Palm Pre Apps I'd Like to See

Since Palm just released the long-awaited first version of the official “native” Facebook app, it seems like a good time to take a look at what apps remain missing in action. As usual, in no particular order, here are a few:

  • Documents to Go The lite, view-only version of the otherwise ubiquitous document editing software suite will come to the Pre eventually–Dataviz, its maker, has already said it should come “early in 2010, whatever that means–but without it, the Pre is truly crippled as a business device. The inability to edit Word and Excel files is a real weakness, and the sooner Dataviz can ship a full-featured app, the better.
  • WordPress Blogging on the go works if you use the time-tested method of posting via email. However, for real control, nothing beats a native app, particularly when it comes to managing comments. As a blogger who uses WordPress exclusively, I’m seriously jonesing for an app.
  • Shazam Because the Pre still hasn’t (apparently) released an API supporting the microphone, apps that utilize it remain impossible. That’s a shame, because one app I’ve really wanted to try is Shazam. For those unfamiliar, and simply put, Shazam allows the user to record a snippet of a song and then, via some magic on Shazam’s backend servers, identify the song for eventual purchase, rental, or whatever. I’ve been in many, many situations where I’ve heard a song, liked it, but was unfamiliar with the artist. Shazam would be a welcome addition in such situations.
  • Skype I’m not a big Skype user myself, but for some folks the voice over IP (VOIP) application is essential. This is another app that’s likely rendered impossible by a missing microphone API.
  • Facebook Yes, I know, I wrote that the release of Palm’s official Facebook app spurred this post. However, this version hardly qualifies. It’s a very simplistic view into the Facebook News Feed, essentially, showing friends’ posts and allowing comments and likes. There’s no support for updating one’s profile, no Facebook app support, no Facebook Messages, no Events, no Facebook Chat. It’s a very limited app that begs for being expanded, and it would have looked much better upon the Pre’s release in June. Five months later, and it’s a bit underwhelming–better to go to, in fact.
  • Ebook readers: Amazon (Kindle), Sony (Reader), Barnes & Noble (Nook), and others are all producing outstanding ebook devices, while building increasingly robust ebook ecosystems. Amazon and B&N are both producing applications to support their physical readers on a variety of platforms, including Windows, Macs, the iPhone, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile devices. While there are a few simple but decent ereader apps for the Pre, until the major players release WebOS apps that support their ebook stores, Pre and Pixi readers will be unable to benefit from the convenience of sharing bookmarks, annotations, and saved states between various devices and platforms. In short, the Pre would make a very passable ebook reader in a pinch (albeit, the screen’s mighty small for my eyes) and support from Amazon and B&N would be most welcome. 
  • Task management software: Whether it’s Getting Things Done, Franklin Covey, or just a more full-featured task management application, the Pre is a bit lacking even discounting the weakness of the Tasks application. There are a number of powerful applications out there for a variety of platforms that enable task syncing across multiple systems. The only problem is, none of them are currently supported on the Pre. For anyone with a complex workload, that’s a glaring omission at this point.
  • Google Earth Not a terribly important app, but one that would be nice to demonstrate the Pre’s multitouch capabilities and beautiful screen.
  • Games: It’s going to be some time–if ever–before the Pre becomes a gaming powerhouse, and I think that’s just fine. There are those who disagree strongly with this sentiment, I’m sure, but I just didn’t buy my Pre to play advanced games like first person shooters. At the same time, the Pre is mostly capable of playing simpler games like Soduku, Solitaire, and Chess, and with some additional performance enhancements will hopefully be capable of playing games like Chainz and Bejewelled (which were my personal favorites on my Treos) without lag. It says something about WebOS that such games would likely be problematic at this point, but such is the life of a young mobile OS.
  • Remote control software: Some folks need to access their PCs remotely, and could certainly benefit from a remote control app on the Pre. It’s one of those things that if you don’t need it, you’d never think about it, but if you do, then you probably really, really do. There’s no middle ground. The absence of good remote control software is probably a serious hindrance in its adoption by IT departments and anyone else who provides technical support.

Those are just a few, of course. With 100,000 apps in Apple’s App Store, of which 500 are probably decent (exageration fully intended), there are obviously many, many apps that would be welcome on the Pre. Some of them will never make it, such as those that utlize a compass or magnetometer, while others will never get written until WebOS has many, many more units in the field.

What apps would you like to see?

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