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 Bickbot.com, 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
"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
"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.