Comments on: New iPhone Like Launcher for Palm OS

TouchLauncher iPhone Like Launcher for Palm OSTouchLauncher is a new Palm OS Launcher that aims to emulate the feel of the iPhone home screen. It supports the usual grid of apps that you can launch with your finger and adds sliding panels of additional icon screens, support for iconsets and wallpapers, web and contact shortcuts and the ability to drag and drop icons so you can arrange them how you see fit. The app will even display the number of unread messages in the messaging app. You can checkout a video clip of TouchLauncher in action after the break.

TouchLauncher v.1.1.1 is available now for devices running Palm OS 5 and higher. This latest version even adds support for 320x480 screens on Palm handhelds. The app comes with a free trial period and costs $6.99 to purchase. Smartphone users can download the app from your device here.

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Apple Envy?

TrafficGeek @ 6/13/2008 8:18:20 PM # Q
I have to give it to the developer this looks really good. But isn't this a sign of despair to try and emulate what will kill you?

US Robotics Pilot 5000 -> 3Com Palm III -> Sony Cile N710C -> Sony Clie T615C -> Palm LifeDrive
RE: Apple Envy?
DarthRepublican @ 6/13/2008 10:48:51 PM # Q
There used to be a launcher that emulated the Windows Start Menu. It's just the nature of the beast for people to try to imitate other platforms.

Screw convergence
Palm III->Visor Deluxe->Visor Platinum->Visor Prism->Tungsten E->Palm LifeDrive->Palm TX
Visor Pro+VisorPhone->Treo 180g->Treo 270->Treo 600->Treo 680
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Paging Apple legal

mikecane @ 6/13/2008 8:20:06 PM # Q
The icons are Copyright infringements. The icon with SMS is in fact a trademark infringement too.

DMCA takedown by Tuesday.

RE: Paging Apple legal
mikecane @ 6/13/2008 8:21:47 PM # Q
Actually, they are all both Copyright *and* trademark infringements.

RE: Paging Apple legal
twrock @ 6/13/2008 8:50:31 PM # Q
Yep, Mike's right. This is almost a redux of the iPhoney launcher, but with a few extra nice touches. I really think they could get away with it if they just re-designed all the icons. (That's what I did, and it wasn't that hard: )

But maybe now that the iPhone is already a hot commodity, Apple won't bother sending out the threatening letter. They jumped all over people back when the iPhone newly was launched.

"twrock is infamous around these parts"
(from my profile over at Brighthand due to my negative 62 rep points rating)

RE: Paging Apple legal
XenophonJones @ 6/13/2008 10:27:24 PM # Q
Yeah, but if you'll pay attention, you'll see that this guy is in Belarus (BY VELCOM is the biggest wireless provider in the country). I don't know if access to his site can be locked out on the US end, but good luck trying to enforce copyright/trademark law in Belarus. You can get a complete unlocked copy of Windows with standard/high-end applications (MS Office, Adobe Creative Suite, etc.) all loaded on a couple of CD's/DVD's for less than $50 at the corner shop there.

RE: Paging Apple legal
twrock @ 6/14/2008 12:10:30 AM # Q
Yes, you are right. They are probably well beyond the "long arm of the law." And there is a difference between what is "technically" legal/illegal and what anybody is going to do anything about.

I can pick up a pirated CD of just about any commercial piece of software I want out on the streets here too. Other than possibly having to deal with some kinds of spyware/malware/virus after installing it, it would work just fine and save me a bundle. I choose GNU/Linux instead. It's legal, free, more secure, and quite often better than the commercial stuff anyway.

(And please everybody, don't bother linking to the supposed "research" that shows Windows is more secure than GNU/Linux. What a crock.)

"twrock is infamous around these parts"
(from my profile over at Brighthand due to my negative 62 rep points rating)

RE: Paging Apple legal
ahsirg @ 6/14/2008 5:15:04 AM # Q
Hello! I am the developer :-)
Maybe you guys think that I should change anything, because I dont really want to get in trouble with Apple, even though I am that far away from the US.
Should I disable the sms count? And the iPhone icons is just an iconset that can be installed/uninstalled. There are iconsets for Zlauncher that use iPhone icons but they don't get in trouble, dont they?
RE: Paging Apple legal
twrock @ 6/14/2008 5:45:12 AM # Q
First, a disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, and I have no idea if Apple can do anything to you over in Belarus.

I also have no idea what all Apple has copyrighted. But I do know from discussions with other developers who tried to "copy" the iPhone look that Apple sent them threatening letters based on them using the copyrighted iPhone icons. I had started out doing that myself, but when I heard about everyone else's problems, I started making my own icon set. (See the link above.) Although there are similarities between my set and Apple's, they are not exact copies. I never heard anything from Apple, and I doubt that what I did violates their copyright in any way. My theme is hosted on a US based website, so if it was a problem I would suspect that they would contact that website first. (I also doubt they can do anything to me personally based on where I am, but like you, I'd rather not try to find out.)

I would gladly offer you free use of any of the icons from my set as replacements if you like them. However, you should know that "some" of those icons were in part created using other graphics that were released under the GPL. Not being a lawyer, I don't know how that might affect your software. Maybe someone else knows. Since my ZLauncher theme was released under GPL, I don't have that problem. As an alternative, I can try to look back and see which icons I believe I created completely myself. Just leave me a note if that is of interest to you and I'll work on it.

I would be surprised if there is any way Apple has a patent on the SMS count. That seems too basic, and you had to write that code yourself. My guess is that it is the icons that might be a problem.

Good luck.

"twrock is infamous around these parts"
(from my profile over at Brighthand due to my negative 62 rep points rating)

RE: Paging Apple legal
ahsirg @ 6/14/2008 5:52:18 AM # Q
Thanks for your reply twrock, if you can let me use your icons to create an iconset to replace the iFone one, I'd be grateful. iconsets are free and not sold with the program. Only the TL itself is sold and iFone iconset is just supplied as a sample one. Please email me ahsirg(at) if you can share. Thanks

Also just in case I modified the red sms circle to a blue rectangle :)

RE: Paging Apple legal
mikecane @ 6/14/2008 11:22:21 AM # Q
>>>I would be surprised if there is any way Apple has a patent on the SMS count.

Why didn't you click the frikkin link I provided to actually *see* what Apple has filed as trademarks with the USPTO? You always jump on other people about "fact" versus "opinion" or whatever and here you are avoiding fact for yourself. It's ALL the icons, with their designs enumerated in detail. SMS is trademarked as it pertains to Apple's distinctive icon for it. The icons designs are probably Copyrighted too, but I don't look up Copyrights, just trademarks.

RE: Paging Apple legal
Gekko @ 6/14/2008 11:23:33 AM # Q

to the developer - nice job.

RE: Paging Apple legal
mikecane @ 6/14/2008 11:25:08 AM # Q
BTW, being in Belarus could possibly save him from any legal action. This hasn't yet been DMCAed away:

At any rate, his work is probably all over the Internet by now and probably in places Apple Legal can't find.

RE: Paging Apple legal
mikecane @ 6/14/2008 11:25:59 AM # Q
>>>to the developer - nice job.

Not going for the real thing now that it has 3G, Gekko?

RE: Paging Apple legal
Gekko @ 6/14/2008 11:34:19 AM # Q

nah. probably going for a sprint centro with "simply everything" plan. i need a real keyboard and i like the palm PIMS because "that's what i know". i played with some chick's iphone at the bar last night. she exclaimed "i hate this thing" because she "does a lot of texting and the (virtual) keyboard is terrible." i told her it probably just takes some time to get used to it, but she said she's had it for a while. i tried typing and had lots of errors. this was the first iphone user that i encountered who didn't love it. i'm a minimalist, and i like the size/sleek/simplicity of the centro at this point.

RE: Paging Apple legal
twrock @ 6/14/2008 12:36:38 PM # Q
Why didn't you click the frikkin link I provided to actually *see* what Apple has filed as trademarks with the USPTO?

Because I did click on your "frikkin link", and I did start to read it, and I did decide that Apple has frikkin trademarked every frikkin thing under the frikkin sun. So I quit reading quite quickly when I saw that the frikkin list was so frikkin long that I didn't have enough frikkin hours to waste in a frikkin day on Apple's attempt to frikkin trademark/copyright every frikkin thing in the frikkin universe.

So instead I stated very clearly the following right at the beginning of that post:

First, a disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, and I have no idea if Apple can do anything to you over in Belarus.

I also have no idea what all Apple has copyrighted.

And then I ended with:

I would be surprised if there is any way Apple has a patent on the SMS count.

So if you are now telling me (accurately) that Apple has a patent on the SMS count (vs. the specific SMS icon, which I have already stated I believe they have a copyright on), then I will simple reply, "Wow, I'm surprised!"

I stated that what I was posting was nothing more than what I thought and what my experience was. I in no way implied that I "knew" anything more than I stated. What was so difficult to understand about that?

"twrock is infamous around these parts"
(from my profile over at Brighthand due to my negative 62 rep points rating)

RE: Paging Apple legal
mikecane @ 6/14/2008 2:27:05 PM # Q
tw -> frikkin-A! O frikkin K.

gekko -> I thought you wouldn't get a Centro unless your employer fed ^h^h^h supplied you with one. Did you try the Centro at all yet? Rather small, those buttons.

Eh, some people can do very well with the iPhone for texting. Some, not.

Hmmm ... anyone here looking forward to that rumored HTC Dream phone running Android OS?

RE: Paging Apple legal
Gekko @ 6/14/2008 3:23:51 PM # Q

MC -

1. the times they may be changin'.
2. i tried the centro and the keyboard/button size was fine. i don't plan to write novels on the thing, just quick emails, texts, and notes. nice superfine tiny form factor and simple, sleek design, function, and price. it's legitimately sublime. you can't beat it with a stick.

RE: Paging Apple legal
mikecane @ 6/14/2008 4:52:54 PM # Q
RE: Paging Apple legal
LiveFaith @ 6/16/2008 12:06:44 AM # Q
That's a bit over the top there Mekko! ;-)

Pat Horne
RE: Paging Apple legal
rsc1000 @ 6/16/2008 11:10:45 AM # Q
>>>I would be surprised if there is any way Apple has a patent on the SMS count.

>Why didn't you click the frikkin link I provided to actually *see* what Apple has filed as trademarks with the USPTO?

twrock was referring to a patent. Unless I am misunderstanding something here, your web site only shows trademarks. So you can't use those icons - but a trademark can't cover a concept like the sms count. A trademark is not a patent.

RE: Paging Apple legal
mikecane @ 6/16/2008 2:00:42 PM # Q
Don't drag it out. Points already made.


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Not quite iPhonish

costein @ 6/14/2008 12:34:50 PM # Q
Unfortunately, the best part about the iPhone, is the ability to move a whole icon page with the swoosh of a finger moving across the screen. This could not be done here or has it been forgotten? Would be super cool to implement!!

RE: Not quite iPhonish
LiveFaith @ 6/15/2008 1:00:00 AM # Q
A gimmick. Slow as Christmas. Cannot select an app by typing the first letter. Bugged out when I tried to load a photo for background. Looks uggy like an iPhone knockoff.

I keep iPhony around for tricking folks and it worx great. Nothing to see here IMO.

Pat Horne

RE: Not quite iPhonish
CFreymarc @ 6/16/2008 1:54:57 PM # Q
Wow, someone does a good piece of software and almost all of you dump on it. No wondering a lot of you have time to just sit in front of a computer surfing the net - no one wants to work with your negative attitude.

RE: Not quite iPhonish
mikecane @ 6/16/2008 2:02:26 PM # Q
>>>no one wants to work with your negative attitude.

Poor baby. Go watch some Oprah to steel yourself.

The rest of us live in the real world where devs *want* feedback.

Good devs want to become great devs.

Lousy devs, one hopes, want to become good devs.

You - yeah, go watch Oprah.

RE: Not quite iPhonish
LiveFaith @ 6/16/2008 2:59:34 PM # Q
CFrey. They are asking for our $$$ to deliver this product. If it reduces productivity, makes my device more unstable, and looks like a Chinese iPhone UI knockoff, then do you want me to shout it's praises. The "features" have already been covered in the article.

I test new SW on my Treo all the time. Most of it I delete, and some of it I send my hard earned money to purchase. It's a spade. I called it such and anyone out there including yourself should be thankful that someone posted such.

If the dev wants to send out v2 with a trial, I'll try it out. If it works I'll say so. If it stinks, I'll say that to.

Have to agree with Cain on this one.

Pat Horne

RE: Not quite iPhonish
CFreymarc @ 6/17/2008 12:38:09 PM # Q
Your responses just proved my point. Enjoy your all night World of Warcraft sessions.

RE: Not quite iPhonish
LiveFaith @ 6/19/2008 3:33:36 PM # Q

You seem to have some sort of bend toward false accusation here. None of them, by the way, are based in any sort of reality.

What point exactly did I prove? "Negativity no matter what". Is that what you're saying?

Look, when I was a kid, my family once purchased a new Chevy Chevette. The answer to rising oil prices of the 70s and the flood of Japanese imports. I must say that only the Yugo, and the Dobi surpassed this vehicle in being the worst excuses for a useful automobile in the history of transportation. We got more mileage to the dealership and back than elsewhere. Total garbage and another disaster for the aimless US auto industry of the 70s.

Now, if you were theoretically in the market surfing the web in the 70s, and came across and article about Chevy's new eco car, would you want the posters to put lipstick on the pig or tell you straight out that it's swine? How would you feel about me a year after I encouraged you to buy such a breakthrough product? The fact is you would want the truth before investing.

If a Palm OS launcher makes the user experience more complicated, expensive, unstable, and less intuitive, then why would you say it's good? Are you just looking for a reason to tinker with screen settings? If that's what turns you on in software then their are hundreds of titles to tickle that fancy.

Folks around here are quite colorful and extreme sometimes. But, many have invested 1000s of hours in the use of mobile technology. It's amazing what one can learn if they are willing to listen a little.

What exactly are you trying to condemn here?

Pat Horne

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Touchbook I like, this not so much

jimmytop @ 6/14/2008 5:54:16 PM # Q
Tried Touchlauncher, but had a lot of problems with it. It doesn't seem to see any of my apps on the SD card even if you tell it to scan memory for them specifically. I tried removing one icon from the "Manage" menu and somehow it deleted almost an entire page of icons. Also, you can't drag and drop an icon from one screen to another screen.
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support for 5-way naviagtor

nestor.b @ 6/16/2008 4:26:21 AM # Q
to the developer:

the arrows below on the right side should changes the categories?
it doesn't work on my treo 680.

also i can access the dock below via the 5-way naviagatior,
which isn't very comfortable
(to switch between naviagator and stylus use)

over all: a nice approach, but you can get the same result,
by spliting up all your apps in categories of twelve apps per group.
this can be done by the default palm launcher
and it's less power consuming
only name the start categorie something like "... Home" or "A"
and have a nice, native goodlooking and palm screen.

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Back to the article...

johnrohan @ 6/21/2008 4:36:45 PM # Q
I wish some of you guys would drop the flame war and comment on the article instead

I tried this on a Palm TX and Treo 650. This is actually quite a nice launcher, very elegant, and far less cluttered than some others like propel or zlauncher. Makes it easy to change out your icons. It also adds the ability to have a background wallpaper which you can't normally do with the 650.

It looks especially great on the TX if you use a program to remove the 2 pixel white border around the screen. Plus the 480x320 screen matches the iPhone size anyway. However, the screen suddenly switches to 320x320 if you try to switch to landscape mode.

Another problem I see is that it doesn't work well with memory cards. The icons don't automatically show up. You can scan the memory cards and then it will include them, but you have to do this again every time you put in a new card. But if you usually leave the same card in all the time, then it's not really a problem.

All in all, this is a great program, but it needs a couple things ironed out. I don't think its quite ready for commercial release yet.

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