One cloud hovering over the potential success of Palm’s upcoming Pre smartphone was its empty app store–definitely something for new buyers to bear in mind. But Palm, it seems, has got that base covered: the Pre’s funky new WebOS will sport a “classic PalmOS” emulator mode.
The information was discovered during a Palm demonstration walk through for Precentral.net, when a prominent “classic” icon became visible on the pre-production smartphone. There’s not a lot of information available about the system yet, and we don’t know if it will let you plop classic apps on the Pre’s desktop, or if they have to always run “inside” the Classic emulator. The Classic emulation comes from Motion Apps, and they’ll manage a list of compatible apps from the 30,000 or so that exist.
What is clear is that the Pre’s advanced chips should make apps run much swifter than they ever have before. And for a deliciously retro feel, the “old” Palm buttons also look like they’re replicated graphically on the Pre’s touchscreen when it’s in emulator mode.
This news hints at a competitive advantage for the new app store. Though Apple’s thriving store for the iPhone currently touts “25,000 apps and counting,” some commenters say the new emulator gives the Pre an edge over the iPhone. It’s worth pointing out those 25,000 iPhone apps are new, and purpose-written for the device.