Why Some Developers Think the Palm Pre Could Upstage the iPhone

 
 
By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2009-04-27 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


title=Next Great Enterprise-Class Device?} 

McFarland said he believes the Pre can become the next great enterprise-class device. "I think it's a great fit for that space," he said. "Palm already has some penetration in that area. And the Pre delivers an easy tool set to develop against. If you're developing for an enterprise and you're taking Web services back ends and tying them to AJAX [Asynchronous JavaScript and X M L] front ends, you can take exactly the same skill set and build applications for this platform. It's going to be a really good fit for custom apps for the enterprise, and for Web app developers in particular to do custom apps."

Palm has said the Pre is the first in a series of devices that will use the WebOS. However, the company has not said, as has Google with Android, that the operating system will eventually run on netbooks. Yet, "there's nothing that would preclude it from doing that," McFarland said. "It should be fully portable."

Moreover, McFarland said he believes the uptake on the Pre will be substantial once it is released. Yet, he scoffs at the notion that some say he talks up the Pre simply because Pivotal stands to make money developing applications for it. It was not a chicken or egg scenario, he said. "We chose to develop for the Pre because we believe it will be a game changer," he said. "I think we're going to make money off of it because people are going to adopt it."

Meanwhile, Mike Benjamin, CEO of FlightView, which makes a flight tracker application, said the Pre is "really one of the first mobile devices that have things that the other devices don't have-you can run tasks in the background, and that is a big deal."

FlightView is a showcase partner for Palm and the Pre.

"We've been around for 28 years in the business of tracking airplanes and providing data to people on what's going on in the sky," Benjamin said. "And mobile devices are just a great thing for our business" because they enable users to have quick and easy access to data. FlightView provides its applications on the iPhone and the BlackBerry, among other devices.

Yet, "we think with the advantages of the Pre, it's going to be the best flight tracker out there," Benjamin said, noting the multitasking capabilities of the device.

In addition, developing for the Pre is a cinch for the 30-person company, Benjamin said. "We're building a special version of our software for the Pre. It has a lot of the same features as the other versions, except the maps have been customized and the user interface is a little different. The flow of what you do is similar, but the look is customized.

"With the iPhone you've got to have a guy who's an Objective-C wizard, and we didn't have a lot of those guys, so it's more of an outsourcing play," Benjamin said. "The Pre is Web-based development, which is what we do anyway."

Yet, among the challenges of writing for the Pre is its newness. "You don't have a whole lot of applications you can look at to see how they handle things, but that also allows you to be creative."



 
 
 
 
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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