Sling Media is developing a version of its SlingPlayer application, which allows users to access TV content from their mobile phones, for the Palm Pre that would work on both on Wi-Fi and 3G. But Sling’s hopes for 3G support could be dashed by the Pre’s mobile carrier, Sprint, which is currently locked in an agreement with privately held MobiTV to deliver mobile television content. That’s a shame, because allowing SlingPlayer on Sprint’s 3G network would help Palm gain more traction in the smartphone landscape — and give the Pre an edge over the iPhone.
AT&T, of course, opted against supporting the SlingPlayer app on its 3G network, which resulted in an outcry from iPhone users. Depending on what Sprint decides, it’s a decision that could end up working heavily in Palm’s favor.
The timing of the application’s launch on the Pre hasn’t yet been determined, according to Sling Media. In an email, Sprint said it is “not in a position to offer a comment since [SlingPlayer] is not an application that we currently offer.” Palm also declined to comment about whether Sprint would support the application on 3G. According to a statement via email:
The app catalog is currently in beta, with a small number of preview applications available. We aren’t speculating on the future availability of any particular apps in the catalog and haven’t published policies about the exact requirements for entry into the catalog. We do expect that with the capabilities of the webOS platform and the Mojo SDK that a wide variety of applications across all categories will be included in the catalog.
Given how contentious the SlingPlayer issue has been for AT&T and iPhone users, Sprint and Palm may be playing it safe by not commenting on the upcoming application. However, SlingPlayer already uses the 3G network on other platforms such as RIM’s BlackBerry, and the application has been available on Palm’s Treo and Centro models for years. In the Pre’s uphill battle against the iPhone, SlingPlayer could be a bright spot for the new Palm smartphone.