Apps and Ads and EOS: Hey Palm! What are you doing?

Noah Kravitz
 from  Oakland, CA
| August 21, 2009

So we went ahead and bought me a Palm Pre so I could do some more work with it - reviews and dogfights and the like. I've really been enjoying having a Pre back in my life. webOS is pretty amazing, and pretty pretty, and Sprint absolutely destroys AT&T for both voice and data service where I happen to live and work and hang out. AT&T being iPhone's carrier, and iPhone being the other phone that I currently pay for service on (everything else I use is a loaner, and we've been able to keep at least one each of Android, BlackBerry Symbian, and Windows Mobile loaner devices on hand at pretty much all times for review purposes ... iPhone we had to buy to review, and Pre we had to give back after a short loaner period).

Point being, I like the Pre.

But I sometimes don't really know what to make of Palm. Or, at least, Palm's public actions, as the few people I've met from Palm over the past year have been lovely. Here's the latest:

Where's the Eos, Pixie, or whatever it's called?

Palm really needs to launch a webOS device on a GSM carrier. Being that they're an American company I, of course, would love to see them launch on an American GSM carrier. And despite AT&T's currently lackluster network reputation, they're still way - WAY - bigger than T-Mobile in terms of subscribers, so it'd behoove Palm to get a WebOS phone into AT&T stores right quick. Like, y'know, in time for the crazy Back to School and/or Holiday shopping seasons.

So where's that darned "Eos" or "Pixie," already? The Treo Pro-esque candybar phone with a touchscreen and QWERTY and WebOS that's long been rumored to be coming to AT&T still hasn't shown its face, and this week was pronounced dead, delayed, and coming in a month or so, depending on which tech blog you happened to read. Aaron says it's coming either in October of this year or "sometime" next year - well, he didn't say it, but he reported on some folks who did.

I say Palm needs to get the darned thing into people's hands now, before they take all of the momentum they generated way back in January and watch it fizzle out in thin air like so much, ahem, pixie dust. webOS is really cool, but not that many people are or want to become Sprint subscribers, and most of the world uses GSM. So even a locked-to-AT&T GSM phone running webOS would be good, since we know some smart kid somewhere will unlock the thing, create an unlocking tool, and open the floodgates to worldwide grey market sales of unlocked GSM Pixies. Or Eoses. Or whatever.

App Catalog = Meh; Homebrew Scene = Awesome

Palm also really needs to go through the cadres of homebrew webOS apps available online and get the developers of the better ones - like Twee - to sign deals to sell those puppies in the App Catalog. Have you used the official webOS Twitter client, Tweed? And have you used Twee? Twee is like, a gabillion light years better. Or at least that's my initial kneejerk take based on using Tweed a bunch and using Twee like four times this week. But I trust my instincts on this one.

I betcha Palm has already courted some great devs and has some great apps lined up for the Catalog. From what I hear, devs like working with both the Mojo SDK and Palm staffers, and Palm has been pretty good (officially or unofficially) with the homebrew crowd.

But they gotta turn that behind the scenes stuff into killer apps easily downloadable from the App Catalog. The average user doesn't know from homebrew and would be scared of it, too. App Catalog = Mainstream = Selling Point for Pre and future webOS devices.

Strange New Apps in the Catalog

Just now I read over on Gizmodo that six new apps made it into the App Catalog. When you've only got 40 or so, six is a big deal. So it's really odd that two of the six are Jewish-centric ("Kosher2Go" and "Shabbat Shalom"), and none of them seem like really big deal kids of apps. There are three games and a mileage monitor, which is good stuff, don't get me wrong. But you'd think that the first batch of apps to be released since ... well, since almost ever ... would be excitement generators. Nothing against Jews or anyone else who keeps kosher or observes Shabbat, but it's kind of a head-scratcher, no?

Maybe it's a purposely on the downlow internal beta test of something related to the App Catalog infrastructure ...

Oh, those ads: From freaky to copycat

You've read my - and many others' - take on the weird Pre ads with the creepy, pale woman with the tightly stretched hair. Now comes a new Pre ad that really, honestly, don't try to deny it rips off the style of almost every iPhone ad I've ever seen. To be fair, this looks like Bell's handiwork and not Palm's (Pre is now available for Pre-order on the Candian carrier). But still, wow ... total ripoff.

Check out both ads, side by side, over on PreThinking.

So, in sum, I say to thee, Palm: I love me the Pre. I really do. Okay, I might not love it, but I like it quite a lot. And I want to see you grow and succeed and make webOS a superhot competitor in the smartphone marketplace. But you gotta get on it, dudes and dudettes. iPhone dominates, and Android is about to hit its big adolescent growth spurt. Now is the time.

Let's hope those Eos/Pixie in October rumors are true, for starters.

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