Palm, RIM and Apple
Mobile applications from Palm are practically non-existent. At this point, the company has just 30 applications available to users. Some of those applications will perform some basic operations consumers are looking for, but for the most part, they're not really providing added value to the Pre.
Worse, Palm has yet to deliver an SDK. According to the company, that SDK just isn't ready. It hopes to make it available at some point by the end of the summer. Great. But in the meantime, Pre users will be left watching iPhone owners enjoy their apps, while they wait for programs of their own to extend the functionality of their smartphone. They can't be happy about that.
RIM's BlackBerry Storm and BlackBerry Bold are both capable of running applications. The company's BlackBerry App World, though, just doesn't provide the sheer number of applications users require. RIM has stayed silent on exactly how many apps its BlackBerry App World has, but as a BlackBerry Bold user who runs a few of the apps in the store, I know there are too few. There are fewer than 1,000 applications in the store, by my estimate. And worst of all, many of those apps are simple ports from the iPhone, so their functionality on my BlackBerry Bold is severely diminished.
And then there's Apple. The company that started the application craze currently has 50,000 applications available in its App Store. Those applications range from social networking tools to business productivity to casual gaming. The diversity of the apps is enough to impress even the most ardent Apple hater. And it ensures that going forward, Apple will easily beat out the competition.
But undoubtedly, some will say that it's not about the number of the apps in a mobile store, but the quality of the apps in that store. It makes sense. 50,000 apps might mean nothing if they aren't very nice. But a more objective observer that has used apps from all three stores knows Apple has it covered. The vast majority of those 50,000 apps are high-quality programs.
We also can't forget that many of those apps have been ported to other platforms. In other words, it's the same exact app on different technology. That doesn't provide the other companies with a significant advantage.
And perhaps that's the biggest problem Apple's competitors face. If they don't have better apps and the selection isn't nearly as wide, they're at a disadvantage.
It's time Palm and RIM start focusing on their SDKs and getting more apps to their respective stores. If they don't, it could only spell more trouble.