Binks Is Here

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More VeloCity Worrying... Feel Free to Ignore

I haven’t heard anyone so much as mention the Palm Pre. You know, the device everyone is getting stupid excited over.

So much of what’s going on here looks like people are just following the herd - and right now the herd’s line is, “A (concept) integrating open APIs and location-based services while leveraging a social network component on the iPhone”. I bet if you did some looking around you’d find 3/4 of those lines in every idea people are talking about here (it kind of makes things boring as a returning student - many of these ideas seem unworkable for the same reason that last term’s ideas appeared to be unworkable. The entirely hands-off management style here does have its drawbacks…).

Sure, there’s that lone developer who whipped up a Tetris clone in a week and, while selling it at $1/unit, made a quarter of a million dollars in three months. But now I get the impression that for every single product category you can imagine there are 10 or 20 apps (at least 50% of which are free or $1). I don’t see the business potential for establishing a new idea on the iPhone.

Oh, sure, if you’re a big company, an iPhone app can help your product become “more stickey” - if the CBC came out with an iPhone app (they probably already have one…) it’d get thousands of users overnight - but they’re linking an iPhone application with an already existing brand.

How do you get noticed in a sea of tens of thousands of applications? And, more importantly, how do you make money competing against free applications by people at least as well known as you are? VeloCity, it’s my understanding, isn’t supposed to be a skunkworks for engineers, it should be about building a skillset required for business, and it should be on the leading edge.

This has been my concern from early on - there needs to be constant renewal within the program. In their defense, it’s my understanding that they do have an Android handset at the moment (of course… one of the groups had to order it privately on E-Bay and it didn’t arrive in time for last year’s exhibition, but whatever - they threw a few hundred bucks at it sooner or later). Also to my knowledge no one is developing on Android at the moment. It doesn’t seem to have taken off at the same rate that people were expecting a few months ago - but how can you possibly be on the cutting edge without making missteps?

The Pre will launch on the Sprint network in the US within the next few months; this is the perfect time to bring in speakers on Pre development and try and get some SDKs and handsets (SDK is currently in private prerelease, but from the looks of reviews there’re a few companies who have dev kits at the moment). But hey, what do I know? Maybe they’re on the phone just laying the groundwork with Palm as I write (this is a pretty open environment, I probably wouldn’t want my private SDK in this environment either - but the lines of communication should be opening TODAY).

Now is the time to start talking about this platform, and I hope they are looking at it. If you can have an application that’s halfway decent on launch on a new, hot platform with a lack of software - THAT is where you can get noticed.