Palm’s App Catalog Lacking a Killer App

The App Catalog has been up and running since the launch of the Palm Pre, a little over four months ago. Once Palm added support for e-commerce, we’ve seen a nice influx of applications, but is there a killer app available for webOS yet? We all know the multi-tasking advantages of webOS, but does the SDK (software development kit) provide developers with the tools to deliver killer apps? Using game systems as parallel, sometimes it takes developers time to deliver an application that really maximize the capabilities of the operating system.

Looking at the ‘Popular’ apps, the first five are all paid apps. According the App Catalog, these are the most popular apps.

  • Track n’ Pack $7.99 : Shipment tracking app that supports Fedex, UPS, USPS and DHL.
  • Baby Bump $3.99: A pregnancy app that keeps you informed about your pregancy and provides feature-rich tracking tools.
  • Top Stocks $4.95: Top Stocks delivers real-time stock market information with prices, line charges, news stories and more.
  • Tilt Origami $1.99: A game based on the traditional Japanese art of paper folding.
  • My Translator $1.99:  Language and text translator, with support for over 35 languages.

While I’m certain they have utility and value to some users, they don’t appear to be “killer apps” that drive device sales. When Palm demonstrated the Pixi, they used the Air Hockey app for demonstration purposes, currently sitting with a rating of 2.5 stars out of 5. Good, but not great — and certainly not of the killer variety.


Are these apps on the horizon? Is there a gem hidden the App Catalog that has the potential to be that killer app. If Palm were to showcase apps in a new commercial, what app would make consumers consider the Palm Pre as their next smartphone. Let us know if you’ve found that app? If not, what are you looking for from developers looking to make a killer app for webOS.


  1. I don’t think we will get any apps that iPhone doesn’t cover. I don’t think users will pick the Palm Pre over iPhone because the apps. Instead, we need enough ‘killer apps’ so that people don’t resort to an iPhone. There are people that prefer WebOS, but need more apps.

    I think since we can’t have in depth games yet, I think we need more GPS apps like Google Latitude and Foursquare. I also think we need the ability to Ustream or do Qik videos, but I know that isn’t possible yet.

  2. scotbotmosh says:

    I would say just take a look at any of the games featured on any of the iphone commercials. If WebOS can’t offer that quality or better then they should just throw the towel in. I like my pre a lot, but poor battery life, and lack of any good games are the bummers at the top of my list of issues that I hope Palm is working on.

  3. Hamlet Smith says:

    Great phone. Terrible Apps. I wish now I had bought an I phone. I hope Palm understands this.

  4. I bought the Pre hoping to get a nice, native ssh client (and I have one courtesy of the Terminal app), and a nice, native vnc client (still waiting). I figured being Linux-based and open that it wouldn’t take long, and honestly, 4 months is not that long. But while everyone else is waiting for games, and apps that tell you how many steps it is to the nearest California roll or tweet your GPS coordinates, I’m still waiting for an app that’ll let me do actual work in an emergency without a laptop.

    Oh yeah, and a soft RSA dongle would be nice for cleaning up my keychain a bit. One’s already on the way for Android — in fact, I hear that a lot these days, and between that and the availability of Android VNC Viewer, I’ve started to wonder if I should have waited. But I’ll have the Pre for at least another 20 months, so I think it’s a little early to second-guess.

  5. I was thinking about this just last night. I was playing airport mania on my ipod touch and I though to myself, how long is it going to be until we see an app with the amount of graphics and operation that this game has. I know that palm hasnt released access to the cores of the phone, but if they do so very soon, they are going to hurt really bad.
    I love my pre, but the apps are so boring, the basic apps all have the same layout, with the title in the top, and the basic icons on the bottom.
    Look at polar bowling, I thought it had more potential but all you do is flick your finger and the thing goes flying up the screen, theres no real animation except the polar bear moving.
    Another example is the weather channel app. If we see it in the iphone and the pre, the one in the iphone has nice layouts and with just five icons across the bottom, you have all you need. But the one in the pre, you have to choose and icon and you get your pop-up menu and you have to choose another option, and to go back you can’t just swipe back, you have to choose again. Maybe its the developer’s fault and not so much palm’s, but what i think its hurting the app catalog is the lack of animation in the apps.

  6. I’m waiting for cool killer game apps like on the iphone. I’m willing to pay anything for games like space dead beef, field runners & knights which are all available on the iphone come palm/developers don’t make me regret getting a pre

  7. I want to do “actual work” as was mentioned by raindog469. So while I prefer Verizon due early next year, I’m really waiting for native webOS versions of SplashMoney, Word, Excel, eReader (for my ebooks), and PocketTunes (for my audio books).

  8. I sit and wait patiently for Slingplayer Mobile to come out on the Pre. Unless it’s been updated, the iPhone version only caters to over-Wifi connection. If the WebOS version would work over EV-DO, then that would be the first feather in WebOS’s cap (in regards to apps).

  9. Wayne Patterson says:

    I’ve got a prototype for a unique organizer that links all your life data and relationships, never losing track of any data as long as you live, providing easy access without clutter. It would be a great Pre app synching with the cloud. But I’m not a developer.

  10. I am anxiously waiting for a WebOS version of LifeBalance (, integrated with Synergy (mainly my calendars and contacts) as well as with the GPS function of my Pre so instead of choosing the place where I am, the Pre will know by itself and filter the tasks or reminders appropriately.

    I would pay 50$ for that app and still smile…

  11. Yeah, I’d be happy to just have a Facebook app. Jeez – they used Facebook in one of their commercials, yet I’m forced to access it via a lousy mobile internet site.

  12. The one big app that the Palm Pre is missing would be the Mobile SlingPlayer for Slingbox. The iPhone released a new app around the same time the Pre went public and it was rumored that the Pre would come with the app installed.

    Any new updates on bringing SlingPlayer to the Pre?

  13. I am waiting for some type of barcode scanner app similar to shopsavvy. I am pretty confident we will see shopsavvy for PRE if the camera will be good enough to scan with. another would be a descent game already. Something like robo Defense for the HTC Hero would be my preference. I had the HTC Hero but since it was too slow for me with Sprint I jumped to the PRE. I resolved my battery issues by turning off the GPS and enabling only when required so my real issue is only a good app and good game. We know it can handle them, we just need someone to care about making it.

  14. My List:

    A Flash player
    A audiobooks player
    A WebOS native VNC client
    A native DRM removal tool (not likely, but this is a wish list)

    And ported from the iPhone cataloge:

  15. Killer App? Current homebrew app drPodder fits the bill. Download and sync podcasts on the go, over wifi or 3G. No need to have to sync with a desktop client!

  16. I wish they would just fix their signal issues… I’m sick of the dropped calls and jumping bars. That is my #1 complaint on this phone, everything else is just icing.

Speak Your Mind