Sunday, February 24, 2008

StyleTap May Bring Palm OS Applications to the iPhone

StyleTap Inc. is best known for its application that allows users to run Palm OS programs on a Windows Mobile device. Now the company is considering branching out to a new platform: the Apple iPhone and iPod touch.

It isn't ready to make a formal announcement, but has released a video demonstrating a prototype version.

The advantages of this for iPhone and iPod touch users are obvious. Although Apple's mobile devices have proved to be very popular, as a new platform the number of third-party applications for them is very limited, and it be years before there's any hope of it rivaling the selection available to users of Palm OS devices. StyleTap's program could go a long way toward eliminating this delay.

A Big Caveat

The main reason StyleTap hasn't committed to supporting the iPhone is that Apple has not yet unveiled the details of its upcoming system that will allow users to buy and install native third-party applications on its smartphone.

Until it's known how open or restrictive this will be, StyleTap is being cautious.

Still, Bob Chew, one of StyleTap's founders, said:

It looks promising. If Apple's security and application installation and distribution scheme isn't too restrictive, it looks like StyleTap will be able to run the same applications on the iPhone/Touch, Symbian, and Windows Mobile/CE platforms. With devices from Palm and those running ALP, this should go a long way in helping developers deal with the mobile OS fragmentation problem.

In addition, this company is close to releasing a version of StyleTap which will allow Symbian smartphones -- both S60 and UIQ -- to run applications written for the Palm OS.

by Ed Hardy

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