Early last year, Palm bet the farm. They hired a bunch of ex-Apple engineers, killed off all of their old Palm OS devices and announced a new smartphone operating system, webOS, the first truly exciting alternative to the iPhone OS since its unveiling in 2007. They went all in, with their only conciliatory gesture to the existing Palm OS ecosystem a third-party emulator.
Unfortunately, as great as webOS is, that gamble hasn’t paid off for Palm: they are now in dire financial difficulty, and it looks likely that the once revolutionary mobile device maker will soon only be remembered as a footnote in smartphone history.
It’s a shame, and the death of Palm might otherwise have signified the final death of PalmOS, which — before the App Store — was perhaps the most vibrant, crowded and creative platform of mobile app development.
Good news for Palm OS nostalgists, though: the StyleTap emulator has just come out on Cydia, allowing anyone with a jailbroken iPhone or iPod Touch to use it to run Palm OS apps. It’s a bit pricy at $49, but at first blush, StyleTap looks pretty flawless. If the impending death of Palm has you finally considering trading your Pre in for an iPhone, StyleTap will help make that transition a bit easier.