Well that didn’t take long!
Someone over at Brighthand forums came up with the “iPhony” a quick little launcher for Palm OS.
I loaded it on my Treo 650 and think it’s quite fun.
Meanwhile, initial excitement over the iPhone is cooling off now that David Pogue’s The Ultimate iPhone FAQ and Steve Jobs has said that there will be very limited ability to expand an iPhone:
(quote)"We define everything that is on the phone," he said. "You don't want your phone to be like a PC. The last thing you want is to have loaded three apps on your phone and then you go to make a call and it doesn't work anymore. These are more like iPods than they are like computers. These are devices that need to work, and you can't do that if you load any software on them," he said. "That doesn't mean there's not going to be software to buy that you can load on them coming from us. It doesn't mean we have to write it all, but it means it has to be more of a controlled environment."(end quote)
That led Mark Pilgrim to write that Apple 3rd party developers have been shoved to the back of the bus since the implication is that some will get access and some will not. And when Steve Jobs says “controlled” you know he means very tightly, probably by him personally.
My favorite article this far is Steve Jobs is wrong which I agree with completely. In response to S. Jobs’ comments, he wrote:
“Actually what I want is a little handheld PC with a touch screen interface that I can use in whichever way that I choose. That would be fantastic. I realize that it's not for every customer, but it would be the ideal phone for me. It's a shame that Apple is locking down the iPhone. I may still buy one, but I'm wistful about what might have been.”
Now Steve is wrong (as mentioned above) but Steve is right too.
He’s wrong that I don’t want my phone to be like my PC. I want my phone to be very much like my PC, which is actually a Mac. I want to be able to load software on it, and have any problems with one piece of software not screw up the whole thing. I want freedom to choose what goes on there and I want to be able to take off stuff that I don’t want. (For example: I want someone to write a Palm emulator for the thing so we can use our Palm apps on it.)
But he’s right (as anyone who has used a Palm especially a Treo knows) that adding a lot of 3rd party apps can cause instability. We all know it. Any power user is going to eventually install something that causes instability. How many times have you heard the following advice given: “Do a hard reset (which deletes everything) and then add other programs back one at a time.” I’ve heard it lots of times. I’ve even got an NVBackup backup set of a clean installation of only my most critical apps, just in case I’m ever out and my Treo gets fubar’d, I want to be able to instantly get back to what I really need.
Steve doesn’t want that sort of experience sullying the iPhone. And he’s right that it will give iPhone users less headaches than Treo users. It also gives them fewer choices and less freedom.
My biggest disappointment is that I want Apple to solve this problem, but they chose instead to avoid it. Avoiding it may be easier for Apple, but it makes the device less compelling. And I expected more from Apple. I expected them to have some sort of a backup like Time Machine which would let me go back to a previous stage of my iPhone’s existence if a problem occurs. I expect them to come up with a way that the 3rd party apps can exist separately enough from the core functions of the phone that it can’t screw them up.
Steve Jobs is right to try and make people think of it more like an iPod, because that is a closed system which he tightly controls. He’s wrong if he thinks he’s fooling anyone into thinking that this isn’t more like a portable computer than a phone.
Oh, and he & others are wrong if they think the closed-ness of the iPod a) hasn’t hurt its sales and b) hasn’t bothered people, even some who have bought it. 3rd-party developers have been asking to be able to develop games for the new iPods. They can’t. People have complained about the way that Apple obscures their music collection on the iPod and that if their computer dies they can’t get their music from the iPod onto a different computer. They’ve complained about the lack of DivX support for video and Ogg support for audio.
And so on.
Still, Apple hasn’t made its success by building the best thing imaginable. It has built its success on making the best thing available, and by continuing to make it better and better than the competition not of what we can imagine, but of what others are actually making.
Which means there is still room for someone to come out and do it better.
One consistent theme I have seen in Palm groups is: “My Treo can do more than an iPhone, but Palm needs to do something.” People are very frustrated with the snail’s pace with with Palm is doing anything new.
The clock has been ticking with Microsoft coming after them with their (horrible but “It's Windows so our IT departments will buy t like the zombies they are”) Windows Mobile. The clock has now been knocked out of the tower and there stands Steve Jobs with his iPhone.
The biggest question on many Palm/Treo addicts mind is: Can Palm respond with anything more than a minor notch upgrade like what the Treo line has seen over the past 12-18 months? Can Palm do anything revolutionary, or only just simple evolutionary steps?