By Mike / On / In Technology

In my last post I suggested that one opportunity presented by the American Patent War would be for Europe to develop a new app platform that would be out of reach of Silicon Valley’s technology tax.

That got me thinking about what my dream platform would look like. I imagine something that belongs to the community, built and controlled by App Makers themselves. Something that combines the best of existing platforms, but learns from their mistakes, and improves upon them.

Obviously we want the platform to be open, but we also see value in Apple’s strict controls on quality. I think the solution to this is to allow developers to sell directly to users, while also creating an App Shop with strict quality controls to make it easy for users to find the best apps.

Indeed, I think the most powerful tool a platform provider has is its seal of approval. Right now that comes in the form of being featured on the App Store, App Marketplace, or what have you. But that could also just be a seal.

On the hardware side we pretty much just want the iPad. Apple could provide that hardware. The EU could require them to allow third-party operating systems on their hardware. Monkies could fly out of my butt.

As much as I hate to say something like this, Apple doesn’t actually make iPads, as Samsung has demonstrated. We either commission a really nice piece of hardware, or we just make the thing hardware agnostic, using strict specifications to stay out of fractured hell.

I’m sure a lot of people will fixate on the hardware. I’m not trying to start a flame war here, but I don’t think hardware is the biggest issue. Look at the success of the Game Boy over the superior Game Gear, Lynx, and others. The platform that wins is the platform that has the apps.

How do we program the thing? Ideally we don’t choose one language, but make it easy to expand to any language, perhaps by compiling to a common meta-language, such as C. That way the nerds don’t have to fight over their favorites.

That would also make the Europad the ideal platform for exploring new programming paradigms, like graphical programming for kids—what Smalltalk and Cocoa could have been.

Tell me about your dream platform.

2 thoughts on “Europad

  1. I guess Linux might be a nice direction as a platform and since tablets are becoming more and more powerful (MHz, cores and memory) running some full version like Ubuntu or Mint is more and more feasible.

    HaXe ( is the kind of cross-language compiler that allows you to write things once and compile it in several forms. I never used it, so I do not know how good it is.

    For tablets, Archos ( is a good European alternative. They produce stuff somewhere in the east, but the design is France. End of this year they will launch a dual core OMAP 4 (if I understand correctly) dual core 1.5 GHz version to the market for prices around 300 USD.

    Regarding (patent) claims: hopefully the European community stays sane on this regarding regulation. It seems that in the US it is more and more becoming a weapon to kill competition instead of a means to stimulate innovation.

  2. So I hate to be the token Smalltalk guy who quibbles with you… but that’s exactly who I am. 🙂 Kids *are* exploring new programming paradigms with it, involving graphics (3D and otherwise), simulation, and lots more, using several Squeak-derived platforms, including Scratch and Etoys (including its stealth form with other languages on the OLPC XO). See:

    Apologies if you already knew all this and/or it just doesn’t meet your criteria. At least I didn’t plug my own project here. 😉

    Thanks again for Appsterdam!


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