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Palm Developer Talks iPhone and Palm Apps

Wed May 6, 2009 - 9:49 AM EDT - By Jennifer Chappell


Rob from Hobbyist Software is a well-known Palm OS application developer. Rob has made popular apps like Butler, Genius, Phone Technician, and Initiate.

The guys from, makers of ToastTimer and BickBoxx for the iPhone, recently chatted with Rob about Palm and Apple's failures and successes with apps. Since Rob has developed apps for both platforms, he was a great candidate for Bickbot to chat up.

Rob was asked where he thinks Palm has failed and Apple has succeeded. Rob feels that Palm historically hasn't promoted the benefit of applications - ex. failing to put app leaflets and links to the store in their Treo boxes.

Rob mentions that Palm put out some research results years ago that 90% of users didn't have a single app installed. That's a lot of smartphone users not installing apps - at this point it's clear that at least part of the reason was the lack of a good on-device app store (thanks, iPhone). Apple's not perfect, however. Rob talks about "Usability", and gives the example of adding an item to the calendar. Rob shows how many presses and how long it took to add the same item in his calendar on his Palm and his iPhone. It took 5 presses and 17 seconds on the Palm, and 17 presses and 49 seconds to do the same on his iPhone.

The differences between the development of a PalmOS app and an iPhone app?  Night and day:

"Palm needed to conserve cpu power historically, so they had us coding in C and accessing a fairly small number of system APIs. iPhone has all the delights of object orientation and powerful frameworks."

"Palm is much harder to work with, and doesn’t give you the easy/pretty apps. Internet access, media, graphics etc are all painful to work with. (I had to build a chunk of native code below the normal framework level in order to build alpha blending capability for my apps. It took many days to build.)"

Of course, things are probably going to be very different when the Pre arrives with its WebOS, and developing apps will be easier.

[via PalmAddicts]

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