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The Popular Palm OS

Mon Jun 2, 2008 - 8:45 PM EDT - By Jennifer Chappell

Garnet VM Beta 2

Despite the numerous times that people have said, "The Palm OS is Dying", it's a popular platform and seems to be desired on devices other than just Treos, Centro, and other Palm PDAs. I'm sure you've read the two big news items regarding Access and StylePap recently. Let's start with Access. Access Co., Ltd. has just released an updated version of its Garnet VM, Garnet VM Beta 2. Garnet VM is a virtual machine which enables the Nokia Nseries to run thousands of Garnet OS (formerly Palm OS) applications. One of the biggest improvements in Beta 2 is the full screen support, which includes 3 display modes; portrait full screen, portrait windowed and portrait landscape. Another new feature is Display mode hot-switching. Plus there's SDL support; Garnet VM display subsystem now uses SDL (Simple DirectMedia Layer) for better performances.

According to the Access website, the following applications are now working:

  • Google Maps(TM) (crash when accessing network)
  • Agendus (application failed to launch)
  • MegaBowling (crash when using 5 way navigation)
  • MMPlayer (application failed to start)
  • Pocket Tunes (various crashes)
  • WorldMate (application failed to start)
  • CorePlayer (application crashes)
  • CredibleMed Easy E&M(TM) (application failed to start)
  • ICUmath (application failed to start)
  • Parens (and all applications that use the MathLib)

Some other applications that have been tested are Sudoku, Bejeweled, PacMan, DateBk5 and Snappermail.

You can download the Garnet VM Beta 2 for free on the Access website.

I downloaded the software on my Nokia N810 yesterday. I downloaded it via the Internet Brower on my Nokia N810 through the Access website and had no problems at all. I was just a tad nervous as the software is beta and my device is brand new. So far, so good though. And I just have to add that the Nokia N810 is one sweet and "drool worthy" device! ;-)

You can see the Garnet icon in the pic above left and the program opened upon clicking on the icon in the pic above right. The first thing I did was to set the date and time. I haven't added any Palm OS apps yet but did check out the PIMs. It's really wild having the Calculator app on the Nokia N810 in full screen. When I tap on the numbers on the calculator, there is a funny beeping sound. It sort of reminds me of the sounds on my old Palm M515 when tapping on apps, but is a little louder.

Check out that big ole Calculator on the Nokia N810 next to my Treo 680 and Centro. ;-) Nice! To get to the Calculator app, you click on Extras, then Garnet VM. The apps Address, Calc, Date Book, Memo Pad, Prefs, and To Do List come up. Then of course you just click on the Calc app. Easy. The Palm OS apps open up in portrait mode on the Nokia's screen.

When I first got the Nokia N810, I saw that some games were included such as Chess, Blocks, Mahjong, and Marbles. I haven't played Chess since I was a teenager so haven't fooled with that one yet. I love Mahjong so I've played quite a few rounds of that one. I went searching online for some other games and came upon a free version of CrazyParking by Luciano Wolf on CrazyParking is pretty much an equivalent to the Palm OS game Traffic Jam by eSoft Interactive. CrazyParking is soooooo much fun and is so addictive! I decided that I wanted to get Traffic Jam on my Treo 680 so I downloaded it and tried playing it. Unfortunately, Traffic Jam isn't compatible with the Treo 680, but Traffic Jam 2 is. But you can get Traffic Jam, the original, for your Centro. I prefer the first version personally. The graphics look better to me. Traffic Jam and CrazyParking are both a lot of fun and are very addictive! Both have great graphics and cute sounds. I find that CrazyParking is more challenging though when it comes to getting those little cars out of the jammed parking lot.

StyleTap CrossPlatform for Apple iPhone and iPod Touch

StyleTap announced on Friday, May 30th, that they plan to release a version of their Palm OS emulator for the iPhone and the iPod touch. This StyleTap CrossPlatform will instantly allow over 20,000 mobile applications to run on the iPhone and iPod touch. In the press release, StyleTap said that further information about the product, including how it will be marketed and sold, will be made available in early July 2008.

Back in February, StyleTap had posted a video to Viddler and YouTube showing an experimental prototype of StyleTap CrossPlatform running existing mobile applications on an iPod touch in order to determine the level of interest. Above are some screen shots I saved from the video here. The response was instant and overwhelming as the videos have been viewed more than 800,000 times and the company received many emails from both end-users and application developers expressing great interest in having such a product available.

Quoted from the press release:

The iPhone is one of the hottest new mobile devices out there,� said Gregory Sokoloff, CEO of StyleTap Inc., �And the response to our video has convinced us that many, many consumers, and companies, will eagerly jump at the change to buy iPhone devices if they can continue to run their must-have applications.�

So, evidently people appreciate the Palm OS and the thousands of "must-have" apps that have been made for it. Palm OS might be long in the tooth, but it's also long in the future for those who appreciate and desire it on their devices. You just can't beat the "Zen of Palm". Of course we'll just have to wait and see how we feel once the upcoming "Nova" is released. That won't be too long down the road because you know how time tends to fly. Here it is already the 2nd day of June in 2008. I'm still trying to write 2007 on my checks so time has gotten away from me for sure.

I look forward to hearing more on the progress of the StyleTap CrossPlatform because I will definitely be wanting that on my iPhone! Bring it on StyleTap! ;-)

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