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Comments on: PalmGear Founder Leaves Motricity

PalmGear founder Kenny West has announced that he has left his position with Motricity. Mr. West has been a pioneer in the Palm software industry and helped kick-start the development of mobile software distribution websites.
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PalmGear Founder Leaves Motricity

The_Voice_of_Reason @ 2/27/2006 3:24:00 PM # Q
Does anyone still use PalmGear? The number of stunts they've pulled over the years (swiping developers' money and only paying back a few pennies on the dollar, going on cruises with developers' $$$, raising their cut into loan shark territory, etc) has turned a lot of us off of their site. Permanently.

I now either buy apps from Palminfocenter (and hope the PIC commerce site isn't run by PalmGear!) or Google the app and buy directly from the developer's site.


TVoR

RE: PalmGear Founder Leaves Motricity
twizza @ 2/27/2006 3:39:56 PM # Q
I am with you there. Since that ESD article I wrote for BargainPDA, I have mainly been a dev only purchaser. Probably not the case for new PDA users, but even then there really isnt too much that needs to be added until you get past normal usage.

Best of successes to PalmGear and Kenny West.

mobileministrymagazine.com
antoinerjwright.com

RE: PalmGear Founder Leaves Motricity
hkklife @ 2/27/2006 3:48:27 PM # Q
Only when I have to...but you still get hte occasional app or game that just links from the developer's site directly to PG or Handango and offers no other means of registering/buying their title.

You know, come to think of it, I'm a LOT less "experimental" than I used to be as far as downloading/buying/trying software. Between the unstable nature of all NVFS Palm devices, the stingy/nonexistant support/upgrade policies of many developers nowadays, and the utter lack of support or concern by PalmGear/Handango etc support departments. I've got my battle-tested, proven core stable of apps (PTunes, TomTom Navigator, DTG 8, Splash Wallet, Astraware games, Filez, TCMP, etc) that I can count on to stay viable + some freeware + some bundled Palm apps. I find that motley assortment keeps me predictably efficient without posing any major threats to my TX's stability.

It's just too risky to risk a reset loop or programs leaving residual bits behind to run around installing & trying new apps willy-nilly.

Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX

RE: PalmGear Founder Leaves Motricity
just_little_me @ 2/27/2006 5:28:33 PM # Q
Big call... they have 14 titles currently, and I've never heard of em before. There have been so many little startup LetsKillPalmGear.com type sites I've lost count... How does this site differ from any of the others (and promoting dev sites ain't anything new - that's been done to death as well)? How do they plan to promote themselves to the world?


JLM.

RE: PalmGear Founder Leaves Motricity
rsc1000 @ 2/27/2006 7:41:49 PM # Q
>>Big call... they have 14 titles currently, and I've never heard of em before. There have been so many little startup LetsKillPalmGear.com type sites I've lost count... How does this site differ from any of the others (and promoting dev sites ain't anything new - that's been done to death as well)? How do they plan to promote themselves to the world?

I am confused (maybe just my brain has shut off as i've had a long day...) - but what site are you talking about??

RE: PalmGear Founder Leaves Motricity
dmitrygr @ 2/28/2006 3:04:49 PM # Q
loan sharks territory is way in the past. If you let them generate codes automatically on their machines (read: all their employees get free codes and they can always sell some elsewhere without telling you and cheat as they wish, etc) they take a nd i qoute "JUST" 45%, and if you decide you do not trust them (read: if you have brains), you generate codes yourself, and they punish you by taking, and I qoute againe "A FAIR FEE OF JUST" 55%. Nice guys, really.

None of my software, except udmh is on there, as it is just not worth it. UDMH is there for only one reason - is someone TRUELY has no other way to buy my soft, i have them buy udmh on PalmGear, and then I give them code for whatever it was they wanted to buy.

-----------
Software engineer at PalmPowerups.com
TH55/U + T|X2 + T|E2 + Zire 72 + Zire 31 + Visor Prism + WristPDA

RE: PalmGear Founder Leaves Motricity
ifyaknew @ 4/26/2006 11:49:21 PM # Q
well you all need to understand that PalmGear was bastardized when PBH/Motricity took over. When PG was heading out of bizness something had to be done and the most logical choice was to cut a deal with the devs in order to stay a float. That was the end of the smart business and the beginning of the green monster known as the CEO. People will continue to make money off of PG as long as it is around but I fear the powers that be will continue to suck the life out of the company. Marketing and BS only take you so far..

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Best of Wishes...

DevPOV @ 2/27/2006 4:12:10 PM # Q
Despite the trials and tribulations of PalmGear, Kenny West DID really move the Palm Shareware Developement forward by offering a venue for developers. It really was too bad that HANDANGO (hissss) brought in the lawsuit against PG (but that has been discussed into eternity).

So good luck, Kenny!


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PalmGear Founder Leaves Motricity

Gekko @ 2/27/2006 7:05:30 PM # Q
I guess you can't hit a moving target!!!

Good luck, "Kenny Boy"!!!



RE: PalmGear Founder Leaves Motricity
Gekko @ 2/27/2006 8:33:53 PM # Q

Did all those Developers ever get fully paid?



RE: PalmGear Founder Leaves Motricity
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 2/27/2006 9:45:14 PM # Q
Since PalmGear doesn't even allow developers to mention the developer's own website in the listing anymore and are skimming huge (what, 40%?) profit off every sale, it's time users made the effort to buy more apps through places other than PalmGear.


TVoR

RE: PalmGear Founder Leaves Motricity
SimpleIsBetter @ 2/27/2006 11:37:55 PM # Q
The commissions on Handango are just as bad, 40% to them and only 60% to the developer. Unfortunately PalmGear and Handango power 95% of the major online "stores" like Palm.com etc.

-john

RE: PalmGear Founder Leaves Motricity
Howie_Penticon @ 2/28/2006 5:56:13 AM # Q
I don't know if all developers got all of their money, but I do know that around 3 years ago we were offered the choice of getting all of the money (equal monthly payments) over a period of 3 years, or getting a some percentage of the money over a shorter period of time (the sooner you wanted to get the money, the lower percentage you got). I opted to get all of the money over the 3 year period, and recently they have finished paying the total amount that was owed to me.

I don't know if these options were offered to all developers, but I have no reason to assume that they weren't. It was then up to each one to decide how long they were willing to wait and based on that what percentage of the money they would be paid.

It wasn't an ideal situation, but under the circumstances at the time, it seeemed reasonable. Those who were willing to be paid over the 3 year period should have received the full amount owed to them.

I'm sure that Kenny was one of those who was fighting to make sure that the developers were treated as fairly as possible given the situation at that time.

RE: PalmGear Founder Leaves Motricity
voice of chaos @ 2/28/2006 9:45:10 AM # Q
I know a LOT of developers who got all their money. like me. Do I like the way PalmGear handled it? No, but getting 100% back of what I was owed is good enough. Did I deserve interest? Yes, but I forgave it out of gratitude for what they had done to me (to be honest, the amount I was owed was a trifle, round-off error compared to what I made through other means).

Fact of the matter is that most serious developers are not making their main living off of ESD's but instead either via their own web sites/shopping carts or through other forms of direct sales or resellers. PalmGear/Handango were a great jumping-off point for developers back in the day. The market has changed, however, and these sites are no longer the hubs they once were.

Kenny was there at the start. He made some bad business decisions but, unfortunately, hindsight is not foresight. One irony is that the business was able to survive, albeit in a changed form (courtesy the Motricity purchase a few years ago). He really helped jump-start the Palm OS shareware economy, and I thank him for that. And I respect the fact that he owned up to what happened and was willing to engage the developer community, listening to their complains while explaining his side of the story. He didn't duck and run from some tense situations. I didn't agree with him and some of the decisions he made, but I respect him.

The developers were paid
Admin @ 2/28/2006 9:47:42 AM # Q
Kenny sent me an email and let me know that, Yes, all the developers have been paid up from this situation. He made sure of this, and PalmGear finished the repayments early.

Also, none of the developer money was used for any cruise, which was previously insinuated here.

-Ryan

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One less advocate

PalmPrayer @ 2/28/2006 10:17:32 AM # Q
I always got the sense that Kenny was an advocate for developers at PG.

I just wish that PG would give a fair listing to the freeware they host. Try this: go to any category and list by rating. Then list the same category by downloads. The number in the categor will go down since freeware is excluded.

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My eternal thanks to PIC and everyone else

kennywest @ 2/28/2006 10:28:02 AM # Q
I have been a bit reticent about posting here though out of respect for Ryan Kairer and PalmInfoCenter and all he has done over the years I felt compelled to thank him and all the visitors to PIC publicly.

In closing I would like to take a moment to thank personally for the extremely kind words, phone calls and emails I have received from many of you. The sentiment has overwhelmed me and was certainly not something I expected. Quite contrary, with my having "faded into the distance" the past year or two, the kind words mean even more. Thank you, thank you, thank you! While there are certainly some things I would have changed over the last 10 years, hmmm.. wonder what at least one of those might be? <vbg>, I would not have missed it for the world! The friends, not just colleagues but FRIENDS, I have made will be
remembered forever. I have been part of something very few have; the creation of an industry through to it's maturity and in the process have gotten to know many of you, watch some get married, have kids and more. Ours was truly a symbiotic relationship; developers needed a centralized place to
promote and sell their software, we needed the software to sell.

It was life at it's fullest and I will be eternally grateful to an extent words cannot possibly describe for the trust you all put in me and PilotGear>PalmPilotGear>PalmGear. I am and always will be grateful to all of you.

Please if replying to this post I ask that you keep in context and with a modicum of class and understanding.

God Bless and my sincerest regards,

Kenny West

RE: My eternal thanks to PIC and everyone else
Surur @ 2/28/2006 12:45:37 PM # Q

If you dont mind answering some questions:

1) Where do you think the market for PDA software is going? The recent handango survey showed the market being down significantly.
2) Do you expect the developer orientated websites ever to succeed?
3) IS there any ideas (which you can divulge) which you think has not yet been tired in the market (e.g. subscription services etc).
4) Do most people really have no third party apps on their PDA's? You must have done a survey at some point.
5) Obligatory biased question - In your judgment, will WM completely obliterate POS/ALPOS? Will it ever overtake even Symbian (which some say, and most dont).

Surur

They said I only argued for the sake of arguing, but after an hour I convinced them they were wrong...

RE: My eternal thanks to PIC and everyone else
kennywest @ 2/28/2006 1:10:23 PM # Q
Hi Surur,

I would be glad to answer to your questions as best I can. Keep in mind that these are MY PERSONAL opinions...

1) Where do you think the market for PDA software is going? The recent handango survey showed the market being down significantly.

That is a tough question as the different surveys have been structured in such a way as some consider, for example, a Treo 650 a SmartPhone while others do not. IMHO a SmartPhone is one that should be able to function as a Treo (whether it be Palm or WM powered), i.e. as a computer, do spreadsheets, etc., etc. In this instance it is clear that non phone handhelds are definitely not the growth area they have been in the past. Conversely the market for Treo like devices, which of course the Treo is the far and away leader, is going to continue to grow. Unless Palm makes some majory mistakes, and I have faith in their execution that they will do well BTW, I beleive they will continue to lead the market, especially with the recent launch of the Treo 700W. Conclusion, the market is bright for SmartPhones like the Treo, for "pure" handhelds it is bleak.

2) Do you expect the developer orientated websites ever to succeed?

If by developer oriented you mean portals similar to PalmGear/Handango/MobiHand, etc. then personally I do not see another player being able to make it. They are all too well entrenched, whether you consider visitors direct to their sites or via sites they power. If you mean the developers websites themselves then I see the future as being very bright. IMHO there are some missing links though I am not at liberty to divulge my ideas here just yet.

3) IS there any ideas (which you can divulge) which you think has not yet been tired in the market (e.g. subscription services etc).

Sorry, not that I feel comfortable divulging at this time.

4) Do most people really have no third party apps on their PDA's? You must have done a survey at some point.

That is what many surveys show, amazing to me and frankly IMHO it is a failure on the part of the manufacturers. While they do promote via the installation routines of the desktop software and built in stores neither the boxes nor the advertisemtns promote the ability to add software well enough. It is amazing to me as well! In fact whenever I am in an airport and see someone with a handheld, Palm or WM for that matter, I make it a point of visiting with them to see if they have any 3rd party software installed. Invariably, probably 90% of the time they say no.

5) Obligatory biased question - In your judgment, will WM completely obliterate POS/ALPOS? Will it ever overtake even Symbian (which some say, and most dont).

Wow... The eleventybillion question... I do not think that WM will obliterate Palm though much of that is dependent on how well the next rev of the Palm os is done and evangelized. PSI definitely has some ground to make up. Remember, it was not that many years ago when people were ready to write off Apple. With that in mind I am reasonably bullish on the Palm OS. It is still IMHO a much more user friendly interface and even after years of WM competition has a much greater selection of 3rd party software.


RE: My eternal thanks to PIC and everyone else
Surur @ 2/28/2006 1:40:51 PM # Q
Thanks for the answers. For question 1, I was referring to software, not devices. It appears the software market is down, even while more devices are being sold, e.g. in the Handango yardstick for 2005 ( http://www.palminfocenter.com/news/8386/ ) POS added 87% less software, and WM added 17% less. This is unusual behavior for a growing market, and suggest its going way into maturity/ decrepitude.

Surur

They said I only argued for the sake of arguing, but after an hour I convinced them they were wrong...

RE: My eternal thanks to PIC and everyone else
hkklife @ 2/28/2006 1:49:40 PM # Q
Kenny;

Thanks for giving REAL answers to Surur's questions. The sincerity, honesty, and, well, overall "bullishness" on POS will be pretty much universally appreciated here by the PIC mainstays.

That said, I beg to differ with you on point #1. I think that the future for add-on software for "Treo-style" smartpones is fairly bleak as well. Here's why:

When ou have the "big three" mainstays (voice, web/e-mail, media playback/gaming) handled fairly capably (at least in a rudimentary fashion) out of the box, there's less and less reason for the enduser to seek out new titles. I think that's where the portable (PDA, smartphone or otherwise) market different from the desktop market. On a desktop, most "serious" users seek the best experience possible...that's why people still pay the exhorbitant prices for new MS Office releases. Yet on a handheld/mobile, people are content to take the path of least resistance and/or the cheapest route. If that means going with Palm's lame RealPlayer instead of PTunes or AeroPlayer, then so be it. If that means looking at non-fullscreen images in Palm's Media app instead of AcidImage or SplashPhoto, then so be it. If it means not being able to view PDFs because the person didn't pay for a DTG 8 upgrade then so be it. People's inherent expecations are vastly lower for handhelds than for desktops. Adding to that is the paranoida factor; most people are scared of "breaking" their finely honed Treo experience because the nature of installing/uninstalling/interoperability beween mobile apps is still such a mixed bag. This can lead into a huge dialogue about Palm's endless OS hacking, PalmSource's failure to deliver a robust new OS, WinMob's overly complex nature etc etc. But that's my perspective as an end user of the whole scene. And yes, nearly EVERYONE I know who has a mobile device cites cost/complexity/paranoia/lack of compelling apps as the primary reasons the don't have anything loaded onto their handhelds (mostly, complexity and paranoia).

In fact, I was asked by two pepole to install "A Tetris style game and a Chess game" onto their Zire/Treo and they said the devices were now perfect with those little games installed.
In fact, most people are proud to get as far as installing some of the freebie apps (eReader etc) Palm includes on their bundled desktop CD. Dowloading & paying for an app off of PalmGear etc. is unthinkable for the average lay person! Remember, these are the same folks that think the drivers included on the physical CD are the ONLY ones that will work with their hardware but these types DO comprise the vast majority of the $-spending end users.

Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX

RE: My eternal thanks to PIC and everyone else
Surur @ 2/28/2006 2:50:17 PM # Q

Theres two developments I have seen recently which is encouraging for the end-user uptake of third party software. One is an app like O2 Connect ( http://www.seeo2.com/product/XdaAtom/template/XdaAtomApplications.vm#o2 ) installed on the device, that promotes apps to the user. I could see a publisher getting such a portal app installed on devices by OEM's, and then pushing selected tested software to the end user.

The next one was a more innovative way to pay for software on the device, using a payment engine on the device itself, which connects to the internet. (I forgot the name unfortunately)

The new security model in WM, where unsigned devices can not touch the OS or registry, should make the device more resilient against misbehaved apps. I assume a more powerful permission system would come with ALP also.

I guess it all centers around making the process less scary for users, but Ive seen very little work done to address this issue. If this is not addressed properly the advantages of having a smart device will never be realized, and the growing power of feature phones will threaten the smartphone market.

Surur

They said I only argued for the sake of arguing, but after an hour I convinced them they were wrong...

RE: My eternal thanks to PIC and everyone else
kennywest @ 2/28/2006 3:10:02 PM # Q
Agreed with both replies to mine. Another big issue for end users is the antiquated installation process. Sheesh, download (and where did I download it to?), unzip (huh? unzip what?) and then find what was unzipped and install it.. BLECH!

We actually got a customer service call every month or so that ended with them in total frustration and their telling us they finally went down to CompUSA and bought a ZIP drive and asking us how to use it to install the files they downloaded with the ZIP extension..

RE: My eternal thanks to PIC and everyone else
Simony @ 2/28/2006 3:40:33 PM # Q
Kenny, another question: can you say anything about the relative profitability of palmgear.com and pocketgear.com? (No need to give numbers, just an indication of which is doing more business.)

RE: My eternal thanks to PIC and everyone else
kennywest @ 2/28/2006 4:57:07 PM # Q
Sorry, I cannot comment on any sales or other metrics for PalmGear/PocketGear, etc.

RE: My eternal thanks to PIC and everyone else
Toysoft @ 3/1/2006 3:16:39 AM # Q
I remembered not long ago commissions used to be 25% at palmgear and now its upto 55% and I dont like it.

RE: My eternal thanks to PIC and everyone else
Surur @ 3/1/2006 6:32:57 AM # Q
Here's a link to that software I mentioned earlier, which allows for software to be paid for from the handheld itself.

"Handster provides a solution for integration of payment into shareware programs. Software developers can extend existing conventional registration with the payment screens. Integrated programs have a 'Buy' button in the menu and show a "Buy/Try" screen on startup. On clicking the "Buy" button in the program the user can enter his credit card directly on his PDA. Secure SSL transaction is executed via GPRS (if available) or via ActiveSync when the PDA synchronizes with an Internet-connected desktop PC. Once the payment is completed, the application gets unlocked automatically."

http://www.handster.com/pressreleases/2006/feb27.php

Surur

They said I only argued for the sake of arguing, but after an hour I convinced them they were wrong...

RE: My eternal thanks to PIC and everyone else
Admin @ 3/2/2006 9:06:58 AM # Q
wow, they are up to 55% now. shameless plug I know but the PalmInfocenter store offers a much more attractive rate these days.
RE: My eternal thanks to PIC and everyone else
dsteinschneider @ 8/10/2006 3:22:20 PM # Q
As a very small business tech VAR who is willing to support handhelds I get to work with Treo, WM5 devices and BB's.

The transition to converged devices has greatly reduced the percentage of unit owners that are willing to add third party software.

If handheld access to email is critical then I go with the BB after explaing the unit will be subpar for everything but email and phone.

If they need an industry specific application I pick the OS/device based on which the app runs best on.

I've had so many hardware problems with the NVFS based Treos that I push BBs for users with low tolerance for tech problems

I recently switched from Treo to WM5 just to "dogfood" it for a while. I'm pretty happy with the XV6700 although I'll be the first to admit its a PDA first, phone second. The phone sound quality and reception are excellent but the one handed operation is lacking for no reason other than the joystick not moving the "cursor" to all the places it should.

I'm posting all this here because I can bring another dimension to the discussion on slow third party software sales. Its too expensive for purchase and support. To convert the XV6700 from a difficult to use dog of a phone into what I consider an equal of the Treo I spent almost $200 on add-ins and spent many nights browsing forums, developer websites, handheld reviewers and places like Palmgear, Handango etc. A good portion of my purchases were products like Resco explorer which should be included with the OS.

I went through a similar process when I got the Treo, purchasing Butler, Ptunes, BackupMan and twenty other apps. I consider it fun because I'm able to sort it all out. The average Treo user doesn't have the time or the troubleshooting ability.

I'm finding the market for coaching PDA users is suprisingly strong right now. The handheld developers/distributors are stuck in DIY model. They need to recognize that users will need some guidance and support.

One thing the OS developers should do is build in remote support. I should be able to take a call from a user and then remote into their handheld from my PC (or handheld) and show them what to do. Right now my stance on third party software is to avoid it because I have to have the unit in my hand to help someone with it. That doesn't fit my support model. Its too expensive to go onsite to support a handheld.

Doug

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