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Summary:

Like I do every day, I hit up the App Catalog on my Palm Pre this morning. Instead of cruising around the store by category, it’s easier to just hit the Recent tag since there’s only 30 apps. Or is it 29? There were 30 titles […]

pre-apps-29Like I do every day, I hit up the App Catalog on my Palm Pre this morning. Instead of cruising around the store by category, it’s easier to just hit the Recent tag since there’s only 30 apps. Or is it 29? There were 30 titles for the past several weeks, but apparently one went missing and I’m not sure which one it was. Nor do I know why it’s gone. Luckily, it wasn’t one of the few I’m using since they’re all still there.

I know that the SDK won’t be widely distributed until the “end of summer” since that’s what Jon Rubinstein said on the investor call last week. But he also said that hundreds to thousands of developers would get their hands on it within the next few weeks, so I keep hoping to see a new app or two pop up and surprise me. While I still like the device and the webOS UI, I’m feeling very limited with what I can do right now. I keep turning back to my iPhone because of key apps I use several times per day when away from the computer. Without apps, the handset loses some of its shine and appeal after you get through all of the native software.

Last week on GigaOm, I said that Palm only has half of the pieces to the business plan puzzle in place. Maturing the SDK, distributing it and then building the App Catalog from its current beta status are a must. But perhaps I’m trying too hard to compare Palm’s potential success with that of Apple and Research in Motion, both of which have been gobbling up chunks of market share. Rubinstein did say that he feels there’s room in the market for four or five major smartphone platforms. He doesn’t feel Palm needs to be number one to win.

Henry Blodget feels the total opposite is true. At Silicon Alley Insider, he says that even though Palm my have sold 400,000 handsets, it’s still bombing. I tend not to agree with that point of view just yet. Palm is taking a slow and methodical approach by design. And I certainly don’t agree with Henry’s contrarian view on the number of mobile platforms the market can bear:

“The world doesn’t need FOUR major handset platforms.  It probably doesn’t even need two or three.  So, long-term, we still think the Pre will bomb.”

Oh Henry. If we all took that view, we’d probably be running MS-DOS version 17 on IBM-clone computers these days! I don’t want to see the handset market fragmented by multitudes of platforms, but the competitors have raised the bar by offering strong alternatives to each other. Consumers have only benefited as a result.

How are you other Palm Pre owners feeling right now about your handset? Are you too craving apps or you OK with the current situation? How long are you willing to wait for more software titles?

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  1. James Kendrick Thursday, July 2, 2009

    It’s back on my Pre. Got 30 as usual.

    1. Ah… but which one was it? Now I’m wondering if I’m missing a great app!

  2. Kevin use the EverNote to take a snap shot and you’ll be ready next time for that missing app. or if they try something sneaking of updating something. ;)

    1. Kevin C. Tofel HG Thursday, July 2, 2009

      That’s a great idea HG, but…. what if they pull the Evernote app next time? How will I snap proof of that?!? ;)

  3. It was the SplashID password manager. I read that it was pulled due to a bug. Looks like it is fixed and back in the catalog.

    1. Thanks Jamie. I could use a PW manager / data wallet on my Pre. Looks like the beta version is free but this will be a paid app, so I’d better try it now.

  4. Yes I understand that more apps will broaden the audience for the Pre, but exactly how many apps does one need? Seems like they are selling them as fast as they can make them right now, so the audience must be pretty broad already.

    Pandora, YouTube and the Web browser keep me entertained. Tweed keeps me connected. GPS keeps me from getting lost. The calculator lets me convert currencies, and split the bar tab and tips. Besides that stuff, Google Apps keeps my important data up-to-date and synced to my computers.

    If I had a vote in the planning meetings I would tell them to focus resources on getting things right – resolve hardware problems and making WebOS rock solid, before wasting time on apps. 10,000 apps on a shaky platform isn’t going to impress anyone.

    1. Thing is, apps will help Palm get paid NOW more than OS improvements ever would.

  5. King James FAIL Thursday, July 2, 2009

    I totally agree with you,HENRY sounds like a real $%^#D$head lol. Competition is great HENRY. I definitely do not want the Nazi’s at APPLE telling me what I want or need or tell me how I am going to get it and like it or ELSE.Sounds like how Washington is being run now adays.

    What APPS are the must have ones you keep running back to on the Iphone? I currently have a Q and have a few smal games on it but hardly ever play with any of them.Ditto for the Computer,I have a few of the games people play but I don’t feel the need to play any of them.Guess I have gotten passed the gameboy stage in life that I am not tied down that much to do those things.

    I will probably get the Touch Pro 2 if I can get it without having to get an Everything Plan but wouldn’t mind a marriage between that and the Pre if I could get it at the right price and the right monthly $$.

    1. No chance of getting TP2 without the Simply Everything plan… the original TP already requires it as do all current and future smartphones… unless, of course, you buy it out of contract and pay full price on it.

  6. I’m looking forward for that Palm Pre SDK along with thousands of other programmers. I’m holding out pretty well. Gives me a chance to know the Palm Pre better and learn all of the shortcuts, techniques and capabilities, while the flood of Apps for the App Catalog are held back for the meantime.

    It’s been handy in helping me transfer huge files as it also functions as an 8GB USB drive.

    Turn-by-turn GPS navigation is very cool but the battery isn’t very helpful on long trips. It came with a regular outlet charger but I’ve tinkered with it enough to learn that I could also use an iPod car charger with a USB port to power my Pre while I’m using it on the road. Now I have no excuse not to run Pandora’s internet radio or anything else while I’m driving.

    I love how I can access Craigslist and Facebook much easier along with the seamless ability to receive multiple e-mails from various servers in one place. It makes me a little too productive.

    This multitasking feature has gotten me so spoiled, I find myself peeking in the App Catalog for something new to join the rest of my apps running in the background :)

  7. You know, apps make a difference. I hated Crackberries until I got a Curve. Their Facebook app is way better than the Pre’s. The Pre needs: An Audible App. An e-book reader, preferably Kindle Mobile. A few more games never hurt anyone. Pocket Quicken? I don’t want to run classic apps. Nor do I want an NES emulator. Palm should be over at PopCap games on their knees (not that PopCaps games are great, but they are Bejewelled…).

  8. I’d like a I.C.E. (In Case of Emergency) App that I can leave on the desktop. I’d like to be able to enter phone numbers and addresses of whom to contact. Also a list of the medications I take as well as allthe information on the implant card that I must carry.

    Also (and I will add this suggestion on its own) I’d like to be able to make individual icons (like the I.C.E one) bigger.

  9. First of all, most important to me are native SSH and VNC clients. Don’t really want to pay for crusty old Palm Classic programs that don’t use the entire Pre screen, though it’s good to have the option in an emergency. Webshell is okay in a pinch but not for any kind of regular use, and the ported VNC client the homebrewers have already come up with has no mouse control.

    I’d like multi-protocol instant messaging; I only have one friend on Google Talk and I more often TM her than use that. Thinking about seeing if libpurple (Pidgin) will port, and try to use its dbus interface without the actual Pidgin GUI running, though native support in the Pre’s messaging and contacts apps would be preferable since the fields for your contacts’ Yahoo, AIM and MSN entries are already in there.

    I think some actual games (that aren’t all over AJAX demo sites) already would attract more users too, but even with their awesome Javascript runtime, I think games at even the Bejeweled level are going to have to be written a little closer to the metal. Flash will take care of some of it, but look at the video of the Playstation emulator to see what the Pre could really do if developers try.

    But as far as Mojo games go, I think a multiplayer networked Scrabble-style game might be nice. I’d probably buy a networked trivia game too, and know a few other people who also would.

    I’d like an OpenOffice document viewer. I’m probably one of about 10 people who would.

    Loopt is getting important, and I’d like to see that on the Pre. Skype already is important, but they’re snubbing the Pre for now.

    Finally, I really, really want a voice recorder that saves to /media/internal (the part you see when you plug the USB cable into your Pre) so I’ll never run out of space for my voice notes.

    One other note about the App Catalog: I probably will not be spending too much time with it unless they come up with a consistent and CLEAR way of indicating which apps are actually free and which are trials or require an outright payment. After 7 years without Windows, I forgot how annoying it is to search for and download proprietary software, not always knowing what you’re going to get or how much you’ll have to pay till you run it. The Pre has raised my phone bill enough (had to get rid of my grandfathered unlimited data and 2000 shared minutes plan for a more expensive unlimited data and 1500 shared minutes plan) without extra little surprises on the bill.

  10. It’s a slick phone. I never owned the Idrone because I didn’t want to go GSM..

    HOWEVER, slickness doesn’t replace the functionality I had with the Curve.

    Ofcourse, email, IM, text all worked MUCH better on the Curve. Not as ‘slick’ as the Pre but MUCH more functional. Why can’t we landscape email??

    Selecting text is a major chore on the Pre. You can only do so when creating a document.. You can’t even forward text messages,, jeez..
    The apps are nice. I love Where, CitySearch and the YouTube apps.. MySpace and Facebook apps worked better on the Curve.

    The camera doesn’t zoom, no video recorder and the flash is not as good as it was on the Curve. I cant take pictures of my drunk friends at the bar anymore. The picture quality in the dark is too poor.

    I would love to see a Call Recorder. There isn’t one for the Blackberry either, but some of the other Palms had one (ones with Palm OS at least).

    I would also like the ‘Clock’ app to be part of my wallpaper background. THAT would be slick..

    One other thing, does anyone elses Pre get really hot when using it while it’s charging??

    It is a very stable device. The phone radio is great. I don’t see much difference with Rev. A, but again, signal strength is good.
    Screen quality is very impressive and the ability to have multiple apps open simultaneously is VERY handy and convenient. Other Palms and Blackberry can’t do that and MS Mobile does it like everything Microsoft; glitchy.

    Overall, I’m holding on to the phone because I see it’s potential. I hope after 30 days I don’t regret my decision..
    MORE APPS NOW!!!

    1. My Pre gets VERY hit when charging, especially if it’s being used while charging.

    2. Okay, that was supposed to be “hot”, not “hit”! LOL

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