18 in the coming months.

If you could change one thing about webOS, what would it be?
Make it compatible with old Palm OS applications.

If you could ask Palm one question, what would it be? (these will be collected and sent to Palm)
When will we hear more on application compatibility for existing software?

Anything you would like to add
All the best to all Palm users and TamsPalm readers! Ah…and don’t forget to visit www.handycase.com/eng/freeware.htm…we launch a new freeware program every month!

The web OS is out for quite some time – while Palm has answered quite a few questions, many still remain open. Our intro interviews are coming to an end soon (we have one more) – but let’s now see what the fine folks at mobile-stream’s have to say!

They are in an unique position as they offer both system apps and very nice games…will the webOS suit them?

Please tell us more about yourself and your company
We are a small independent developer.

We have software for various mobile platforms (Palm, Symbian, iPhone, Windows Mobile). Our well-known Palm applications are:
Landscape – the only utility which made it possible to use Sony CLIE TH55 in landscape mode
USB Modem – USB and Bluetooth modem which allows you to tether your Palm smartphone to a Win/Mac/Linux computer;
Card Reader – USB Mass Storage and Bluetooth File Transfer for Palm devices.

What were your initial impressions after the webOS announcement?
Mixed feelings.

I’m glad that Palm did a good job. Their new device has excellent hardware. It has a modern look and feel. The market seems to have accepted it. Just see how Palm stocks went up after the announcement – a good sign.

There has been so much hype about web services and web projects lately, that it is little or no surprise that a certain company has decided to make web-only smartphones. Though I did not expect it would be Palm. Even Google did not make its Android a web-only OS.

What did you expect Palm to do? Were your expectations met?
Again, mixed feelings. Good for Palm, for Palm users and followers.

But our knowledge and experience (with USB protocols or with Bluetooth profiles) are not needed here. Either we’ll do something else or we’ll go to other platforms, there are so many nowadays.

The operating system is said to be web-only. Do you think that its possible to create solid applications in such an environment?
Lately the idea of web services has been very popular. We’ve seen many examples of that on desktop computers. Now time has come to smartphones.
It is possible to create solid web services. That’s just a very different way from an old Palm scene. Some old Palm developers will switch from Palm to other platforms, some will start to do web-based projects. New companies (mainly with web development experience) will come to Palm.

WebOS is not able to run old Palm OS code. Can you understand this decision?
Yes, I can. Sometimes attempts to maintain compatibility are too clumsy, it’s better to get rid of an old heritage at once.

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?
WebOS itself does not mean crapware. It is possible to create good and interesting web apps and web services.

You mention iPhone in your question about crapware, though it is not Web-Only smartphone.

If you ban CorePlayer or TomTom but allow all sort of Fartware – there will be crapware. If the minimum price is 0.99 – there will be crapware. In case of Palm WebOS much will depend on the business model, on how all those web apps will be distributed.

Do you plan to develop applications for the pre? Could you give us a preview?
It’s too early to say anything. We’ve not seen that JavaScript SDK.

We still hope that some day there may appear a native SDK.

If you could change one thing about webOS, what would it be?
Do not make it web-only. Allow some native app development at least in Java.

If you could ask Palm one question, what would it be?
Is there a chance we’ll see a native SDK ?

Anything you would like to add
It is not connected with the interview questions. Just in the past year we all thought that after Christmas Palm software sales would drop dramatically. It did not happen. In some cases there is a small decrease, but generally they remained constant. There are still many purchasers with Palm Centro. So for us there is still old good Palm.

Our next interview partner is Tunji Afonja from GX5. His company is famous for a variety of applications which added “coolness” to Treos – let’s see what he has to say on webOS!

Please tell us more about yourself and your company
My name is Tunji Afonja. I started Gx5 in 2005 to create software for mobile device, particularly the Treo. We are fortunate to have very good success with apps like UltimatePhone and Quick Memos. We have also developed apps for the iPhone and Windows Mobile.

What were your initial impressions after the webOS announcement?
Due to insider sources, I kind of knew what was coming, but I was very much impressed with the total execution.

What did you expect Palm to do? Were your expectations met?
Yes, my expectations were met and exceeded

The operating system is said to be web-only. Do you think that its possible to create solid applications in such an environment?
Yes, read this article http://www.tunjiafonja.com/tunjis_weblog/2009/01/palm-nova-and-3rd-party-apps.html

WebOS is not able to run old Palm OS code. Can you understand this decision?
Great decision. Don’t bring old junk into a new os. Users need not worry as all those apps they are using now will be available within the first month of release of the Pre and they will be much better.

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?
Well there are two kinds of iPhone apps.
The web apps are crapware because Apple provides no apis that allow developers to create robust apps.

There is crapware in the app store because of Apple being perceived as hostile to developers and not allow apps to be publish, thus developers and not trying to innovate on the iPhone and creating trivial apps. The opposite should happen on the Pre. Palm developers have always been one of the most innovative and with this new platform that Palm will open up, we will see the next wave of innovation

Do you plan to develop applications for the pre? Could you give us a preview?
Yes, but we have no previews yet. This is a completely brand new platform with new capabilities and thus we need to properly plan new software.

If you could change one thing about webOS, what would it be?
Flash, Flash and More Flash. Adobe Flash I mean.

If you could ask Palm one question, what would it be?
When will we have Flash support?

Anything you would like to add
We are baaaaaaacccckk!!!! And we are ready to kick butt

Please tell us more about yourself and your company
My name is Miro Pomsar and I’m working for Resco Palm Division. We produced a number of popular applications such as Resco Explorer or Resco Backup. (To name the most popular ones.)

I’ve been working with Jan Slodicka since Resco started producing PalmOS software, so I was more or less involved with every application on this platform.

What were your initial impressions after the webOS announcement?
webOS seems nice, but I hoped for a native SDK (think C, C++).

For some applications javascript might prove good enough but for anything advanced native processor power is needed. I must say I like the idea of cards and multitasking. Also the notification area is well thought out.

I’m not sure about the value of the facebook and gmail and eventual other web services integrated into the base installation. For example the Facebook community may be large, but it is stil a small minority.

Well, a difficult question – Palm bet on the web services, hence some
examples must be preinstalled…

What did you expect Palm to do? Were your expectations met?
I expected a powerful and nice device with all the common features (3G, BT, Wifi, GPS).

But this is the baseline, I expected a SDK and a clear development strategy, f.e.: how to move/port existing (PalmOS) software to this new platform, IDE, emulators, examples, etc.

To this day nothing was released, but we shall see. So right now I’m, happy with the hardware, but slightly unhappy with the software.

The operating system is said to be web-only. Do you think that its possible to create solid applications in such an environment?
As I said, for some apps this might be good enough (especially when the data crunching is offloaded to a web server).

For others such as audio, video, docs, (encryption, compression) etc. it won’t. As far I understood Palm wants to provide needed services (such as imaging) case by case based on demand.

I see this strategy as some sort of “lego” development, where Palm provides the blocks (gui controls, audio/video decoding) and programmers put these blocks together.

It will depend on the number and versatility of these blocks whether or not this strategy will be successful. In any case the creativity of the developers will be seriously undermined.

WebOS is not able to run old Palm OS code. Can you understand this decision?
On the one hand there are thousands of apps for PalmOS.
However:
- There is no way old apps would look up-to-date on this device.
- Many of the thousands of apps are no longer maintained, so even a slight modification is not possible.
- Many of those apps, are rather simple and can be replaced by web apps
right now.
So I understand that decision. (Still I at hoped for Palm to have a clear porting guide.)

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?
I don’t know for sure, but have the feeling that the developer situation will be more difficult with WebOS than it used to be in the old Palm OS era. Also part of the iPhone crapware problem is AppStore.

So we must first see what the Palm “AppStore” answer will be.

Do you plan to develop applications for the pre? Could you give us a preview?
Not right now, we will evaluate the SDK once ready. Also we would start with porting some of our apps, before creating brand new ones.

If you could change one thing about webOS, what would it be?
It is too soon to say.

If you could ask Palm one question, what would it be?
Why didn’t you contact more developers about your new platform?

Our next interview partner is Gregory Sokoloff from StyleTap. The Palm faithful expect him to deliver a Palm OS tool for Web OS, while the folks who jumped ship praise him for allowing them to keep their apps.

Let’s see what he has to say:

Please tell us more about yourself and your company
StyleTap Inc. was founded in 2000 by Robert Chew and me. At the time, Palm was completely dominating the mobile device market, and a large and successful application ecosystem was thriving around Palm. We believed that other entrants into the mobile device market, like Microsoft and Symbian, would have a very hard time ever getting so many great applications written for their new operating systems. As I’m sure you know, rewriting software is very expensive, and developers are loathe to do it unless there is a big incentive, and the more fragmented the market, the smaller the incentive for any given rewrite. So we came up with the idea of providing a runtime system that would enable binaries written for the Palm OS to run on other operating systems without any rewriting. The only problem was the very daunting technical challenge of achieving the goal we set out for ourselves–however, we did it.

What were your initial impressions after the webOS announcement?
It’s early to give much in the way of impressions because Palm is not yet actually shipping the product. So far, we have only seen the webOS in the best possible light as a part of a marketing launch. Nevertheless, I admire Palm for having the courage to be captain of their own ship. Whatever else it is, webOS will be Palm’s own creation.

I would also add, that I think there is plenty of opportunity for Palm to create a better mousetrap. Smartphones today may have a lot of functionality built into them, but they sure could improve in the area of usability. I’ll give a couple of simple examples. The first really useful function that came with early smartphones was the ability to keep all of your contacts on the phone so that you didn’t need to carry around a paper address book. And yet to this day, it is awkward maintaining these contacts on your phone: the carriers do not generally provide an automatic OTA synchronization and backup service even if the phone has client software that could take advantage of such a service (e.g. SyncML). So the hapless smartphone owner is left trying to synchronize her phone contacts with Outlook on her PC, and that process leaves a lot to be desired.

Another example is looking up somebody’s telephone number. You would think this need would have been met from the start–but no! With our new Symbian version of StyleTap Platform, we are shipping a wonderful little application called tryDA which will do a white pages lookup, and reverse lookup, of phone numbers over the air. Of course, you could just use the web browser on the phone, but this a much more awkward and slow procedure. Anyway, my point is that this kind of obvious function should have been a part of smartphone offerings from the beginning.

I have more examples, but I’ll stop there.
 
What did you expect Palm to do? Were your expectations met?
I was not surprised by the announcement.
 
The operating system is said to be web-only. Do you think that it’s possible to create solid applications in such an environment?
I’m not sure that it is web only. It seems to me that you could create standalone apps, just that they must be written in Javascript. That said, there certainly are drawbacks to this approach. A Javascript application is in source code form, and thus developers are vulnerable to giving away their assets if they deliver their products in Javascript form. Maybe this doesn’t matter so much for some applications which are web applications where most of the value is at the server end. Neverthess, it seems instructive that Apple abandoned this approach for the iPhone within weeks of announcing it, and committed to allowing developers to write native applications.

A couple of other issues are performance and API coverage. Javascript engines are getting faster and faster, but they will always be slower than the best Java runtimes, and they in turn will always be much slower than native ARM code. Palm is going out on a limb here a bit. Their competitors are all providing alternatives that should theoretically provide faster performace (e.g. Symbian, Microsoft and Apple allow native execution, and Android uses a Java runtime). I can say from our experience, the fact that StyleTap Platform supports native ARM code execution and high performance has definitely been a factor in our success.

We’ll have to see about API coverage, that is, just how much of the hardware capabilities are made available through the Javascript APIs to the application developer. This is often a big deal for developers: they don’t like to be shut out from taking advantage of everything the device has to offer. In the early days of StyleTap Platform, we used to get many requests for additional APIs specific to certain devices we supported. In response, we added what we call Native Library Support, so that developers could access their own custom DLLs from StyleTap, and thus they could get access to any native APIs they needed without being forced to completely rewrite their app.
 
WebOS is not able to run old Palm OS code. Can you understand this decision?
We’ll have to see what the situation is down the road when Palm actually ships the pre. This could obviously be a problem for Palm. With StyleTap Platform, Palm OS apps can run on Windows Mobile, Symbian and soon iPhones, but perhaps not on the Palm pre. Palm could be left with the smallest application library, instead of the largest–a position they have traditionally enjoyed.

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?
Too early to tell. As for the iPhone, I think there is a major problem with the app pricing. If the price is too low, and only a few best sellers are actually profitable, there won’t be a solid economy, and developers will get disillusioned and stop investing in new and improved products. Palm may well learn some lessons from Apple’s mistakes.
 
Do you plan to develop applications for the pre? Could you give us a preview?
We’re well aware of the situation, but don’t have anything to comment on at the moment.

If you could change one thing about webOS, what would it be?
No comment.
 
If you could ask Palm one question, what would it be?
No comment.

Anything you would like to add?
No.

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.

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