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5/28/2009
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Palm Pre, iTunes To Sync, App Store Revealed

Programs from Fandango, Pandora, AP News, and other content makers will be available at the June 6 launch, Palm executives say.

Palm Pre smartphone
(click image for larger view)
Palm Pre smartphone

The highly anticipated Pre smartphone is about a week away from being released and Palm keeps revealing new features.

At the All Things Digital conference Thursday, CEO Jon Rubinstein demonstrated Palm's answer to Apple's App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Pre users will be able to browse, download, buy, and install apps over the air through the App Catalog, and the beta version was filled with programs from Fandango, Pandora, AP News, and other content makers. The App Catalog will go live when the Pre launches, Palm said.

One of the key differentiators with the Pre and its webOS operating system is that developers can create apps using standard Web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Apps will also be able to integrate and take advantage of features within webOS. For example, the Fandango app enables users to purchase tickets on the go, and the handset can give the user directions to the theater, as well as block out that time in the calendar.

"We've received excellent feedback from participants in the Mojo SDK early access program and look forward to the SDK's public release," Rubinstein said in a statement. "Developers are very enthusiastic about the platform's ease of use and industry-standard development model."

With 8 GB of storage and a multimedia player, the Pre could potentially replace a personal music player. The company said users will be able to use iTunes to sync DRM-free tracks, which could make it easier for Pre users to manage their music playlists. There is similar software available for BlackBerry smartphones, and it could come in handy now that iTunes is selling the majority of its tracks DRM-free.

Users don't have to use iTunes, though, as the Pre also will mount as a mass storage device when it's connected to a computer with a USB cable. Additionally, the smartphone will have on-device access to Amazon.com's MP3 store to purchase music over the air.

One of the appealing features of webOS is the integrated universal search, which enables users to find information on the device or online by typing on the home screen. Palm said this universal search scans the Web via Google, Google Maps, and Wikipedia, and it will also include Twitter.


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