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Palm OS on an iPhone - there's an app for that

But not in the iTunes App Store

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Palm OS obsessives StyleTap have created an iPhone emulator, but you'll have to give Cydia $50 and jailbreak your handset to run it.

The legions of iPhone users desperate to run their Palm OS apps can finally relax, because StyleTap can now deliver all that Palm OS goodness to an iPhone. Users might even be able to run that NS Basic application originally developed for Apple's Newton.

StyleTap already provides Palm OS emulation for Symbian and Windows Mobile, and the company keeps reminding us that Palm OS applications are still widely used by vertical markets all over the world by companies which don't want to replace their working software and appreciate the emulated approach.

But the presence of StyleTap on the Cydia store also lends credibility to that alternative market for iPhone applications. Users generally jailbreak their iPhones to run a specific application - one they can't get from the iTunes store - but once they've stepped outside of Apple's control there's little to entice them back again.

Apple's rules clearly don't allow emulators, which could provide an alternative application platform and threaten the simplicity of the iTunes monopoly on application distribution. Unlike Opera, StyleTap has no get-out clause, and so finds itself forced into the Cydia app.

Free applications are discovering that Apple's control can be bypassed by embracing Steve Jobs' original vision for the iPhone - every application should be a well-designed web site. Cockfosters-based Mobile Services Ltd was forced to lay off more than two thirds of its staff when Apple changed its mind on pornography, but was surprised to discover it could create a web-based alternative (XPornApp) without losing any significant functionality.

That's fine if you want to give your content away, but companies like StyleTap need sales revenue to survive. We'll be keeping up with them to see if Cydia can provide a viable alternative to control from Cupertino. ®

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