The Internet Archive just put 565 Palm Pilot apps in your web browser

Yes I am to play drug wars on a Palm Pilot in my iPhone. It’s thanks to The Internet Archive that once again brings to the market a massive collection of software that you can play instantly on any web browser, up to and including your touchscreen-equipped phone. There are currently 565 classic Palm apps in total, including games, widgets, and even free trials from both the grayscale and color eras.

Reach out and touch a 1996 handheld computer with your 2022 handheld computer

And it’s about more than just the individual apps, too: the entire Palm OS loads on every launch, including its full suite of default apps (like calculator and notepad) and a working graffiti touchscreen writing system. I can’t stress it enough: You can reach and touch a 1996 handheld computer with your 2022 handheld computer and it works like a charm. It’s a tiny interactive window into the pre-iPhone era and what lived in the proto-app store.

For me personally, reading cached copies of is like stepping back in time to high school Slash, played space trader and predecessor of Flappy Bird SFCave In the meantime, I would show my tricorder to anyone who would bite, and even occasionally take valuable lesson notes with a pen. Other generations can now see what these were like with a single tap.

Narrated by archivist and historian Jason Scott The edge that it took only six months to get the existing CloudPilot emulator ready for embedding, and thanks to both its developer Christian Speckner and the previous POSE emulator. (I read that even POSE was based on an earlier project, Copilot, so some people deserve thanks for the result.)

Scott says his own favorite Palm software was a GPS app he used on his Palm III — but I don’t want to spoil why. You will understand immediately when you try it yourself.

a:hover]:text-gray-63 text-gray-63 dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-bd dark:text-gray-bd dark:[&>a]:text-gray-bd [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray”>Photo by Sean Hollister / The Verge

You might also find some comedy gold in its dedicated collection of Palm Pilot trials, when developers were trying to figure out what would make people pay for an app. A calculator that “cannot do any mathematical calculations with the number 7” seems to belong in a certain circle of hell.

Scott says he’s gently launching the Palm Pilot emulator collection because he’s “kind of tired of people realizing I’ve missed a spot,” and it really needs some work — mainly the pull-out of metadata such as the names of the respective app creators. He also hopes to add the instructions for each app.

If there’s a specific game or app that got you through school or work and it’s mysteriously missing, reply me in the comments or drop me an email? Scott says he’s adding a few more and I’ll be happy to pass on requests.

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