Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Pacific NorthWest
| | PDA Green v. Handango v. PalmGear (long)
About six months ago I looked into the top few Palm software sites to determine who I would like to support. I did it again this past weekend, and then gave the three time to respond.
The intial impetus last spring was PalmGear's draconian approach and dictatorial style towards developers. They had put into place a policy that required they be the point-of-contact on any software submitted to them. That, I felt, was reasonable. But they had a history of not paying developers promptly and their new policy included extremely strong financial penalties, even on free software, should the developers miss a link.
Earlier this month I registered two because the search was easier to use than on PDAGreen. But that was hardly a fair analysis, so I put one together. The goal was to determine which site of the three really seems interested in developers and users rather than just in cold hard cash.
To determine this, I selected several open-source applications that I have experience with, KeyRing, Today and Plucker. I've done work on Plucker, KeyRing is a useful password manager, and Today (the version by Jonas Lindstedt) is a fantastic free way to get a look at your agenda on start-up. None of these are for-profit, but all are borderline-essentials, so any site that lacks any is clearly purely commercial, while any site that has all three is clearly very interested in either the community or in having bragging rights for the most and best software.
Not one of the three sites listed KeyRing. Okay fine.
The Plucker newsreader is on PalmGear and only PalmGear. This shocked me so much I triple-checked. Of course you can also find it on the Plucker website, but the point is this is a valuable free product for new users. No commercial product is nearly as good. And only PalmGear provides pointers and access to it.
And the targetted Today is only on PalmGear, though both Handango and PalmGear also have a commercial "Today" from a different Company, doing different things, for sale. Given "Today" as a search term, PalmGear oddly lists the target at #9, after seven items that AREN'T named "today", perhaps due to lack of money... but it is listed.
So at that point I figured PalmGear would be getting my registrations (such as two in the last few days). But there was another wrinkle...
PalmGear requires users create an account, with user ID, password and email address, to complete a purchase. They didn't do this a year ago. (Yes, I ordered from them regularly back then.) I refuse to track an additional user ID/password for so few purchases a year. So I bought from Handango anyhow.
The interesting bit is that I wrote to all three companies on Sunday, giving them a chance to correct my findings and views. Kenny from PalmGear responded regularly and even changed their account requirement this week in response. (I waited to post this to verify that change; it's there now.) That's some serious customer service. Matt Stein from PocketGear (aKA PDA Green, although I'm not clear on the connection) wrote me merely confirming my findings and offering to distribute software. Nobody from Handango replied.
Final score: PalmGear wins on software (2 of 3) and Responsiveness, but lost a point for being buttheaded enough to try insisting on accounts. Handango gets a point for allowing purchases as "guest", but never replied at all to the initial messages sent to all three. And PDA Green gets a half-point for responding at all but also loses a point for requiring an account and being the only ones that still require one, and they lose another point for having, at least in my opinion, the worst browsing experience. So despite my bias going in, PalmGear is the clear winner.
Your scorecard may differ.