Apple Online Store “In a world crowded with iPhones, BlackBerrys and other smartphones, success for the Pre — and possibly the survival of Palm itself — is going to take a lot more than a well-designed device,” Jenna Wortham reports for The New York Times. “These days, it is all about the apps.”

“Industry experts and programmers say that the company needs to cultivate a system of developers eager to write and publish small useful programs, or applications, for the Pre and its core software, WebOS. Palm also needs to provide an easy way for Pre users to download, pay for and install those apps, similar to Apple’s App Store,” Wortham reports.

“So far, Palm is off to a slow start. Palm’s App Catalog has just a few dozen apps, even as Apple boasts that iPhone users can download 50,000 apps that do everything from receiving baseball videocasts to unlocking a rental car,” Wortham reports.

“The payment system for the Palm app store — important if the company wants to charge for certain programs — is still under construction,” Wortham reports. “And most crucially, Palm has yet to open its software development kit, the main set of tools needed to write apps, to most of the thousands of developers who have expressed an interest in creating programs for the Pre.”

“As a result, some developers are wary of the new platform, said Ben Gottlieb, the president of Stand Alone, which has been creating fitness, game and calendar applications for Palm devices since 1995 but is focusing its new development efforts on the iPhone,” Wortham reports. “‘The WebOS looks like a great comeback, but there’s a little bit of trepidation there,’ Mr. Gottlieb said. ‘Most Palm OS developers I know have moved over to the iPhone. A lot of us feel abandoned, as the platform was neglected for so many years.'”

Wortham reports, “Palm is urging customers and developers to be patient. ‘We’ve never really said that we’re in a race with Apple,’ said Derick Mains, a spokesman for the company. Rather than compete with Apple on the volume of applications, ‘we’re building a catalog of quality apps in the store,’ Mr. Mains said.”

MacDailyNews Take: If this weak and false “quality over quantity” argument is all they have, then Palm is deader than dead. Think roadkill that competitors keep driving over; some even back up and drive over them again and again. Apple’s App Store, of course, offers both quality and quantity to users along with a beautiful, powerful SDK, lucrative payment system, and tens of millions of potential customers to developers.

Wortham continues, “Palm is still working on the Pre’s software development kit, which developers use to build applications. On Friday, it said the tools would not be widely available until the end of the summer.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Citymark” for the heads up.]