The Life Unwired with Ben Combee (unwiredben) wrote,
The Life Unwired with Ben Combee
unwiredben

A Few Palm Pre Application Ideas

As I mentioned on Twitter, I'm one of the lucky developers that are in the Palm webOS developer program. My status as an ex-Palm-employee probably helped my application stand out a little. We recently had our developer agreement amended to allow discussion of the development experience in public forums, so here's my first post on the topic.

First, from watching the homebrew world, I fully expect that lots of obvious niches will be filled very quickly once the app catalog for the Pre opens up. There will be scientific calculators, tip calculators, and shopping list apps. Some one will have a "Drug Wars/Mob Wars" style game, and various dice and puzzle games will quickly appear. The catalog will look a lot like the early Palm OS days.

It will take a little longer for more serious programs to appear, both because of the learning curve of webOS and because developers will want to realize a return on their investments. That means having a larger user pool.

OK, so what are my ideas right now? I've got a few:
  1. "Required Reading", a client for a variety of web services that keep track of bookmarks like Read It Later, Delicious, Mozilla Weave, and Newsgator Clippings. This app would let you view your lists, open the bookmarks in the web browser, and have those links marked as read or visited.
  2. "Memosa", an application that addresses the problem that you can't easily migrate your Palm OS memos. I envision a web service that lets you upload a Palm OS memo database file and returns a RSS feed of the memo entries. Make this use HTTPS and require a password and you can do one-time conversions. The Pre app could then download and store the memos locally.
  3. "Couch to 5K Tracker". I've got an app on my iPod Touch that handles audio cues for the timing of the various C25K runs, but it's biggest limitation is that you've got to start your playlist before you start the app, and if you want to change music, you've got to pause and resume your run. On the Palm Pre, you can just use the multitasking and not have to worry about the timer getting messed up.
  4. "Electronics RefCard". This is a simple app to help you figure out the value of resistors and other components by their color markings. I also imagine having some way to store IC pin outs here for quick reference, and maybe having calculators for Ohm's Law and parallel/series circuits.
  5. "Photo Puzzle". The standard 4x4 block of sliding tiles with one missing. You get to rearrange them in the right order. The hook: unscramble your own photos instead of a bunch of numbers.
  6. "IP Toolkit". Front-end for a web service that lets you ping hosts and do DNS and WHOIS lookups.
Some of these are fairly easy to code, and others will take a bit more work.  I'm currently working on the C25K tracker as my first application; it has an immediate appeal to me because I'm going through that training program right now, and there's some interesting challenges with keeping the device awake to do accurate timing and mixing my alert sounds with the other audio streams.  However, I've also got some code in place for the Electronics application.  I could do a really poor job on that one quickly, but I'd like for it to actually have a nice user interface.

Tags: projects, technology, webos
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