Decent Browser-experience on Palm OS

Starting from the comments of a entry about 2Cool4U I think I should write some thoughts about how few efforts it might take for Palm to bring a decent browser experience to there devices.

What are the options:

  • A new NetFront from Access. They currently released something about a new version for Windows Mobile. The only existing version for Palm OS was released for Sony Clié. The Clié version is known as a nice and decent browser and there are successful attempts to have it work on other Palm OS 5 devices. But this is an hack and not everyone wants to do. I’m not sure how well the relations are between Access and Palm nowadays, but some money from Palm could convince Access to make a version running on all current Palm OS devices. But looks like Palm isn’t interested…
  • A native Opera. Rumors are Opera 9 might come native to Palm OS. But looking on the descending market it might be just wishful thinking.
  • A port of the Gecko engine (Firefox, Mozilla, Netscape). The engine is known for taking much memory, but there are versions for mobile Nokia devices. Based on them, one could try to port a Gecko-based browser to Palm OS.
  • Finally, a port of the WebKit project. This is something Donald C. Kirker wants to do and I’m supposed to help him. But honestly, I lost the track of the activities as I had other things to do. As far as I know also Donald has to earn money for daily living – you can imagine how much time is left for such a big project.

You see, there are 4 options. Option 1 and 2 might cost Palm a lot of money for licenses. Option 3 and 4 just need work and time. In my opinion, Palm could profit from the iPhone hype and benefit from a WebKit port with a similar interface to Safari on iPhone or iPod Touch.

Will it be possible at all?

I’m very positive.

Will it cost much?

Not at all. Palm could use it for free on there devices, as it is open source. Palm could or better should force this development by taking some money in there hand and support the porting project.

How much money we are talking about?

Well, let’s look back to the PalmPDF project I did over a year ago: 4 weeks until you get it compiled and linked, 4 weeks until you removed the obvious bugs and crashes. Then you release a beta and let it test from users. Now you will need to fine tune the GUI and catch the remaining bugs. This might be another month work but over a bigger time frame. Now we have 3 month work for a decent browser compatible with the growing list of web-apps compatible with Safari on iPhone. 3 month, well I would do it for 20000 US-$. Palm this is an offer! If you think about the number of devices sold each year and the list of devices already sold – this are a few cents per device.

Well, as we speak about such projects: Ever thought about having WiFi on your Treo smartphone? Well, if you don’t have WiFi directly, it might be an option to have a BT-to-WiFi-bridge in your pocket which you can enable if necessary and connect from your Treo -> to the bridge and the bridge connects to the WiFi-network. Cool stuff isn’t it? Palm sells the TX. Nice device, not too expensive with WiFi and BT. One would say, an ideal device for such a bridge. I made some test and could create the correct service on the TX, but unfortunately the Treo didn’t recognized my TX as network/modem device. Here I probably need some insides. Palm? Can you help me?

Nice holidays,

Dezember 25, 2007 · admin · One Comment
Posted in: Allgemein, Developing, Palm

One Response

  1. pinchies - Januar 17, 2008

    +1 for good luck 😉

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