Re: Has independent Palm deveopment died? - Palmtop

This is a discussion on Re: Has independent Palm deveopment died? - Palmtop ; In article news: >, Sarah wrote: > Are the java, windows mobile, symbian markets viable? It depends on what you mean by 'viable'. The Java platform is the most common, but is rather limited. Windows Mobile is becoming more common ...

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Thread: Re: Has independent Palm deveopment died?

  1. Re: Has independent Palm deveopment died?

    In article
    news:<7f4151ce-8c79-435b-bf29-6887ee189546@f36g2000hsa.googlegroups.com
    >, Sarah wrote:
    > Are the java, windows mobile, symbian markets viable?


    It depends on what you mean by 'viable'.

    The Java platform is the most common, but is rather limited. Windows
    Mobile is becoming more common but is limited to quite high-end phones
    (and a few non-phone PDAs), Symbian runs exclusively on high-end
    smartphones but is very popular (especially outside the US).

    The big problem with J2ME is that it provides a somewhat restricted
    Java API and doesn't mandate the provision of interfaces that give
    access to phone/PDA features.

    The restrictions include lack of floating-point arithmetic and support
    for only a very limited set of net APIs and no crypto (which is insane,
    as most of the devices that support J2ME are internet-capable phones,
    and mobile devices need security more than any other). My impression is
    that the people who drew up the J2ME spec expected it to be used to
    write games, and not much else.

    There is an added problem that some devices make only a limited amount
    of memory available to the Java runtime, so there is a limit to the
    size of application that can be run. This is particularly crippling if
    you have to include Java code in your application to do something that
    would be provided by the runtime in J2SE.

    J2ME would be much more useful if it had mandated standard APIs to
    allow a Java MIDlet to access the device's address/phone book, to use
    ir/Bluetooth communications (if available), to use the device's camera
    (if any), etc.. Many manufacturers support proprietary modules that
    provide some of these functions, but they aren't standard across
    platforms. This severely limits the scope for writing general
    applications for J2ME ... at best you will have to write different
    versions for different manufacturers' devices.

    The J2ME applications that I am aware of are mostly either games or
    proprietary applications used within a particular business. There are a
    few general utilities, but nothing like the number that sprang up for
    the Palm in its heyday. That said: there are an awful lot of cheap
    cellphones out there that can run J2ME MIDlets, the market is huge and
    potentially rewarding if you can come up with a sufficiently compelling
    product.

    Symbian development is mostly done in C++, but using a somewhat
    symbian-specific dialect. You do get full access the hardware, and
    (usually, at least) good supporting libraries that give some access to
    the device's software environment. The APIs are not all standardized,
    though, and Symbian have allowed their licensees to provide their own
    implementation of the top-level GUI, so there isn't even a single
    standardized GUI API across devices from different vendors (which
    allows vendors to maintain their own look and feel but is a PITA for
    developers as you just can't ship a single shrinkwrapped application
    for all vendors' Symbian-based phones).

    If anything, Windows mobile errs in the opposite direction ... the APIs
    are specified by Microsoft so there is a high degree of standardization
    across products from different vendors, but there is less scope for a
    vendor to do anything interestingly different (at least without
    breaking the standard). WM development uses familiar Visual Studio
    tools, but the target APIs are subtly (and sometimes not so subtly)
    different in the mobile devices -- this means that developing a mobile
    version of an existing desktop application is often not as easy as one
    would like (sometimes scarcely easier than rewriting it for e.g.
    Symbian). The tools are of good quality, though, and if you have Visual
    Studio Professional for desktop development you already have the tools
    for mobile development thrown in for free (that's an indication of how
    much Microsoft wants to encourage developers to develop for their
    mobile platform).

    As always: if you produce a sufficiently useful/entertaining
    application there will be people who will want to use it, and who will
    be prepared to pay for the privilege. Whether or not you consider
    development for the platform 'viable' depends on how many people will
    pay to use it on that platform and how much they will pay -- and that
    depends on how good your killer app is.

    Cheers,
    Daniel.



  2. Re: Has independent Palm deveopment died?

    On May 7, 6:29*am, Daniel James wrote:
    > In article
    > >
    > >, Sarah wrote:
    > > Are the java, windows mobile, symbian markets viable?

    >
    > It depends on what you mean by 'viable'.
    >
    > The Java platform is the most common, but is rather limited. Windows
    > Mobile is becoming more common but is limited to quite high-end phones
    > (and a few non-phone PDAs), Symbian runs exclusively on high-end
    > smartphones but is very popular (especially outside the US).
    >
    > The big problem with J2ME is that it provides a somewhat restricted
    > Java API and doesn't mandate the provision of interfaces that give
    > access to phone/PDA features.
    >
    > The restrictions include lack of floating-point arithmetic and support
    > for only a very limited set of net APIs and no crypto (which is insane,
    > as most of the devices that support J2ME are internet-capable phones,
    > and mobile devices need security more than any other). My impression is
    > that the people who drew up the J2ME spec expected it to be used to
    > write games, and not much else.
    >
    > There is an added problem that some devices make only a limited amount
    > of memory available to the Java runtime, so there is a limit to the
    > size of application that can be run. This is particularly crippling if
    > you have to include Java code in your application to do something that
    > would be provided by the runtime in J2SE.
    >
    > J2ME would be much more useful if it had mandated standard APIs to
    > allow a Java MIDlet to access the device's address/phone book, to use *
    > ir/Bluetooth communications (if available), to use the device's camera
    > (if any), etc.. Many manufacturers support proprietary modules that
    > provide some of these functions, but they aren't standard across
    > platforms. This severely limits the scope for writing general
    > applications for J2ME ... at best you will have to write different
    > versions for different manufacturers' devices.
    >
    > The J2ME applications that I am aware of are mostly either games or
    > proprietary applications used within a particular business. There are a
    > few general utilities, but nothing like the number that sprang up for
    > the Palm in its heyday. That said: there are an awful lot of cheap
    > cellphones out there that can run J2ME MIDlets, the market is huge and
    > potentially rewarding if you can come up with a sufficiently compelling
    > product.
    >
    > Symbian development is mostly done in C++, but using a somewhat
    > symbian-specific dialect. You do get full access the hardware, and
    > (usually, at least) good supporting libraries that give some access to
    > the device's software environment. The APIs are not all standardized,
    > though, and Symbian have allowed their licensees to provide their own
    > implementation of the top-level GUI, so there isn't even a single
    > standardized GUI API across devices from different vendors (which
    > allows vendors to maintain their own look and feel but is a PITA for
    > developers as you just can't ship a single shrinkwrapped application
    > for all vendors' Symbian-based phones).
    >
    > If anything, Windows mobile errs in the opposite direction ... the APIs
    > are specified by Microsoft so there is a high degree of standardization
    > across products from different vendors, but there is less scope for a
    > vendor to do anything interestingly different (at least without
    > breaking the standard). WM development uses familiar Visual Studio
    > tools, but the target APIs are subtly (and sometimes not so subtly)
    > different in the mobile devices -- this means that developing a mobile
    > version of an existing desktop application is often not as easy as one
    > would like (sometimes scarcely easier than rewriting it for e.g.
    > Symbian). The tools are of good quality, though, and if you have Visual
    > Studio Professional for desktop development you already have the tools
    > for mobile development thrown in for free (that's an indication of how
    > much Microsoft wants to encourage developers to develop for their
    > mobile platform).
    >
    > As always: if you produce a sufficiently useful/entertaining
    > application there will be people who will want to use it, and who will
    > be prepared to pay for the privilege. Whether or not you consider
    > development for the platform 'viable' depends on how many people will
    > pay to use it on that platform and how much they will pay -- and that
    > depends on how good your killer app is.
    >
    > Cheers,
    > *Daniel.


    Daniel, thank you for the extremely thoughtful and informative answer.
    It seems like API compatibility remains a limiting problem, just as it
    has in desktop development forever. Do you know where to find out
    about sales numbers of "download" or "shareware" software for java,
    symbian, MW?

    In the days of Palm you could just develop for Palm OS and have enough
    sales potential to justify your effort (although later OS versions
    starting causing similar API problems).

    If you had an idea for an app for mobile/PDA, which OS would you go
    with? Or should I ask, how would you decide which OS to go with?

    Thanks so much.

    Sarah




  3. Re: Has independent Palm deveopment died?

    On Mon, 26 May 2008 13:50:42 -0700 (PDT), Sarah
    wrote:

    >Daniel, thank you for the extremely thoughtful and informative answer.
    >It seems like API compatibility remains a limiting problem, just as it
    >has in desktop development forever. Do you know where to find out
    >about sales numbers of "download" or "shareware" software for java,
    >symbian, MW?
    >
    >In the days of Palm you could just develop for Palm OS and have enough
    >sales potential to justify your effort (although later OS versions
    >starting causing similar API problems).
    >
    >If you had an idea for an app for mobile/PDA, which OS would you go
    >with? Or should I ask, how would you decide which OS to go with?
    >
    >Thanks so much.


    If you're going purely by sales, Symbian wins out. But the previous
    poster did a pretty good job of explaining its limitations. I'm
    guessing that most Symbian users don't download anything other than
    one or two games during the time they user their phone.

    For all of Palm's recent miss-steps, the Palm Centro has already sold
    about a million units. If only one tenth of those users (many of them
    relatively new to the smartphone world) purchase third party
    applications, that's not an insignificant market. I'd say put out one
    or two simple freeware PalmOS applications to see if there is any
    interest in the platform. Post links to them in the forums at popular
    PalmOS websites like http://palminfocenter.com, http://1src.com,
    http://palmaddict.typepad.com/palmaddicts/, and
    http://treocentral.com then wait to see how much feedback you get from
    the users there to see if the platform is worth any more effort.
    --
    Cause, really, nothing says "I'm a counter culture
    rebel, fighting the establishment" like an Aibo on
    a skateboard.
    - Seen on Slashdot

    Roberto Castillo
    robertocastillo@ameritech.net
    http://mind-grapes.blogspot.com/
    http://zombie-gulch.myminicity.com/

  4. Re: Has independent Palm deveopment died?

    In article
    news:<30c395f0-5940-47ae-9900-14544c662efb@i76g2000hsf.googlegroups.com
    >, Sarah wrote:
    > Do you know where to find out about sales numbers of "download" or
    > "shareware" software for java, symbian, MW?


    Many of the freeware/shareware download sites give download numbers for
    the various applications they can supply. That's probably where I'd
    start looking.

    I have done some work for a company that was active in this area, and
    have seen the figures they compiled for their own use ... but
    unfortunately the figures are confidential and also not very recent,
    and I have no idea how they collected the data.

    > If you had an idea for an app for mobile/PDA, which OS would you go
    > with? Or should I ask, how would you decide which OS to go with?


    Well ... if you are writing a new app (rather than porting an existing
    app from a different platform) the first thing to do would be to see
    which platforms support what your app needs. For typical PDA apps
    you'll probably find that any platform will do, but if you need tons of
    resources some platforms may be ruled out or may require extra work
    (the newer Palm devices with VFS have limits on RAM image sizes, for
    example).

    You have to pick development tools with which you are happy. If you
    like the gcc cross-compilers you can target just about anything, but if
    you have a passion for Visual Studio you'll find yourself drawn to
    Windows Mobile.

    You also have to assess the size of the market. At the moment the most
    numerous smartphone designs use Symbian or Windows Mobile (even some
    Palm models use WM) with PalmOS distinctly in third place ... but
    developments like OpenMoko and Google's Android will mean that there
    are some very nice devices that run linux -- whether they will gain
    mass-market popularity or remain niche "geek-toys" I can't predict.

    There's also Blackberry. There are a lot of Blackberries in the world,
    but I'm not aware of much of a third-party software market -- it's just
    not something I know anything about. I can't help you with that, I'm
    afraid, you need to do some more research.
    --
    Cheers,
    Daniel.



  5. Re: Has independent Palm deveopment died?

    On May 27, 3:00*am, Daniel James wrote:
    > In article
    > >
    > >, Sarah wrote:
    > > Do you know where to find out about sales numbers of "download" or
    > > "shareware" software for java, symbian, MW?

    >
    > Many of the freeware/shareware download sites give download numbers for
    > the various applications they can supply. That's probably where I'd
    > start looking.
    >
    > I have done some work for a company that was active in this area, and
    > have seen the figures they compiled for their own use ... but
    > unfortunately the figures are confidential and also not very recent,
    > and I have no idea how they collected the data.
    >
    > > If you had an idea for an app for mobile/PDA, which OS would you go
    > > with? Or should I ask, how would you decide which OS to go with?

    >
    > Well ... if you are writing a new app (rather than porting an existing
    > app from a different platform) the first thing to do would be to see
    > which platforms support what your app needs. For typical PDA apps
    > you'll probably find that any platform will do, but if you need tons of
    > resources some platforms may be ruled out or may require extra work
    > (the newer Palm devices with VFS have limits on RAM image sizes, for
    > example).
    >
    > You have to pick development tools with which you are happy. If you
    > like the gcc cross-compilers you can target just about anything, but if
    > you have a passion for Visual Studio you'll find yourself drawn to
    > Windows Mobile.
    >
    > You also have to assess the size of the market. At the moment the most
    > numerous smartphone designs use Symbian or Windows Mobile (even some
    > Palm models use WM) with PalmOS distinctly in third place ... but
    > developments like OpenMoko and Google's Android will mean that there
    > are some very nice devices that run linux -- whether they will gain
    > mass-market popularity or remain niche "geek-toys" I can't predict.
    >
    > There's also Blackberry. There are a lot of Blackberries in the world,
    > but I'm not aware of much of a third-party software market -- it's just
    > not something I know anything about. I can't help you with that, I'm
    > afraid, you need to do some more research.
    > --
    > Cheers,
    > *Daniel.




    Thank you all so much. It's obvious there are still some thoughtful
    people paying attention to palm development. I think I will start
    developing my app, and try to be as ready for cross-platform as
    possible, and keep an eye on android and openmoko. I've finally
    reached a point in life where I can spend a little time on this and am
    encouraged to at least start and keep researching.

    Thanks again.

    Sarah



  6. Re: Has independent Palm deveopment died?

    On May 7, 7:29*am, Daniel James wrote:
    > In article news:7f4151ce-8c79-435b-bf29-6887ee189546@f36g2000hsa.googlegroups.com
    >
    > >, Sarah wrote:
    > > Are the java, windows mobile, symbian markets viable?

    >
    > The Java platform is the most common, but is rather limited.
    >
    > The big problem with J2ME is that it provides a somewhat restricted
    > Java API and doesn't mandate the provision of interfaces that give
    > access to phone/PDA features.


    > The restrictions include lack of floating-point arithmetic and support
    > for only a very limited set of net APIs and no crypto (which is insane,
    > as most of the devices that support J2ME are internet-capable phones,
    > and mobile devices need security more than any other). My impression is
    > that the people who drew up the J2ME spec expected it to be used to
    > write games, and not much else.
    >
    > There is an added problem that some devices make only a limited amount
    > of memory available to the Java runtime, so there is a limit to the
    > size of application that can be run. This is particularly crippling if
    > you have to include Java code in your application to do something that
    > would be provided by the runtime in J2SE.
    >
    > J2ME would be much more useful if it had mandated standard APIs to
    > allow a Java MIDlet to access the device's address/phone book, to use *
    > ir/Bluetooth communications (if available), to use the device's camera
    > (if any), etc.. Many manufacturers support proprietary modules that
    > provide some of these functions, but they aren't standard across
    > platforms. This severely limits the scope for writing general
    > applications for J2ME ... at best you will have to write different
    > versions for different manufacturers' devices.
    >
    > The J2ME applications that I am aware of are mostly either games or
    > proprietary applications used within a particular business. There are a
    > few general utilities, but nothing like the number that sprang up for
    > the Palm in its heyday. That said: there are an awful lot of cheap
    > cellphones out there that can run J2ME MIDlets, the market is huge and
    > potentially rewarding if you can come up with a sufficiently compelling
    > product.


    >
    > Cheers,
    > *Daniel.


    Well, Sun recently opened up JavaME (now known as phoneME), which can
    allow for new ports of more high end versions.

    If anyone is interested in helping port phoneME CDC to Palm, go to

    http://forums.java.net/jive/message....ssageID=283977

    Eric

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