by Al Sacco

Palm Launches Software Store, Fails to Wow Users; Bad Omen for “Nova” OS?

Dec 17, 20082 mins
Enterprise Applications

Palm, a former smartphone leader that has come upon particularly tough times, is making one more ploy for resuscitation, and the company wisely isn’t pulling any of the stops; this week, Palm launched a brand new on-device mobile application shop to rival similar offerings from Apple, RIM, Google and others. However, early negative reviews of the app store may not bode well for Palm and its upcoming handheld OS, code named “Nova.”

Palm logo

Palm is expected to show off the Nova OS, which is more than six years in the making, along with a new device running it, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on January 8 to the 11.

But if it’s anything like the “new” Palm Software Store, which is reportedly just an on-device icon that links to a mobile-optimized online retail site as opposed to an actual application like Apple’s App Store or RIM’s BlackBerry App Center, there are going to be quite a few disappointed Palm/smartphone enthusiasts at CES.

Genuine on-device application stores like the ones offered by Apple and RIM do much more than offer the ability to purchase software. For example, both notify users when new updates are available for applications they’re already using. And Apple’s App Store integrates with iTunes so that apps users purchase via iPhone are automatically backed up when they sync with a PC.

Because Palm sells devices that run both the ancient Palm OS and more fresh editions of Windows Mobile, there are two separate versions of the Palm Software Store, one for each OS. But similar on-device links to shops like the Sprint Store and AT&T Mall have been available on Palm devices for some time, and the new Palm Software Store doesn’t appear to add very much value.

So despite the company’s clever efforts to generate even more buzz around Nova and the other tricks it has up its sleeve for 2009, Palm has really only succeeded in frustrating Treo users who thought—if only for a few minutes—that they’d final be getting a “real” on-device application store of their own.

Let’s just hope Palm delivers the real goods next month in Las Vegas….