Thursday, July 16, 2009

Apple breaks Palm Pre compatibility. Or: an open letter to Palm

Dear Palm,

When you launched the Pre everyone was very excited about the excellent job you did. Everyone except Apple that is, they don't like such strong competition.

You decided to reverse engineer the iTunes database "protocol" used in Apple products and implemented it from the device side on the Pre. This has the benefit of being able to sync the Pre with iTunes on any PC or Mac without installing extra software.
And you didn't have to invest in development of your own desktop software, which is not a differentiating feature for you. You're in the business of selling phones, not software. I don't think deciding to "outsource" this to Apple was a smart move though.

So now the bully is attacking you on *their* playground:

From Engadget Mobile

And then they say it's your own fault. You could go crying to the principle (or whatever you want to call court you want to file the anti-competitive lawsuit with).

But if you have a problem, if no-one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the AMAROK-TEAM!

The media-player support in Amarok 2 is shaping up to be very flexible, complete and easy to implement thanks to the hard work of 2nd time GSoC student and hacker extraordinaire Alejandro.

We can quickly add support for the Palm Pre, or any other player, providing there is a way to access the database and we have documentation of the data-format. We already have iPod and MTP support and the same system is used to implement audio CD as a collection. iPhone OS 3.0 is being worked on as well as UMS (generic USB device) and OBEX (many cellphones).
We promise not to change our application to prevent users to use Amarok with your device. Not only do we care about our users, we are not a competitor to you or have any ulterior motives.
Amarok is already fully supported on all flavors of Linux and we have beta releases on Windows and Mac OSX which just need a bit of polishing and stabilization.

Serious business proposals can be send to the Amarok team at (these emails will not be publicly readable).


admiral0 said...


Fri13 said...

Well, I do not know the idea of switching support from iTunes to Amarok.

The Palm implented the iTunes support because it is most widely used online music store. Not because they did want easy way for them to implent music player integration. They could be done it with WMP (or Amarok) in the first place then.

The Amarok is great player and the idea is nice. But normal users wants to sync music what they buyed from online. Amarok still do not own such feature what would compete with iTunes.

nhnFreespirit said...

Amarok 2 already includes a strong framework for integrating on-line music services and stores, but granted, the existing ones do not provide most mainstream music.

It should however be fairly easy for a large company like Palm to convince Amazon to let Amarok integrate their MP3 store. This should provide enough music to get most people started. Wild rumors have it that some large Linux distros are already in talks with Amazon about something similar.

Crvena Zvezda said...

Remember to send this to Palm and try to get it posted on

Grósz said...

Are KDE apps on Windows and OS X ready for distribution for the masses? From the answer I got for my question "For end users" on this page I don't think so. (But by the way I don't see why don't they make available the device as a usb mass storage too, eliminating the biggest problems.)

Bruno said...

(sorry for typos, i wounded left hand and cannot touch type. typing is not easy atm).

afaik, there is a documented *public* api for 3rd party devices to use for syncing with itunes. that software supports more than just the ipod.

palm used an internal, undocumented api to pretend it was something it is not (ipod, iphone) for syncing purposes.

apple is not the bully here. palm did a stupid move it did not have to do. again, palm could have used the xml files provided by apple for third party applications to use for custom sync with itunes.

i'm not saying apple is perfect, nor that palm is the root of all evil. palm simply did a move they did not have to do.

HPC said...

Bruno: That's not true. You cannot sync non-apple players with iTunes without third-party software (such as iTunes Agent). Apple still is the Bully, because they don't give users of other players this possibility.

Monkey said...

So today's bully is Apple. Why?
1) Because they compete with other company which makes phones;
2) (Most importantly) because Palm has no idea who Amarok is.