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Palm Pre

Posted on: January 12th, 2009 by Craig Rairdin 16 Comments

Palm, maker of the popular Treo and Centro phones and the venerable Palm OS organizers (also known as connected organizers and the original Palm Pilot), has announced a new phone, called the Pre. You can read about it here:

If you’re into technical details, you can find some here:

While there are some nice Web pages and pre-ads (pun intended) for the Pre, there is surprisingly little information about adding programs to the Pre.

However, based on what we’ve read, this is what we “know” right now:

  1. The Pre uses a new operating system
  2. Palm will be making additional information available to developers “over the coming weeks and months”
  3. Although it’s not been expressly stated, it appears that existing Palm OS programs will not run on the Pre
  4. It will be possible to add 3rd party programs to the Pre
  5. These new Pre programs are completely new, and not based upon existing Palm OS programs
  6. These new Pre programs are more similar to Web pages than to traditional programs written in languages such as C and C++

So, if you’re a MyBible user or are hoping to be a Pre early adopter, what does this all mean? It means:

  1. You should not expect MyBible to work on a Pre
  2. You should not expect any existing Palm OS applications to work on a Pre
  3. There will be confusion about which programs work on older Palm devices and which work on the Pre
  4. No one can start working on programs designed for the Pre until Palm releases more information “over the coming weeks and months”

What do we think about the new Pre? On the one hand, it looks like another cool new phone. On the other hand, it looks like just another cool new phone. As a cool new phone, unrelated to the current Palm models except by name, it will require an investment to create a cool new program that will work on it.

As Palm releases more information about the Pre, we’ll have the information we need to evaluate if and when there might be a version of PocketBible for the Pre.

16 Responses

  1. Josh S says:

    I’ve been a Palm user since the Palm III, and had always been very happy with their products. One of the reasons for my happiness was third party apps like MyBible.
    Recently, they seem to have been wavering between the Palm OS, Windows, and now this new OS.
    The only reason that I hesitated to switch to the iPhone was that I would loose the backward compatibility with my palm. I wanted to go with a Treo, but I was concerned about support, and the data plans were too expensive.
    I can not imagine who would buy the new Pre. Existing Palm owners have no reason to, users of other platforms aren’t going to switch to it, and new smartphone users aren’t going to give it a first look. With iPhone, Windows, Blackberry, and Android (and others?), there is no market for this.
    I’m really hoping that Android takes off and when my iPhone contract is up that there are many cool handsets to choose from that are all compatible with the same apps, and there’s some real competition between handset makers, and between carriers.
    So if Laridian is looking at developing for another OS after the iPhone app is done, maybe Android is the one to pick.

  2. Paul Golder says:

    From Matt Hamblen at Computerworld:

    “We’re not emulating [applications from] the old Palm OS, but will allow third-party emulation,” said Pam Deziel, vice president of product management, in an interview Friday at the International CES trade show. “We’re figuring on having developers do great applications.”

  3. MarcT says:

    Thanx for the update, even if it was just to say, “Your guess is as good as ours”. I’m so invested in the minutia of PalmOS and its apps that finally switching will be tough. But when I am forced to switch, the availability of the Bible is non-negotiable. So keep porting! I like options. =)

  4. Vandalous says:

    I was a big Palm fan up through my Treo 650. Now that it’s dead, I am hoping that the Pre can pick up where it left off. I hope that some enterprising developer comes up with a solid PalmOS emulator so that I can continue to use my Laridian products.

    Thanks for the update on the Pre and I hope to see your products on that platform.

  5. david says:

    I saw several site that show a GSM unlocked version of the palm pre

  6. CoffeeTownster says:

    I ditto bits and pieces of each comment so far. I to have been a heavy Palm and Palm Smartphone user for years. MyBible is a must for me! When I made the switch to my Treo, I did lose a few favorite apps from years gone by. Also, I did have to update a few apps that “made the cut” to upgrade from an old Palm OS to the more current one on the Treo. It was worth it- now that I read what the Pre says it will do (combined with the age and dependability of my Treo) makes it almost certain that I will have to make the plunge. Laridian came through for me last time, supplying what was needed to make the transititon and I hope they do so again- they are awesome!

  7. Tyler says:

    I’ve been watching and reading a lot about the Pre and I have to say it looks VERY promising. As an iPhone owner, I have been very frustrated with Apple’s lack of concern about features and options for their phone and it looks like Palm is building on Apple’s success by actually making an open product that will have both great looks AND a focus on functionality. That said, I really hope Laridian decides to continue their relationship with Palm by giving their full support to the Pre.

  8. JP says:

    I would encourage everyone to take a look at the Pre. In many ways, it looks like a giant step forward for mobile technology. The “cloud” syncing concept it implements looks simply amazing.

    That said, an emulator application has already been developed. You can read about it extensively at Moreover, Palm looks like it is doing everything it can to make developing for this platform simple and easy.


  9. Erik L says:

    I am wavering between PalmPre and iPhone. I own a Palm T3 but need to switch to another device as I use MyBible so much that I go thru my screens every 1-2 years! The ‘problem’ is that I am loathe to leave behind my extensive textnotes in MyBible.
    If I go to iPhone… I will be forced to give up my textnotes. (unless someone knows of a way to transfer Palm textnotes to iPocketBible for iPhone?) DO YOU?? Currently iPhone does not support a peripheral keyboard by which I might copy over the notes from my Palm to the iPhone manually. The labour of thumbing them in on the iPhones keyboard exceeds even my attachment to my textnotes.
    If I go to Palm Pre’s WebOS… I will be at best, running MyBible on MotionApps emulator. The emulator will not be nearly as snappy as Pre’s WebOS. How long I will have to do this is unknown as there is no timeline for when Laridian will have a product our for Pre’s WebOS. And even if/when they do it is unlikely that this new product will rival the accumulated functionality of MyBible 5 for Palm.

    At the end of the day, I think the best solution for me would be to find a way to ‘transfer’ my textnotes from MyBible for Palm TO iPhone. Does anyone know IF this can be accomplished and HOW?

  10. Jeff Wheeler says:

    Erik wrote: At the end of the day, I think the best solution for me would be to find a way to ‘transfer’ my textnotes from MyBible for Palm TO iPhone. Does anyone know IF this can be accomplished and HOW?

    Yes, Erik. This can easily be done. Before I explain, though, it’s interesting that this is an integral feature of our products, but one that you don’t know about it at all. That prompts me to ask, why not? Are you not receiving emails from Have we not sufficiently explained the feature at our Web site? Is this such an unexpected feature that you didn’t think to look for it? If you have suggestions for what we could have done to better communicate this to you (and others), please let us know. Since we make and use our products all the time, we tend to think that everyone else knows almost as much about them as we do. That’s obviously unrealistic, so it helps to hear from you.

    Synchronization of your notes and bookmarks between your Palm and PC is a new feature of MyBible 5. Synchronization of your notes and bookmarks between your PC and iPhone is a feature of our PocketBible for Windows and our service. Here’s how it works.

    1) You install MyBible 5 to your Palm OS 5 handheld.
    2) You install PocketBible for Windows to your Windows PC.
    3) You install free synchronization software to your Windows PC. (Click here for info)
    4) You synchronize your notes and bookmarks between PocketBible for Windows and MyBible.

    Your notes and bookmarks are now on your PC. You can then synchronize the same notes and bookmarks (and highlights, in some cases) to your other PocketBible programs (such as on a Windows Mobile Pocket PC) or with (for your iPhone).

    The important thing to note is that PocketBible for Windows is currently the “hub” and your mobile devices connect and synchronize through it. This ability to share your notes with PocketBible for Windows and the mobile platforms that we support is a powerful (and unique) feature of our products. It not only allows you to share your own data on your many devices, but also makes it possible to move from any supported platform to any other supported platform.

  11. Erik L says:

    Thank you Jeff
    Actually Laridian had already competently addressed this issue. Due to ignorance on my part and no fault of those at Laridian, I was still unclear regarding a few details. I am not so savvy with the tech-talk jargon and I guess that threw me. However it very much helps to have this information corroborated by you. I think you have helped me make a difficult decision a lot easier. I am almost certain to go with the iPhone now. If this works as simply as you say, it is indeed a ‘powerful and unique feature’ of your products.
    One point of clarification; Once I ‘transfer’ the textnotes from PC (actually Virtual PC as I will be using a desktop Mac) to iPocketBible the textnotes will be on my iPocketBible web account and therefore accessible from my iPhone… Do you think that I will need to use the above process AGAIN? Won’t I be syncing thereafter using my iPhone directly to my iPocketBible web account? Any other notes that I add from that point on I can do manually with the iPhone thumb board.

    Thank you so much at Laridian for your patience and expertise.

  12. Jeff Wheeler says:

    Erik wrote: One point of clarification; Once I ‘transfer’ the textnotes from PC (actually Virtual PC as I will be using a desktop Mac) to iPocketBible the textnotes will be on my iPocketBible web account and therefore accessible from my iPhone…

    Right. You’ll be able to use your notes via

    Do you think that I will need to use the above process AGAIN? Won’t I be syncing thereafter using my iPhone directly to my iPocketBible web account?

    With, your notes will always be stored on our server and never on your iPhone. This happens automatically in (as it is Web-based) and does not require our syncing software.

    However, if/when you want to synchronize those notes back to your PC (or Mac running Windows in your case), you can do that. This will let you use those same notes on your PC. It will also move any new notes that you’ve made on your PC to your account.

    Any other notes that I add from that point on I can do manually with the iPhone thumb board.

    Yes. Or you can enter notes on your PC in PocketBible for Windows, and then sync those notes to your account.

  13. Erik L says:

    Thank you so much. I am very much encouraged by your prompt feedback. The ability to enter text notes from the keyboard of my ‘PC’ will furthermore give me cause to go this route. Perhaps in the future, I will keep the virtual PC software on my desktop Mac for just such a purpose. I think I have a handle on this now. Thank you so much again. The ‘blog’ at Laridian is very helpful. I wish I had utilized it earlier and avoided my confusion.

  14. Jeff Wheeler says:

    Erik, glad that we could help.

    Don’t forget that our Help Desk is also available, and is generally the best way to correspond with us. You’ll find the link for the Help Desk at our general site. There you’ll find articles related to specific products and questions. If you don’t find what you’re looking for there, you can submit a question via a ticket and receive confidential, detailed assistance.

  15. Jaggrey says:

    There have been several developer tools released for the Palm Pre over the past few months. Has Laridian looked at any of these? Do you have a more clear estimate on when (or if) you’ll be providing a bible that will work with the Pre?

    I’d rather work with a native Pre application than to use MyBible via the emulator.


  16. Jeff Wheeler says:

    Jaggrey, we have not announced any plans regarding software that we may or may not offer for the Pre. However, you might want to check out our latest article on the subject. (This isn’t it.) :-)

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