When the Palm Pre first launched, the Apps Catalog beta had just several dozen apps. That was in June 2009. The number of apps has grown slowly over the last six months, as Palm has limited the number of developers who have full access to its development tools. Palm didn't open up the webOS beta SDK until later summer 2009. It only introduced Mojo -- its web browser-based developer environment -- in December. Mojo is what will help vault the Palm Apps Catalog numbers into range of the other apps stores.
Not that quantity is everything. Palm points out that it has been taking its time in order to ensure the best possible experience for end users.
Palm recently offered a serious system software update to its webOS devices (v1.3.5), which brings in a number of new features and bug fixes. Palm has scheduled a press conference at CES in just a few short days. Many expect Palm to introduce a more advanced version of webOS, while others hope to see some new hardware. Personally, I hope Palm shows both new software and hardware. With only two webOS devices in the market -- both being sold by the same network operator -- Palm needs to increase its distribution channels. More devices available from more network operators would be a big help to Palm right now.
We'll have a clearer picture come Wednesday.