Like I do every day, I hit up the App Catalog on my Palm Pre (s PALM) 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?