In 2008, we covered StyleTap’s plan to create a Garnet Palm OS emulator for the iPhone, and the difficulties it ran into due to Apple’s “no emulators” clause.
Now Engadget reports that StyleTap has finally come out with the software. There are just two catches, however: first, it only works on jailbroken iPhones (since Apple has not changed its stance on emulators), and second, it costs $49.99—an astronomical amount for an iPhone application. (In fact, for that amount you could probably find a pretty good used Palm on Amazon or eBay.)
It is hard for me to see who exactly StyleTap’s target market is for this application. Granted, a number of professionals, particularly doctors, grew to rely on Garnet applications back during its golden era. But some of those apps (such as the iSilo document reader) have come out with iPhone native versions already—and as for the others, it has been long enough since the last Garnet device was released that their users have had ample time to find other solutions.
For that matter, there are a number of medical applications available for Palm’s new WebOS, as well, and it has a fully-supported Garnet emulator that only costs $29.99.
Who is going to want to pay $49.99 (not to mention jailbreak his device) to emulate an old-style Palm when you can do most things better on modern hardware? If StyleTap had come out with this app back in 2008, it might have had an audience. It is hard to imagine very many people still need it after this long.
On the other hand, I have been reminded that institutional inertia often leaves institutions dependent on legacy software for years after it has been made obsolete. So even if StyleTap doesn’t find very many individual users who need it, presumably some of those institutions might see value in putting a $50 Garnet emulator on their iPhones or iPod Touches.