Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A new platform for REALbasic

I don't need to tell any of you that a big part of the appeal of REALbasic is how easily you can support a new platform. Well, we have been working for a while now on supporting a new platform. I'm not talking about Cocoa, which you all know we are hard at work on. There's a device that has had millions and millions of users, has been extremely popular amongst both individuals and corporate users and yet has surprisingly little support in terms of development tools. And supporting it has been one of the most requested features from our customers. I'm talking about of course, the Palm Pilot.

There was once a lot of development tools available for the Palm Pilot but most of them are gone now. And the few that are left are focused on the Palm Treo. Don't get me wrong, smartphones have their place but there are still a lot of Palm Pilots out there and they're not all in landfills. I think the reason there hasn't been much new software is that the development tools have mostly gone away. It's a huge potential market that no one has tapped into in years. While those that are still using Palm Pilots these days tend to be what Geoffrey Moore referred to as "laggards" in his book, Crossing the Chasm, that doesn't mean they won't buy software. It's just going to take a different kind of approach. Consider John Scherer, the CEO of Video Professor. He does those commercials on late night TV where he offers a free CD that teaches you how to use eBay. I think that kind of approach would be very effective for selling new software titles to Palm Pilot users. And consider this: these people haven't bought a new software application for their Palm Pilot is years! So their interest level in something new could be quite high!

The key to this approach will be to get an app store application onto these Palm Pilots. That will make the marketing and purchasing process a lot easier. We will provide the App Store application and the commerce system that will drive it. To get the app store application onto these Palm Pilots, we will be doing some direct mailings using some mailing lists that Palm oddly enough, was quite happy to give us for free. We are also going to partner with the folks that make the Snuggie and the ShamWow as our research shows that a lot of Palm Pilot users also buy these products. Strange, but true. Now of course the Palm Pilot has no direct Internet connectivity. But a lot of Palm Pilot users are not that comfortable with the Internet anyway. So the app store application will simply present a telephone number they can call where they can speak to a real person that can tell them about the apps that are available, take their order and then send them a disk with the software. The disk will then come with a number they can call should they need help installing the software. I think this kind of hand-holding is not only essential but will be quite appreciated.

Once our support for the Palm Pilot is ready, we will need you to develop some cool apps. But it is going to require some additional attention to detail as most Palm Pilots only have about 8 megs of RAM and many don't have color screens. Also, we only plan to support the Palm V and newer models as we have to draw the line somewhere. If you don't have a Palm Pilot, you can pick one up on eBay since Palm only sells the Treo these days.

So start thinking now about what your first Palm Pilot app will be!



13 comments:

Anonymous said...

You almost had me 'til the "Palm Pilot." Good one!

Anonymous said...

Wow! What cruel Joke!

Almost had me to until you said 'palm pilot'.

Hard to believe I read the whole thing!

Grrr!

Anonymous said...

An April Fool's Joke? If not, then I have some concerns: first, most recent Palm Pilot's DO have direct internet connectivity; second, Palm already has the Palm App Store (though it is very poorly implemented; can't Palm do anything right these days?); and third, you may as well aim for the Palm Pre these days. Oh, and fourth, if it's not a joke, you picked a lousy day to announce it. :)

Anonymous said...

Snuggie and Shamwow. That was pretty good.

Anonymous said...

Very creative and funny!

Hopefully REAL Software engineering resources are focused on platforms like the BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, the iPhone, and Android. All four of these platforms continue to grow and are well suited for sister applications that integrate with our applications that already run on Windows, OS X, and Linux. Cross platform development tools for smartphones are a great fit for a company that already provides cross platform development tools for laptops, desktops, and servers. Using REALbasic to compile applications for Windows, OS X, Linux, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, the iPhone, and Android from one set of source code would make it the ultimate cross platform development tool.

Well, that's just one opinion. Hopefully others will chime in to support my position, the ridiculous but amusing Palm Pilot effort, or something altogether different. Whatever the consensus, it would be nice to see some feedback on this from those that use REALbasic to develop software for a living.

For the record, nothing makes me happier on a cool but sunny afternoon than cleaning my boat with my ShamWow and keeping warm with my Snuggie while checking hours old stock values on my Palm Pilot from when I synced it earlier that morning. ;-)

Trausti said...

Until I read the April fools day I thought Geoff totally had lost it. Good one

Karig said...

OK, I was hoping you were going to say you were working hard on providing support for the iPhone. Oh well. :)

Martin Kvapil said...

i was so hoping for iPhone and then you say Palm Pilot. Basterds :) Happy april fools day :)

Jeffrey Rosen said...

Hahaha, I remember when Palm Pilot support was actually a serious request. :) Nice one.

REAL Software said...

Just in case anyone is not sure, this is an April Fool's Day joke. :)

Anonymous said...

I sure hope the software disk is a 5.25 floppy, if not, I'm screwed.

steveorevo said...

LOL, hilarious. What a joke!

Anonymous said...

I'm not a 'laggard'...I bought a Pre first day out...but I was all caught up in your idea. I've got 3 or 4 PalmOS devices laying around that could be put to use by someone with specific needs. Unfortunately, development of such apps ain't gonna make me or you much moola!

Now...REALbasic for WebOS and Windows Mobile and whatever it is they do iPhone stuff in...that would be GREAT!!!