Another Palm OS Developer Goes Freeware

Free Palm GamesAnother long time Palm OS developer has decided to make their catalogue available for free. Ellams Software, developer of a number of games going back to the early PDA days, has made all of its titles available as freeware. Ellams offers about 16 games and a few utilities including some classics such as Agent Z and Rapid Racer, to Air Hockey 3D, Jetmam Jack and the classic C64 inspired Heli Rescue.

You can find the full list at Ellams website. Many of the games will run on a wide range of older Palm units going back to Palm OS v3.5. The developer asks for donations if you enjoy the games.

Article Comments


The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. PalmInfocenter is not responsible for them in any way.
Please Login or register here to add your comments.

Start a new Comment Down

Developers going freeware, eh?

SeldomVisitor @ 4/30/2008 3:26:13 PM # Q
And ceasing development, one could probably suppose, huh?

The thing about developers is they have NDAed information we don't have, right?

I wonder what minor little factoid these PalmOS developers that are dropping right and left have been told by Palm, eh?

RE: Developers going freeware, eh?
bhartman34 @ 4/30/2008 3:52:27 PM # Q
Aside from Dmitry's SkinUI, most of the developers going freeware (at least, in the last few announcements) seem to be game developers. What this tells me is that they've decided the Palm OS isn't a lucrative gaming platform. I can't say I blame them much, on that score. I've seen maybe 4 games for Palm that I thought were worth paying for, and two of those came from Astraware. As a gaming platform, Palm has always been substandard. (It's never even made a serious attempt to be a gaming platform, really.)

I don't think this necessarily is another nail in the coffin. In fact, I think people are often attracted to platforms with lots of freeware. What I'd be looking for is if one of the major productivity vendors went freeware. (DataViz, anyone?) That, I would take as the end of Palm as a platform.

And in this particular case, the developer has gone freeware on all software, both for Palm and PocketPC, so it's not necessarily about Palm this time.

RE: Developers going freeware, eh?
SeldomVisitor @ 4/30/2008 4:15:46 PM # Q
Hmmm...after years of development they decide there's no money in it?

Perhaps...but I like the conspiracy theories better!

RE: Developers going freeware, eh?
hkklife @ 4/30/2008 4:16:34 PM # Q
SV, I love a good conspiracy theory as much as anyone but I don't think that there's much point in reading between the lines and staring at the tea leaves on this one.

As bhartman said, most of these are small-time and/or hobbyist developers, not a major software publisher such as Astraware/Handmark or DataViz, or even one of the "name" developers like Kinoma, SplashData or Normsoft etc.

Companies such as SlashData or Dataviz have essentially cut their POS development back to minimal levels (if not just milking the same POS versions for years), so as long as they have solid bundling deals in place with Palm, I wouldn't expect anything to happen at least through the rest of this year. If anything, the success of the Centro will probably convince some developers to release their stuff as freeware to keep their name in the spotlight and others to keep selling their current wares or releasing minor updates.

I highly doubt Palm'll EOL Garnet anytime soon. IF Palm sticks around and IF Palm releases a Nova device, they'll probably keep at least one POS smartphone and/or handheld in production for a while longer to help ease the transition.

P.S. Palm really missed the boat by not pushing gaming as a secondary function of the platform years ago. Nearly a decade before Nintendo's DS, I looked at the original Pilot's large touchscreen and thought it'd make a nifty gaming device if it had a proper d-pad, a backlight and audio capabilities. By the time all of that appeared (2002) in a Palm Inc. device, the GBA had ruled the market and the PSP & DS were waiting in the wings.

Palm could have simply released a Zire 31 with a tapered lower body, moved the d-pad to the left side (ala the old Zoomer) and clustered the hard buttons on the right side and made a pretty decent budget gaming device. Palm still could have picked up the remnants of Tapwave for pennies on the dollar and made a strong push into PMP/gaming handhelds as a complimentary line to their smartphones.

Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p

RE: Developers going freeware, eh?
PacManFoo @ 4/30/2008 4:34:17 PM # Q
Judging from their applications I don't think this developer has done much Palm or Pocket PC development in some time. Nice gesture to release them as freeware, now I will have some new apps for when I have to start regressing through my PDA collection. As for the Big Boys releasing their apps as freeware I wouldn't hold my breath. Action Names for Apple Newton still is not freeware.

PDA's Past and Present:
Palm TX (Number 2)
Palm - IIIxe, Vx, M500, M505, Tungsten T, TX
Handspring - Edge, Platinum, Deluxe
Sony - SJ22, UX50
Apple - MP110, MP2000, MP2100
RE: Developers going freeware, eh?
mikecane @ 4/30/2008 4:38:24 PM # Q
Did any of you bother to GO there and click around? Even the PalmOS *utilities* and games for the - ahem! - *POCKET PC* are free.

Well, good for them. Better than just packing up and taking it all away from everyone.

RE: Developers going freeware, eh?
asiayeah @ 4/30/2008 9:28:31 PM # Q
Games are usually short-lived products for selling. So, it's not too surprising to see some old games being released as freeware, particularly if they come from hobbyists.

With great power comes great responsiblity.
Reply to this comment


Gekko @ 4/30/2008 5:38:42 PM # Q
Reply to this comment

Why freeware?

LarryGarfield @ 4/30/2008 11:06:36 PM # Q
I am both irritated and saddened every time I see a story like this, but not because of the company leaving the market. That happens, fine, OK, I wish them well. But WHY just release the binary of the game, which has a short shelf life, when you can open source it and give it potentially infinite life?

In not too long there will be devices that these games won't run on. At that point, the game DIES. If, however, it's open sourced, other developers can pick it up and run with it, keep it updated, or even add features if it makes sense to do so. Or they can study the code, learn from it, and become better developers for it.

There is no threat to the original developers' business model or income, either. They've already said that their business model is "I'm out of this business" and their income from it is already zero, because they're not charging for it.

There is simply no logical reason to release closed-source freeware, other than ignorance of the benefits of open source. Come on, guys, show us the code!

This post is ROT26 encrypted. Reading it is a violation of the DMCA

RE: Why freeware?
SeldomVisitor @ 5/1/2008 2:28:16 PM # Q
> ...There is no threat to the original developers' business
> model or income, either...

If a developer wants to release the same program under a different OS, then releasing the source code would indeed impact them business-wise. By releasing ONLY the binary version they do not have to worry about the OTHER OS implementation.

Reply to this comment

Give stuff away..

philpalm @ 5/1/2008 1:16:06 PM # Q
Especially while you are in business. Pal users don't die and maybe they might be windoze mobile users and remember how generous of a company they are.

I can understand why Sony doesn't release their codes for Clies and I can understand why PDAMill doesn't release their palm codes. Even Dmyitr hates it when people hack his codes....

Everyone thought Symbian was dead until Nokia revived them....Palm is not dead, it just looks like it is in hibernation....

RE: Give stuff away..
BaalthazaaR @ 5/1/2008 1:29:16 PM # Q
There is a difference between being in hibernation and being in a vegetative coma waiting for the plug to be pulled. Right now Palm appears to be in the latter. Of course, there are the occasional miracles where one wakes up from this state. There is a slight possibility that Palm might wake up if they make no mistakes with Nova. I'm not holding my breath.
Reply to this comment
Start a New Comment Thread Top


Register Register | Login Log in