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Porting iPhone Web Apps to the Palm Pre WebOS is EASY!

Well folks, there you have it! Mitch Allen with Palm webOS, 1st Edition published by O'Reilly Media, Inc., explains that most iPhone apps can be easily ported over to the Palm WebOS. As Mitch states: while you can take a native app designed for the iPhone and build an app with a similar design for webOS, the language differences (Objective C vs. JavaScript) and the API differences between iPhone OS X and webOS make it difficult to port an iPhone native app to webOS, BUT if you have an iPhone web app, it is easy to port to webOS.

This meaning, there will be several apps both Web and Native that will eventually hit the App Catalog in a short time. The Palm aficionados can look forward to full featured Web applications designed for the iPhone but now ported over for the Palm Pre.

The question is: How many Web apps are currently available for the iPhone that could potentially spill over to the Palm Pre? I am sure Apple won't let us know for sure BUT let's find out here  (about 3955 total).

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Reader Comments (18)


May 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commenternobel

Uhh, this isn't exactly surprising. I mean, they were WEB apps. Built on Safari (webkit). I'm a huge fan of the Pre right now, but this is pretty 'meh.'

I mean, I'm glad there will be something, but likely to mostly be junk. The real apps are where the iphone glows, and where palm needs to shine

May 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLinh

Um... as an iphone user, I will tell you that this is non-news. I have not used a web app after 1.2. The use of the native apps is where the utility is on the iPhone. If palm can somehow develop a translator for iphone apps (probably would open them to DMCA lawsuits) then we could be talking some serious awesomeness.

May 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterchuym

That's pretty cool. It seems so obvious now, but for whatever reason it never occurred to me 'til now.

May 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNeil


I know right?

May 15, 2009 | Registered CommenterPreThinking

This isn't such a big deal. In fact web apps didn't do so well on the iphone. Also, I rather have quality instead of quantiity.

May 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRich

Please! No body gases or urine aiming games!

May 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBill

No offense, but why even port? Just use them in the Pre's browser like they were designed to be used.

May 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

Some of you all are missing the point. With very little work, the usable apps on the pre skyrocket. In essence, there's already X amount of apps available.

@chuym: Yes, but what do "hackers" care about DMCA laws? All it takes is that "one guy," and the app that converts apps is out there.

@jamie: Very good point. This is fairly obvious, but someone had to say it. I don't know how the webapps work, but I think I tried to get to one of them in firefox, even with the user agent change, and it didn't work. Do you have an example?

May 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

I have an iphone and hardly EVER use those web apps.....I want real apps on my PRE!

May 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTim T

It is possible I misunderstood something but *web apps* on iPhone and *apps* on webOS not only are not the same thing but are actually miles away in terms of usage, functionality and integration with the core OS. So the fact that web apps didn't succeed on iPhone means nothing for webOS since these are not the same types of apps. And your fear of "web" apps on webOS could be unfounded.

I would say that apps on webOS (mistakenly referred as Palm's "web" apps) are *native* to webOS so users won't see them as iPhone users would see iPhone's web apps (they will see them as real apps as iPhone users see iPhone's native apps - admittedly, excluding the hardware intensive games but my opinion is that Palm could, in future, open access to bits that intensive games require to run - certainly, Pre *has* more "juice" than iPhone). Imagine your desktop (even the taskbar) as a browser - but nobody would be able to tell that from just looking or working with your desktop - there would be no browser windows or anything but today's browser's (web) technologies would power the applications.

Disclaimer: I don't think I have ever used a web app on an iPhone. Certainly don't own one (iPhone) but have tested it and used briefly.

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDom

I think one thing that most people misundersatnd about WebOS apps, is that even though these apps are written with programming language (JavaScript) and markup language (HTML) most commonly used by the web browser, they are in fact OFFLINE applications that have capability to get information from the internet with ease. This means they will work in Airplane Mode on the phone. Pure Web-Apps will not, as they are merely a web pages. Great example is calculator. It is written with JavaScript and HTML. You don't have to learn C language to develop for Palm Pre. Every web developer is potential WebOS developer. Groundbreaking stuff!

July 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe Observer

Groundbreaking? Yeah it was groundbreaking in 2003 when it was called Konfabulator.

July 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermike


July 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCHA

Well as I've been saying... they,re widgets! These are nothing more than little web pages posing as real apps. They will never have the power to do real computational work required to write really good apps, let a lone harness the native power of Of Pre's graphics or processor. forget about games, web apps will never suffice, and games are whats needed to get the Pre off the launch pad.

July 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDave

I guess it's in the DNA; Palm stole the idea of Apple's Newton to develop the Palm Pilot, they couldn't get the handwriting recognition down, so they came up with some crappy special alphabet for input, now they've stolen Apples multi-touch input idea to launch the Pre, and while at it they decided to steal iTunes, and Now They Want To Steal Apple's iPhone Apps to run on the Pre. Have these guys no scruples? If Pre can't come up with a single original idea, then it's fate is already sealed. Pity too, cause I really liked the Pre, but it now looks like it's doomed to failure.

July 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Ha! Nice, Dave, but Palm IS Newton. When Jobs decided that it was a Scully project and scrapped the whole thing, the core team moved the idea to Palm, and that is that. Original idea! Jeez. I give Apple credit for slapping a phone chip in there to differentiate, but to say that this is an Apple original idea is beyond silly!

BTW - IMO the Pre is a faster sleeker more-mobile platform. Apple is better capitalized, and did move very fast, but the Pre has the best of the iPhone, the flip-phone, and the Smartphone - all rolled into one. They are a contender, and the better one, at least today!

August 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Thanks for all the tips guys! This really helps because I was debating over the pre and iphone because of apps, but in this blog ive learned that the pre is a better made phone. With iPhone 4 out now in the US (in June) it makes it a very difficult decision.

June 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrett from Canada 2010

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