Still waiting to see if the Palm Pre has what it takes to become your next phone? For many people, it all comes down to the app selection, so come with me and take a short visual tour of the Pre's App Catalog (Palm's name for the in-phone app store).
Start the tour in the Pre's Card View
We start in the Card View, which is the Pre's equivalent of the desktop. I'm showing you this because the wallpaper is genuinely useful on the Pre -- unlike the iPhone, which only shows your selected image at logon, you'll see the Pre's wallpaper all the time.
To move along, tap the Launcher icon in the bottom right corner to move to the Launcher.The Launcher is where all the programs live that don't fit in the customizable Quick Launch Bar. (Notice on the previous page that I swapped out one of the default app icons for the New York Times, for example.)
You get three customizable pages of apps here in the Launcher. If you don't move it, the first icon is the App Catalog.
Tap the App Catalog to see some apps.The App Catalog divides its library of free and commercial apps into categories like Features, Popular, Most Recent, Top Rated, Lifestyle, and about 10 others.
Each category has more icons than are visible on-screen; swipe to the left to see more.
Let's see a completely different way to browse the apps next.The very last category is the Tag Cloud. Select it to see this cool view of weighted tags.
Select a tag, and you'll get a list of all the apps that match that criteria.
Next, let's see how to use search to find apps.Of course, the Pre's search tool works in the App Catalog as well. You can just type a word or phrase and get a list of the appropriate apps, without drilling into categories. Or you can browse an A-Z list of the whole catalog.
Eventually, that might become cumbersome, but right now, I count 28 apps in total, including AccuWeather, AP News, Evernote, Fandango, FlightView, InkedIn, Pandora Radio, PocketMirror, Missing Sync, Shortcovers, New York Times, and Where.
Finally, take a look at an actual app for sale in the store.After you choose an app, you get a screen like this in which you can see some screenshots, read reviews, and see ratings. If you've already downloaded the app to your PPre, the Download bar turns into an Update bar (when updates to the app are available).
Head back to the Card View for another look at those dolphins.