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Rejected by Apple, Palm teams with Amazon

  • Story Highlights
  • Commentary: Palm should make an iTunes rival -- an Amazon-friendly app
  • Palm Pre's new software update brings cellular downloads from Amazon's MP3 store
  • Palm should buy DVD Jon's DoubleTwist app, which can access iTunes databases
  • The app already supports the Pre out of the box; a new Mac version debuts October 6
By Charlie Sorrel
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(WIRED) -- You know the foolish game of cat and mouse Palm has been playing with Apple? The one where Palm hacks its own Pre phone to masquerade as an iPod and climb unnoticed into iTunes' bed?

The Palm Pre's latest software update brings cellular downloads from Amazon's MP3 store.

The Palm Pre's latest software update brings cellular downloads from Amazon's MP3 store.

It's over. After repeatedly getting thrown out of the bedroom by a furious Apple, Palm has taken a new lover, and it is Amazon.

The Amazon MP3 Store to be precise. The Pre's latest software update, webOS 1.2, brings cellular downloads from the MP3 store (previously you could only use Wi-Fi).

In reality, it's not much of a sop to those who were sold on the Pre's official iTunes compatibility, but then that's the risk a company takes when they sell an easy-to-break hack as a feature.

The new webOS, released on Monday, has a lot of other new features, most of which are similarly anti-climactic: bookmarks are now backed up on sync, files are downloadable from the browser and you can copy-paste in the browser and mail applications. There is also type-ahead filtering in mail and -- at last! -- snooze now works in the calendar.

We tease. While there are no blockbuster new features, the update fixes a lot of things and tweaks some others (the full list is linked below). But what Palm should really do is to make an iTunes rival, a media-playing, content-syncing, Amazon MP3-friendly application.

And it should make it work not just with the Pre, but with any device you might own, including the iPhone. That would stick it to Apple, and there is already an app out there which Palm should buy: DVD Jon's DoubleTwist.

Think about it. If DoubleTwist can manage to read the iTunes database (including all playlists) along with the movies and photos stored on a Mac or PC, then it should be easy for Palm, with its complement of ex-iPhone employees, to build something at least as polished.

In fact, reading from the iTunes Library like this is the proper, official way to do things and there is a brace of applications which do this, from Mac alarm clocks to mini-iTunes controllers.

Sure, the "works seamlessly with iTunes" tactic was gutsy and whipped up a lot of publicity, but its hardly a grown-up way to work. And even if Palm doesn't want to make an iTunes rival, that's okay too. Just providing a link to DoubleTwist on its site would be cheeky enough.

The application already supports the Pre out of the box, and a mystery new Mac version will debut on October 6th, which is very likely to work with the iPhone and iPod Touch, and (we're making an educated guess here) could bring an alternative, jailbreak app store.

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Copyright 2009

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