A seminar by Sachin Palewar (www.palewar.com) on various mobile software platforms and development choices for them. This seminar was held in Raisoni Engineering College Nagpur in Sept 2009.
Palm India recently launched Centro its newest, cheapest and probably also the best smartphone offering in India. I am calling it cheapest because its retail price as listed on the website is Rs. 13,990. When Treo 680 was first launched in India, its listed price was more than Rs. 25000, however I just checked and its now being sold for Rs. 14,400. However I would quickly like to point out that in US Centro is available for just $99 with service contract and rebates which makes it almost free.
I also call it best palm smartphone because its undoubtedly the smallest and sleekest smartphone from Palm and does everything a Treo 680 does. It also has a camera better than Treo 680.
However I have 2 complaints from Palm.
1. They don’t advertise much and their distribution/dealership network does not exist on non-metro Indian cities. I am so tired of people looking at my Treo 680 and asking me what kind of phone it is? Is it a Chinese phone? Is it good and such things. People recognize an O2, Imate or even HTC quite well here and everybody recognises Nokia.
2. Second problem I have is that there are simply no color choices available for Centro in India, but I guess that’s because they only have a single color available for GSM Centro. They have option of 3 very attractive colors for CDMA versions in US though.
Without sounding too loaded with all technical jargons let me tell you ALP or Access Linux Platform is Access’s strategy to revive the good old Palm OS, so at the core its a Linux OS but they have wrapped Palm interface on top of it so it looks quite familiar to old Palm OS which came with Zire, Treo and Tungsten from Palm.
If you want to develop applications for soon to be launched ALP phones like Samsung i800, you can develop applications for old Palm OS 5 and it should run find on the new phones as well. You can also develop Java applications like you do for other mobile phones and they should run fine on it as well. You also have choice of writing web 2.0 applications to be run on their NetFront browser, but the best choice for developing a new application is developing a native application for ALP.
You can develop native ALP applications using ALP Development Suite which is available on their Developer Portal – http://accessdevnet.com/. ALP Development Suite includes:
- A complete Eclipse-based set of development tools
- The Glade 3 Interface Editor for GTK Apps
- The ACCESS Linux Platform Simulator which runs on the Linux™ desktop and provides seamless application debugging
- A Compilation Toolchain: gcc, linker and gdb
- The VirtualPhone Tool which simulates a carrier network for telephony applications
- Scratchbox, which enables command-line development and cross-compilation for ARM device targets
- Headers and libraries
- How-To Documentation and an Integrated API Reference
I will probably have to wait till they launch simulator and other tools for windows desktops as well or till existing Palm Tool manufactures port their development tools for native ALP.
Eversince Palmsource (Now Access) decided to wrap its Palm OS on top of a Linux Mobile OS, people everywhere were wondering about what and how the OS and its interface will finally look.
Well wait seems to be over and as Brighthand reports first ALP (Access Linux Platform) powered smartphone is soon going to be launched in Europe. Phone is reportedly Samsung i800 and will be launched on Orange. To read more about ALP platform and more screenshots go here.
I like what I have seen so far. On an ALP device/phone you can run:
- Native Linux applications
- Palm OS applications
- Java applications
If you add web applications which can be rendered on its Netfront browser then in total you have 4 different software platform options on an ALP smartphone.
Reportedly it will debut in Europe and Asia before reaching American shores.
We are a Microsoft shop primarily and we do mobile applications targeting Windows Mobile OS, and we may continue to be a Microsoft technologies company in future too owing to mass popularity Microsoft manages to acquire due to various reasons.
However I simply hate the fact that MS keeps adding layers and layers of complication to all its products, making softwares bloated, complicated, frustrating and slow. There has been enough bashing of Windows Vista as well as Windows Mobile 6. I have read them and been silent all this while, however when I read about Side-Show making its way to windows mobile, I simply could not resist writing this post.
Mobiles are meant to start immediately on press of power button, while desktops are not, so I don’t think side-show is a requirement on mobiles at all. You can just push the power-on button on mobile and press a pre-assigned key to start your favourite application. Why you need an always on and smaller display for it???
I think MS has got its strategy wrong here. Its again trying to make mobiles do whatever a desktop can, which I think is not a clever idea.
Also I guess that in future MS will use Sideshow as an excuse for slow windows mobile powered phones. With all the features it is putting in windows mobile, its going to gradually become slower and slower even with faster processors, so MS will say – use Side-show for features which you want to perform immediately 😉
I think Side-show adds another layer to complicated user-interface and makes users much more confused. In my opinion its a very bad idea.
IMHO MS should instead try to make windows mobile interface simpler, faster and easier to use. I still love the simplicity and performance of Palm OS. I know Palm OS is loosing its ground to Windows Mobile but we need to give the credit for what it offers.
Updated on 3rd Dec. – Corrected a Typo. Its Sideshow which I typed as Slideshow in the post.
Well, nearly free at $99 with rebates on Sprint. I simply can’t believe that Palm is launching Centro, a slim and small CDMA smartphone at such a price. I also think that this is the best looking palm phone ever.
Palm has proved its intentions clearly, that its now going to look beyond the smart phone market, which is just 8% of the total mobile handset market in US and going to make deep inroads into the entry level handset market as well.
Many believe that Palm is going to start a price war, many may even say that this is Palm’s last hurrah. I say that this is the turn-around time for Palm and this is the device that’s going to change Palm’s fortune for better, so start buying Palm’s stocks 😉
Talking about features, it has Palm OS, 1.3 Mega Pixel Camera, Inbuilt Messaging and other usual Treo features. Full specs here.
I think after trying a lot of different things Palm finally seems to get it right and its definitely way to go for Palm.
Atul Chitnis informs on his website about the release of Mundu IM V4. Mundu IM v4 is an Instant Messaging client for mobile devices. Initially for PalmOS and Windows Mobile based devices.
Using Mundu IM v4, you can (via GPRS, WiFi, CDMA, etc.) access all your IM contacts on Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger, Google Talk, ICQ, AOL and generic Jabber services while on the road – and all at the same time. No PC required!
You can chat with your contacts, send them photos and other stuff from your device, and even (between selected services) do a cross-service chat – you can have a conference with users on different services as if they were all on the same service.
To read more and download free trial, please visit – http://messenger.mundu.com/prd/php/smartphone.php