iPhone 3GS: The Next Handheld Gaming Platform?

I wonder if this is the start of something new. Apple (AAPL)’s newly announced iPhone 3GS will have OpenGL ES 2.0 support, a 600 MHz processor and 256 MB of RAM.

Contrast that to Sony’s (SNE) latest PSP 3000: a 333 MHz processor and 64 MB of RAM. I’m not sure how it compares to OpenGL ES 2.0, anyone know? I’m also not entirely sure if these are the right specs to be comparing; if I’m wrong, please let me know.

To be honest, I’m not much of a gamer. I’ve never owned a PSP, Nintendo (NTDOY.PK) GameBoy or anything like that. But I know the handheld gaming market is huge. If Apple enters as a viable competitor, Sony and Nintendo are going to have some interesting times ahead.

I know, I know. The iPhone is much different than a traditional handheld gaming console with its buttons and controls, but perhaps game manufacturers will find a niche that works with a touch screen. Who knows?

There’s some evidence of this already. id Software and Escalation Studios recently announced Doom Resurrection for the iPhone. (BFG FTW!) No word yet on how you play the game – I assume you tap the screen to shoot the monsters? Looks interesting though.

Doom 3

John Carmack, co-founder and CTO of id Software had this to say about developing on the iPhone 3G (NOTE: not the 3GS):

I love the iPhone. It’s a real game platform, not a tiny little toy.

If you look at it in raw hardware horsepower, the iPhone should be better in performance than the Nintendo DS and the PlayStation Portable. But the truth is, you can’t exploit it all because of software inefficiencies.

I wonder how he’ll feel once he ports Doom Resurrection onto the 3GS. Carmack also mentioned that he will be speaking with Apple about improving the iPhone for game development. If Apple takes his advice and starts discussions with other game developers, well…

Methinks the future of the iPhone 3GS as a handheld gaming platform looks bright! (SPISPOPD lives!)

Developing for Palm webOS

palm pre The tech world is abuzz with the Palm Pre.

But what about developing for Palm’s webOS? I haven’t seen as much news about that platform yet. For web software developers like my agency and I, that’s what we really want to hear about.

Google Search (GOOG) to the rescue. A quick search netted me some useful information. I’ve collected it together here to offer a pre-view (har!) of developing for webOS.

Palm Pre webOS Technologies for Developers

webOS is comprised of the following developer-relevant technologies:

  • Operating system based on Linux 2.6
    • Device services (telephone, touch-screen, address book, etc)
  • UI System Manager
    • WebKit layout engine
    • DOM Level 2 event model and custom events
    • HTML5 and local storage capabilities
    • Custom DOM elements with an “x-mojo-element” attribute
    • CSS
    • JavaScript
    • Mojo Application Framework, an MVC, JavaScript-based framework
    • Prototype JavaScript library
    • Other UI services (navigation, event management, local and web searches, etc)
  • webOS Services
    • Service APIs with access to hardware capabilities (GPS, camera, audio/video player, etc) using JSON

Want to see some sample code? webOShelp.net has some. It will give you a glimpse at a sample app, though it’s difficult to do much without an emulator. According to Palm, an emulator will be coming out with the Palm Mojo SDK, along with an Eclipse-based IDE.

A great technical overview is also available at the Palm Developer Network. They posted the first chapter of the upcoming book Palm webOS: Developing Applications in JavaScript Using the Palm Mojo Framework. Much of the info I gathered was from this free chapter.

Pandora Internet Radio’s Chief Technical Officer Tom Conrad also gave an interview about their experience developing their Palm webOS app. There are some useful insights there too.

And finally – and thankfully, Palm has declared that they will not have the same restrictions in their App Catalog as Apple does for their iTunes Store. No funky and inconsistent approval processes, just lots of apps. They’ll police the catalog a bit to weed out the most egregious offenders, but that’s about it (so they say). Cool beans.

P.S. I may be attending preDevCamp at either San Francisco or Los Angeles. Interested in going too?

Why Don’t Expensive Hotels Have Free Wifi?

Hilton Hotel in Budapest Seriously, why don’t expensive hotels have free wifi? I’ve been to a Hilton, a Sheraton, and a Ritz Carlton. All didn’t have free wifi.

On the flip side, a Raddisson, a Days Inn, and a Best Western did.

What gives?

Marriott (MAR) didn’t always have free wifi. But at least they’re offering it now.

For the money I’m paying for a Hilton or Sheraton, I expect excellent service, clean rooms, and at least feature parity with lesser hotels. Currently, I do get excellent service and clean rooms – much cleaner than a Best Western. Plus more amenities too. But no free wifi? That’s just lame.