Oct 18, 2007

StyleTap - Connecting Peop... ehm Devices

I first read it over @ SlipkornSaad's Symbian 9.1/9.2 applications blog and I couldn't believe it:

Styletap have announced a new emulator that allow users to install and run applications and games meant for Palm Treo devices on Symbian OS 9.x based Nokia S60 v3 Officially called "StyleTap CrossPlatform for Symbian OS", the product is planned for release early in 2008, the software is working now in "alpha" mode – most of the APIs are working, most applications are running well...You can read the full details over here...

We had already heard about Red Five Labs' to-be-released beta of Net60 a couple of days ago, a solution that helps developers produce apps for s60 3rd using .NET compact framework, instead of symbian's SDK, but seriously this one is NOTHING like it! In fact, like Zach from SiMo reported from Red Five Lab's stand @ the Symbian Smartphone Show this week (following my constant nags), Net60 is merely a developer tool, meant to make it easier for developers. It didn't mean a thing to end-users, unless developers decided to use the .NET CF for Symbian Developing. In other words, we were still relying on their good wills *sigh*

[Update about Net60: read the 3rd comment on this post and the correction made here]

On the other hand, the StyleTap concept is totally different and is everything I needed and thought Net60 would promise and deliver. In simple words, it's an application that you install on your device and that allows you to run almost any PalmOS app, without porting, without modification, right out-of-the-box.

Does it work?
Sweet you might say, but does it live up to its expectation? I asked myself the same question, and i got the answer *drum roll, people* YES it does! How did I find out? Ehm, well I would like to say the haughty "I have my sources" but no, that's not it, I've been in the blogging business for only a couple of months and I don't have any source whatsoever. I only have my wits.

How did I test it?
Since StyleTap had already released their product for Windows Mobile, I decided to give it a spin on my Qtek. Downloaded the trial of StyleTap and installed it: piece of cake. The app consists of 2 components: the StyleTap Launcher that installs to the WM and the StyleTap Application Installer that installs on the pc. The latter allows you to choose which installation files (they are in .prc and .pdb for PalmOS) you want installed on your WM. After figuring this out, I went to Skyscape's website and got myself a trial version of Evidence-Based Diagnosis (EDB) for Palm (just coz it was the smallest app I could find :p ). After going through a mere-suicidal state because of Skyscape's installation process (I thought I had to install Palm Desktop Software, which is like ActiveSync for WM, but then figured out a way past it), I managed to grab the .prc and .pdb files, added them on the PC's StyleTap Application Installer, chose to install and grabbed my heart for a couple of seconds. When the process was finished, I ran Start - Programs on the Qtek, and found the EDB in the programs list. Launched it and there it was! Working!!! This emulator is a one good piece of software. In a word: it promises and it delivers!

I just can't express how excited I am. If the process worked for Skyscape's abracadabral installation system, there is no wonder it would work on almost everything else! They already have a list of apps certified to run on StyleTap on their website, Skyscape's solutions aren't on the list but they work. I'm litteraly jumping off my feet here.

What does this mean to the end-user?
I'll explain it in a very easy way. A week ago, a friend of mine specializing in Medical Lab came to me and asked me what device would I suggest he buys. He was very confused between Symbian and Windows Mobile (more specifically iMate JasJam and N95). His point was that the N95 is smaller, nicer, has a great camera, but doesn't have lots of medical capacities which he needs, but does have WiFi so he could search for information online, read PDFs and Office Files so he could put all his info on. On the other hand, the JasJam was bulky, had a horrible camera, but benefited from full support of medical software and had WiFi. First I told him that if he got the N95, he'd be paying for features he'd never use in Lebanon (GPS and 3G) but suggested that if he settled on it, he'd better get the 8GB version or I would kill him. But then I even confused him more by telling him about the love'n'hate relationship I had with my Qtek. He was close to deciding not to invest in anything for the time being.

When I found out about StyleTap (which was like 3hrs ago now), I instantly SMSed him and told him I might have a solution for his problem. After getting it to work, and seeing the result on the Qtek, I SMSed him again and said "it works on Windows Mobile, I don't see why it wouldn't on Symbian".

There you go: StyleTap solved this guy's problem as I'm sure it'll solve many other people's. He is now much more likely to go for the N95. Most medical apps are available for both WM and PalmOS, and most applications in general, available for one platform are also for the other. Which in other words mean: if you have a Palm or a WM and want to switch to Symbian but are afraid of losing some apps (esp the ones you paid for on Palm), you can now do it and benefit from the plethora of features an S60 phone comes with, from cam quality to phone utilities, stability, smaller size and endless software lists.

StyleTap hasn't released their beta yet for Symbian, but stay tuned because I am sure gonna apply for beta testing once it's out (which should be soon if they plan to release the whole thing in Q1 2008).

A final note before I go dancing on the roof again: I first started this post by saying I learned it through SlipkornSaad's blog. I want to mention that this guy is awesome, I don't know how he does it, but he's almost always the first on my RSS to announce new apps or app updates! Definitely worth adding to your rss reader :)


  1. thank you Rita for your kind words :) keep it up friend !

  2. Hi Rita,
    Net60 is runtime which allows .NET executable to be executed on Nokia S60 3rd phones. So it is not developer tool and high percentage of .NET apps should run out of box. If you have any trouble with any app let us know.

    filipb (at) redfivelabs (dot) com

  3. Hello. Just one question. Mobile phones such as Nokia N95 does not have a touchscreen. Have you figure out how a skyscape program can be run with only keyboard?

  4. Good question Stuart! As a matter of fact, they will run perfectly well on S60 touch ui when it's released but not on the current s60 3rd edition devices. Although there are some WM and PalmOS apps that function great without the touchscreen (all functions are mapped to the keypad and joystick) like SPB Insight, NewsReader,... Skyscape don't function well without touchscreen and that will be a limitation on current devices, of course!


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