Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1.    #1  
    There can be no better example of the difference in philosophy between Apple and Palm than in the environment for homebrew apps. For iPhone developers, Apple's year-long delay in launching its App Store, and its rigid control over what apps may (and can) be installed on the iPhone, have led to an underground developer community, a back-and-forth battle between those "jailbreaking" the iPhone to allow 3rd party apps and Apple's OS updates to break the breaking, and a high barrier to entry for any developer who wishes to legitimately distribute its application.

    Contrast that with Palm, whose tradition of openness to 3rd party applications goes back to the earliest days of the PalmOS. While Apple chose a proprietary Unix basis for its iPhone OSX, Palm went with open-source Linux, and even though Palm has been releasing the SDK quite slowly as it ramps up its developer support structure, it has supported the OS exploration of pre dev wiki, and permitted (and had its moderators participate in) threads about homebrew apps on the official Palm user forum.

    The result of Palm's openness (both as a corporation and within the Pre hardware and software) has been an explosion of homebrew applications, posted here on PreCentral even while Palm prepares to expand the official offerings in the App Catalog. Some of the developers have adapted existing open-source programs, others have written them from scratch, and the offerings are of varying levels of professional quality. The universal theme, though, has been an excitement about the potential of WebOS, and an eagerness to get more applications out there for testing and use.

    With that in mind, I thought I would publish a brief review of some of the most useful and fun homebrew apps I've installed since getting my Pre from Palm a few weeks ago. (And no, I did not install the fart application!)

    You can see some of the icons for these apps on my Pre launcher screens:



    Here are some of my favorite homebrew apps. (If I don't post a review, it doesn't mean I don't use or appreciate a particular app; I just want to give a sample).

    Garfield

    PreCentral user Roar posted one of the first homebrew apps, actually a pair of apps, which call up and display the comic strips Garfield and Dilbert on the Pre's screen. It doesn't resize or rotate, so one must scroll the comic with a fingertip, but the apps are quick and do exactly what they promise. Here's today's Garfield (in two shots):






    Scientific Calculator

    From among the few calculators posted, I've chosen rboatright's Scientific Calculator, which provides a large number of mathematical functions without requiring the reverse Polish notation (RPN) entry method preferred by some.



    (If you like RPN, there's a homebrew app for that as well.) While I generally can get by in my own limited needs with the built-in calculator that came with WebOS, I'm glad to have a more sophisticated one to help my oldest son with his algebra and trigonometry homework.


    Flashlight

    I have long used the screens of my PalmOS handhelds as on-demands flashlights to avoid toys and clothes on the floor of darkened kids' rooms, or to find a dropped item in a nighttime parking lot. While the Pre's screen itself is not the brightest, it does have a built-in LED flash for the camera. PreGame latched onto that feature with a simple, easy app that does just one thing: turn on and off the LED to act as a quite bright flashlight. It's a thoughtful app (which even reminds users of battery impact when the light is on), and has already been very useful to me. (Note: this app requires root access to your Pre, like a limited number of other homebrew apps; the forum and other resources can help you figure out whether and how you should get root access.)







    My Notification

    This homebrew app by Kaerey addresses a situation which will likely be changed in a future WebOS release: the inability of users to customize the sounds used for the two different types of notifications (Notifications and Alerts), beyond just choosing a ringtone. With this app, one can select separate sounds for each type of notification, as well as (using the instructions contained in the initial posting) adding one's own sounds to the choices. This app is firmly in the tradition of developers' adding features to Palm's stock OS, which often encourages Palm to add those features itself in subsequent releases. (Long-time PalmOS users will remember Daggerware's brilliant Hackmaster system extension manager and its own Menuhack as early examples of this trend.)




    Conclusion

    I hope that many of you will be encouraged by this meta-review to try some of these homebrew apps on your own Palm Pres. While I predict that some of these may become fixtures in the App Catalog, I also expect that others will remain personal projects, to be downloaded from sites like PreCentral and "sideloaded" onto waiting Palm Pres. Between the growing number of homebrew apps and the impending expansion of the App Catalog (now that the SDK is in much broader release), it's clear that WebOS has a bright future as a productivity and entertainment environment for users. {ProfJonathan}
    Prof. Jonathan I. Ezor
    Writer, PreCentral
    Past Palm Real Reviewer
    @webOSquire on Twitter
  2. leez's Avatar
    Posts
    136 Posts
    Global Posts
    210 Global Posts
    #2  
    This is an AWESOME post. Thank you so very much!
    Loving the Pre...
    Follow me on Twitter
  3. #3  
    I think you should also include My Tether on this list. Even though it requires rooting.
    Palm III-->Handspring Visor-->Sony Clie PEG-NR70-->no PDA -->Palm Treo 755p-->Palm Pre-->HP Veer
  4. #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by jbg7474 View Post
    I think you should also include My Tether on this list. Even though it requires rooting.
    Agreed, tethering is awesome (even if it's not supported or endorsed by Spring or Palm)
  5. leez's Avatar
    Posts
    136 Posts
    Global Posts
    210 Global Posts
    #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by cannibal869 View Post
    Agreed, tethering is awesome (even if it's not supported or endorsed by Spring or Palm)
    Not only is tethering awesome, but the application itself is very well written and extremely easy to use! I was VERY impressed with it. Aonic also REALLY takes care of donors.
    Loving the Pre...
    Follow me on Twitter
  6.    #6  
    I haven't used it so can't be the one to review it. Any of you who have should feel free. {ProfJonathan}
    Prof. Jonathan I. Ezor
    Writer, PreCentral
    Past Palm Real Reviewer
    @webOSquire on Twitter
  7. Epena's Avatar
    Posts
    16 Posts
    Global Posts
    17 Global Posts
    #7  
    Awesome reviews, thanks!
  8. synplex's Avatar
    Posts
    90 Posts
    Global Posts
    126 Global Posts
    #8  
    Is there any way to make a Homebrew Updater App for the pre? Something that looks for updates for you homebrew apps and installs them, like whats on the Iphone and WMobile phones?

    Is there is Plz someone try to make one if possible.
  9. Kaerey's Avatar
    Posts
    539 Posts
    Global Posts
    540 Global Posts
    #9  
    Thanks for the nod!
    8MB Visor --> Treo 300 --> Treo 650 --> Treo 800w --> Palm Pre
    All devices obtained within first week of launch

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions