Its easy operating system, WebOS, may just allow the Pre to tap web developers for cool apps to compete with the iPhone.
When Ian McFarland, of Pivotal Labs, first started talking to Palm about the Pre last November he says; “We realised it was not just another me-too platform.”
McFarland, a principal and vice president of technology at Pivotal, which is a consultancy specialising in web and mobile development, said he grudgingly waited in line to get a glimpse of the Pre at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, but came out really impressed. Further details were released in April.
Indeed, the Palm Pre’s operating system (webOS) and Mojo Software Development Kit (SDK) enable developers to use familiar web technologies to create applications, without having to learn different languages or technologies.
“That made it easy to build applications quickly and not have them feel like second-class applications,” McFarland said, noting that up to now, many of the applications built with web technology weren’t as rich as those built with native or custom technology.
Moreover; “All the little annoyances I have with my iPhone were made plain,” McFarland said. “I really didn’t even know I had these ‘annoyances,’ until I started playing around with the Pre. But it showed me that you are able to really multi-task on a mobile phone. Going from email to do something else is a hassle on other devices, but with the Pre you can have different applications open with multiple views. And notifications are handled elegantly. Meanwhile, BlackBerry, the iPhone and all the others have pain points.”
“It’s got a real multitasking OS (operating system); Android gets closest, but it doesn’t have the ease of use the Pre does.”
Added McFarland, “Any time you can look at an iPhone and the Pre device and say this is much better, that’s disruptive. It’s a beautiful little device,” he said of the Pre.
Not only does it provide a good user experience, it also makes for a good developer experience, said McFarland.
He noted that Pivotal Labs will be responsible for several applications that will be available when Palm makes the Pre generally available to the public, which could be as soon as May. McFarland said Pivotal is creating a Pre application of its own and is working on four other applications under contract with third-party organisations that will ship them under their own brands. Pivotal has 10 software developers dedicated to Pre application development with two additional developers on call to pitch in when needed.
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, McFarland said; “there’s nothing that would preclude it from doing that, it should be fully portable.”