A Great Feel
Moreover, Conway cited some of the challenges of developing for a new platform like WebOS and the Pre. "There are inherent challenges when you are developing on a pre-production platform-you don't have a wealth of tried-and-true expertise to consult, for one," he said. "But in many ways, it is exactly those constraints that make the end result all the more fulfilling. Certainly, there are times that we wished we could drop down into Java or C#, but we also built a great looking application with considerably less effort than it would take on many other platforms."
"The short answer is WebOS, which should be development-friendly to a universe of Web developers. This contrasts with competitive environments that tend to require a higher degree of technical proficiency for developers, and may have more proprietary developer tool sets. "I think you'll see the Pre attract lots of innovation just on the basis of its super-geeky cool architecture. The Pre is a from-the-ground-up build of a Web environment on a mobile phone, and in this way, it's absolutely cutting edge. So, as Palm has said, anyone familiar with CSS, HTML and X M L-and that's a lot of people-should find development intuitive."Yet, when it comes to challenges, Johnson said he sees a different set of challenges for Palm. "The challenge is to hold developers' interest," he said. "Apple does this magnificently by wrapping the platform in a commercial juggernaut that gives developers a clear path to revenue and massive transaction volume assurance. Nobody else comes close. So for Palm and all other aspiring competitors, cool and cutting edge only get you so far. You need to create revenue for both developers and the channel-in this case, Sprint. That's a function of unit volumes and transaction volumes [application usage]." As for his expectations for the immediate success of the Pre, Johnson told eWEEK:
"I think its sales profile at Sprint will resemble that of the G1 at T-Mobile. They'll capture a good portion of whatever high end user base remains at Sprint as well as some of the technoratti. But it's unlikely the device will attract significant high-value defectors from other carriers as the iPhone has done for AT&T. Furthermore, Palm/Sprint will be coming to market on the eve of the next iPhone launch, which we expect in June. So there are significant positioning and channel challenges. These could be offset or mitigated with a 3G variant of the Pre launched in other markets such as Europe."