Please tell us more about yourself and your company
iambic was founded at the end of 1993, starting off developing solutions for one of the very first PDAs, the Apple Newton. Making it easy to do time and expense tracking while on the go was the primary focus. Later, in 1994, the company expanded its area of focus to include personal information management (PIM). As a result, Action Names was born.
Through the years, that application evolved into what is now Agendus, currently available for Palm OS, Windows Mobile, Symbian, BlackBerry, as well as Windows desktop PCs.
During the last few years, we have expanded our portfolio with the introduction of a number of titles with broader reach (from personal productivity, to vehicle management, to health & diet focused) on the popular mobile platforms being used today (BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Palm OS, Android, and iPhone).
In a nutshell, our mission is to empower users to make the most out of their time wherever they are –on the go or at the desk–, through the creation of easy (and fun)-to-use, yet powerfully customizable solutions.
What were your initial impressions after the webOS announcement?
Mixed feelings. From a User Interface (UI) / end user perspective, its a shiny, user friendly, and touch optimized solution. Probably the only one so far that can stand next to the iPhone’s look & feel without shying away. Native apps seem well rounded and nicely tied together. However, I am a bit disappointed by the decision to abandon backward compatibility with legacy Palm OS apps, but not surprised.
What did you expect Palm to do? Were your expectations met?
I was expecting Palm to develop an in-house operating system for their next generation phone, so under that perspective yes, my expectations were met.
The operating system is said to be web-only. Do you think that its possible to create solid applications in such an environment?
My understanding from what I read around is that the applications, despite being “web only” run within the OS itself, and that suggests that WebOS carries along a small web server within which the apps will run. If this is correct, this would allow a good degree of freedom for the applications to access the innards of the device, and therefore allow solid and versatile solutions. Then of course, it all depends how flexible the APIs provided by Palm are going to be through the WebOS SDK, and what they’ll allow access to.
WebOS is not able to run old Palm OS code. Can you understand this decision?
I can understand it, and having a quite large portfolio of Palm OS applications as you can imagine I’m not super happy about it. It was certainly possible to support old Palm OS code, through for example, embedding a simulation layer similar to what Access did with their ALP. Chances are that embedding such a simulation layer would have required many more months of product development and testing to ensure backward compatibility, and pushing the launch of the Pre further ahead in the future might not have been an option for Palm. The usage model and the look & feel of the new device’s UI are much different from what used to be on 68K apps, so perhaps even if backward compatibility was supported, it would have made it for a poor user experience.
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?
Not sure what you mean with most iPhone applications being “crapware.” There are thousands of great apps for the iPhone. Then again, out of a multitude, there are always the those that can be classified as “not-that-great.” As far the economy that will be built around the Pre, it will all depend from what sort of user base it is going to attract, and how soon. It will also depend on how fun will be to develop apps for it, what degree of freedom the SDK will allow, and most importantly, how easy and streamlined the purchase process will be through the Palm App Store.
Do you plan to develop applications for the pre? Could you give us a preview?
Chances are we’ll develop applications for the Pre. At this time we are sort of pondering and looking forward to getting our hands on the SDK.
If you could change one thing about webOS, what would it be?
Sort of early to say — if there’s one thing I’m hoping to see in the Pre is support of Java development, which is not exactly as “web only” as so far we’ve read around, but I’m still hoping A hint that this might become true I got it from seeing Eclipse as being one of development environments supported. That would make our life a bit easier since Java is the language of choice for BlackBerry and Android based phones.
If you could ask Palm one question, what would it be? (these will be collected and sent to Palm)
How soon will we see the SDK? Is there going to be a simulator included? When can the Palm App Store be previewed and how hard or easy will be the process to get the app on the store? There are just a few of the questions currently puzzling me. Uh oh… you asked for one… well your pick as of which one to send to Palm
Anything you would like to add
Not at this time. Thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts on the Pre!