Yikes, first Palm, now Windows Mobile?

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A few days ago, Palm quietly announced that yet again that their next OS version release date would be slipping. Instead of early 2009, they are now claiming it won’t be available until the middle of next year:


Hearing this news about Palm isn’t surprising as it seems they have been pushing back the release date for their next OS iteration for eons now. But today we’re hearing from Microsoft that the Windows Mobile 7 release date is going to be delayed as well:


That’s pretty damaging news to see given that today is Google Android day… What do all of you think? Will the juggernaut that is Google, plow over Palm and Windows Mobile? Maybe Apple (iPhone) is doomed too? I for one am very interested in getting my hands on an Android device if only for the fact that it is something new and different.

7 thoughts on “Yikes, first Palm, now Windows Mobile?”

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  2. This is the last thing either company needs. With Apple and Google (and RIM) breathing down their necks with what many would say far superior OS’s, they should have these new softwares out YESTERDAY.

    Palm’s OS is a great OS, I use it on my Centro, but to the general public it’s antiquated and not much better than the software on a free Nokia phone.

    I am beginning to think the best option for Palm is to use Android and just modify a few of the layers to build-in Palm OS app compatibility. It’s pretty obvious OS 2 won’t be out anytime soon. Such a shame.

    I think a lot of people have given up on both Palm and WM a long time ago. The iPhone is the new smartphone that doesn’t pose itself as a smartphone. Maybe that’s the point; it’s a phone that has all these amazing new features, but it doesn’t poise itself as a business device.

  3. While I wish Google and RIM well (as well as Palm), I am very happy with my iPhone. Given the powerful SDK that is in the hands of many experienced developers, as well as the success of the app store for many people who find niche markets, it’s going to be tough to sell Android into those places. How can three guys in a garage build multiple versions and test every hardware configuration of Android, and then find users in the Linux community who will go diametrically opposed to the entire ethos of Open Source by paying the software developers even a fraction of what their efforts are worth?? It’s way easier to cobble together a few games for a well-secured single hardware platform, sell 500,000 copies of them at a buck each, and bank that $350,000 (after Apple’s $150,000 fee), and be very happy with their six month’s work. We had a developer come to the user group locally here that is doing just that. And we’re in central North Carolina, not Silicon Valley! And the longer this goes on, the harder it will be for anyone else to catch up. You can love Linux and the ideal of Open Source all you want, but that will not buy a can of beans or pay your ISP bill. At some point, those folks developing apps are going to need cash to reward their efforts, or the community will be just as fragmented and shunned by the mainstream as the desktop Linux development community is.

    I’m not against free software, and would gladly pay for items of use, but when I’m told I have to compile my own kernal whenever I change something, and install an app from the command line, my eyes roll back in my head, and I wonder what these folks do for fun. And I picture my 81 year old mother, sitting at her Dell 8 hours away, calling me for tech support, and I laugh out loud. The people mostly drawn to Open Source are those who are only controlled by price (as in very cheap), or those who shun all authority for their own control. Neither of those groups can agree long enough to build s single OS, let alone participate in a far-reaching community/economy. I have lots of university IT friends who just love Linux and are all excited about Android, but they don’t want to pay for it, prefering to build their own hardware, or find something almost as good for cheap. And all they tend to do after that is tweak, rebuild, and re-install. Just because you’re busy on your hardware doesn’t mean you’re being productive.

    This is not put out here as a flame. This is my real belief (anecdotal as it is) after watching users in a handheld user group since the late ’90s when we had a Newton group, then moved to Palm and finally added Zaurus, WinCE, iPhone and the rest. Those who are open source do little more than a few quick demos, then say “I could program it to….” But they never do. And in a year or two, they are back to using their Palm or whatever. Or, sometimes, they are just geeky enough to keep at it, but they have nothing that can be transferred to anyone else, because it is so esoteric that no one else can understand the interface.

  4. To be honest, I don’t believe you’re not a troll. But I’ll try to ignore that anyway, and just address a few points.

    • On desktop Linux: No end-user distribution of Linux requires compiling a kernel or using the command line to install all the software a typical user would need. Desktop Linux is generally no more difficult or arcane than Windows or OSX, and this has been the case for a number of years. All I can say is that your perception of Linux probably needs to be updated to, oh, sometime in this century 🙂

    • On whether three guys in a garage can develop Android apps: I don’t see how this is any different than developing for Windows Mobile, Palm, or for that matter any desktop OS. Windows Mobile developers have a lot of different phones to target, yet they don’t seem to have a huge problem with that, because abstracting hardware differences is the main point of having a hardware-independent OS in the first place. Just as on WM, the biggest compatibility concern will probably be screen dimensions, and that’s something developers have had to deal with on platforms of all kinds going back into the mists of prehistory.

    • On whether Android needs Linux users to buy apps: No, it doesn’t. The fact that Android is based on Linux has absolutely nothing to do with what level of user it’s targeted at, any more than it does for Tivo, Linksys routers, or the next version of Palm OS. It has support from Google, carriers, and hardware manufacturers, all of whom have an interest in turning it into a commodity. It’s not as if T-Mobile advertises the G1, for example, in a way targeted at hobbyists… in fact, it’s not being positioned as Linux at all, it’s just “Android”.

    • And while we’re on the subject of “You can love Linux and the ideal of Open Source all you want, but that will not buy a can of beans or pay your ISP bill.” If we’re being anecdotal, I’ll just counter this by saying that Linux and Open Source do pay my ISP bill, not to mention my rent, utilities, car insurance, etc. 🙂

    • As for your university IT friends who are excited about Android because they can hack it. Well, I am too. But I think it’s a very big mistake to assume that we are the only ones who will use Android. Personally, I like it because it’s a hackable platform that ISN’T some random crap I have to hack around on just to get basic stuff to work — I can get on with the process of building apps on a platform that is accessible and familiar and doesn’t have the same limitations as the others.

    • Limitations, you may ask? Here’s where I think Apple might have something to look out for. I probably don’t even need to say why I don’t want to develop for Windows Mobile, or why I won’t be surprised if it loses developers to Android. Palm, well, we know how ancient and limited their OS is, and only the gods know if they’ll survive long enough to release the next one.

    So, we come to Apple. The problem with the iPhone, as I see it, is that Apple seems to be going out of their way to put hurdles in front of developers, ranging from their broad NDA which prohibits any sort of information sharing to develop, no books or discussions etc., to the extra steps needed to test on real hardware and limitations on pre-AppStore deployment. And then there is the biggest hurdle of all, the fact that they can — and as shown recently, will — reject a useful and non-malicious app for completely arbitrary reasons after you’ve made the investment in it. And all of this is for a platform that most developers will be learning from scratch.

    Contrasts this with Android, which I can develop for right now, without having to navigate an NDA to get help from my fellow developers, on a platform that is based on a widely used kernel and programming language, which isn’t locked down tighter than a drum to prohibit a lot of useful things from being possible. And when my app is finished, I can market it from my own website, or through any other channel I like.

    That kind of comparison is going to appeal to a lot of developers, I think, even if they already develop for the iPhone too.

    Personally, I’m looking forward to an Android phone with proper North American 3G, instead of the 700 MHz of T-Mobile, since T-Mobile barely works at my house to begin with and probably won’t have 3G built out here for years. As soon as one exists, I’m probably going to pick one up, and in the meantime, I’m trying to think of a good app idea…

    (And yes, I use Macs, and am at least minimally competent in Cocoa development. Yet the more I hear about developing for it, the more I don’t want an iPhone…)

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