Friday, June 01, 2007

Screens Vision

The Palm Foleo device although not released is something to talk about. Devices are constantly coming out in different form factors in different operating systems (Symbian, Windows Mobile, PalmOS, Linux) and different middleware. It can be very hard for developers coding for all these different platforms. Each developer either rewrites his applications from scratch for each platform, or tries to create a common ground to ease the porting of its applications. This costs money for developers for every platform they need to write for and can stop innovation since devices that dont have much market share might not be targeted by developers. Also all the resources that were spent on the common ground layer costs money and time which could of been spent on fine-tuning the application before release or new features. That's where Screens comes in. If Screens was already released, I would be able to quickly port the kernel & UI modules to the new Palm Foleo API and developers would just need to grab the new porting code & compile in the target device compiler and then they can focus on refining the user interface for the specific device. It allows for more programming for the user and less programming for the device. All the devices around us are becoming more and more the same in thier core parts. The Palm Foleo is basicly a small laptop with a small screen, so why should applications need to be rewritten for it just because its got a smaller resolution and screen. I understand that the Foleo is for documents and email but what if I need to view Cad Architecht diagrams, why should I have to use different applications from different companies with different features and layouts. People talk alot about software lock-in and thats where open formats help but with platform lock-in there currently is no solution (dont say Java). If you use your software on a specific platform configuration, its very rare that you can duplicate that experience on a different platform configuration. Windows has helped with making all PC's the same in thier infrastructure and vary on the real differences but there is no solution for cross platform needs. Why should the Windows Mobile Smartphone and Blackberry have entirely different user experiences when they more or less have the same hardware layout? I should be able to choose the device with the features I like and not have to learn a new user experience especially when I get the same functionality. Yes, Choice is good but choice should be a recommendation and optional. While you can argue that games and other proccessor intensive applications need to use the native API for speed, email is not one of those applications and should not need to be rewritten for each platform natively. I guess untill I release Screens, users wont able to have the option to choose thier software but be forced to choose.