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Finally some QUALITY apps for Android: PalmOS emulator ported

Just woken up with long beard, curly fingernails?

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PalmOS users who've become objects of ridicule with their refusal to upgrade can now switch to Android while keeping the favourite PalmOS apps.

The technology comes from StyleTap, whose PalmOS emulators made Windows Mobile and Symbian usable for so long. Now PalmOS obsessives can buy a port of the emulator for Google's Android operating system.

Quite what applications that obsessive is running we're not sure. For many years PalmOS was the only mobile platform which could play a decent game of Go, but that's no longer true. We're struggling to think of a single PalmOS application we'd even use today even if it wasn't going to cost us $49.95 - the emulator's price tag.

But individual sales at that price isn't really what StyleTap is about: the real customers are vertical industries who are struggling to support legacy applications which were developed for PalmOS and have never been ported to newer platforms.

StyleTap now contends that PalmOS applications are the most portable of all, being able to run on such a wide variety of devices and gadgets: though we'd argue that, by that logic, applications developed for the Sinclair Spectrum (for which there are plenty of emulators) are even more portable.

The problem with Spectrum titles is they lack graphical interaction and networking of any kind, while PalmOS apps can still hold their own on a mobile handset - just about. For companies with existing codebases StyleTap is the only alternative to starting again from scratch.

In December the company released an iOS port for jail-broken Apple devices because its software isn't allowed into the iTunes store. Apple doesn’t permit emulators, as they'd provide an alternative to iTunes for application distribution, so the iOS version of StyleTap is only available in the Cydia store.

The Android version isn't in the app stores either, though the company says it will be, so desperate users will have to download direct from StyleTap or just wait another few weeks - which shouldn't be a problem for anyone who's stuck with PalmOS to this point. ®

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