Eight Top Free Downloads for Palm Pre

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Tweed: Twitter via Pre

The central motivating question behind the popular "micro-blogging" service Twitter is this: What are you doing? And there's no better time or place to answer that question than when you're out and about doing whatever it is that you do best, right? I mean, there are only so many things one can do while sitting in front of a computer screen...

Thanks to Tweed, Pre owners can share and communicate with their followers, on the go or otherwise, via an intuitive and easy to use--if a bit barebones--Twitter app. Tweed gives Pre users access to all the basic Twitter features, like Friends Timeline, Public Timeline, Replies, Direct Messages, Trending Topics, Favorites and more. And you can turn on notifications, so a tiny icon appears at the bottom of your Pre's display whenever you have new activity.

As for "advanced functionality," Tweed doesn't have much to offer, except for a location feature which lets you include your current whereabouts in "tweets." I was particularly disappointed that Tweed doesn't currently support TwitPic, which lets you post images along with Twitter messages.

Note: There's another player in the Pre-Twitter-game, as well, called Spaz. I used both apps and found that Tweed delivers a better overall experience, at least for me. Also, Spaz is currently free, but its creators plan to throw a price tag on it in the near future.

To find Tweed or Spaz, search the Palm Pre App Catalog for "Twitter."

Pandora Radio: Free Internet Radio in Your Pocket

I'm a huge fan of Pandora Radio, and I've recommended the BlackBerry and iPhone apps on CIO.com numerous times. I feel just as strongly about the new Pandora for Pre offering, because, well, it's almost exactly the same. It's more similar to the iPhone application, because of the touch-based navigation, but all of the same basic functionality is present in Pandora for Pre.

Quick description of Pandora Radio: Pandora is an Internet radio "station" that lets you program personalized channels based on artists you like. For example, a John Lennon fan could create a 'The Beatles' station that plays tunes from the Fab Four, mixed in with songs recommended by other Beatles fans on Pandora. The service is a great way to find new artists you may have never heard before.

The Pandora interface is very simple, and that's one of its strengths. It's easy to add new artist channels, and all of your existing channels are displayed alphabetically or by creation date on the app's home screen. Just tap one and your music starts playing. A small Add New Channel icon in the home screen's lower left corner lets you easily add new stations. And if you already have a Pandora account, all your previous stations populate to the Pre app once you sign in.

And you can "vote up" or "vote down" songs to let the app know whether or not you want to hear more similar content--and skip up to six songs per hour, per station.

To find Pandora Radio, search the Palm Pre App Catalog for "radio."

WHERE for Palm Pre: Local Search Done Right

WHERE for the Pre is the only local search application you'll ever need. The app uses your Pre's internal GPS to detect your location and then delivers a wide variety of local search results.

For example, you can employ WHERE to find nearby movies and movie times. You can quickly query business listings via a built-in YellowPages.com widget. Detailed weather reports for single days and extended forecasts are available. A Starbucks section helps ensure you're never without a latte when in need. Local traffic can be found in the Traffic section. And the Yelp.com integration means you can instantly read reviews from Yelp.

The app has a fairly detailed News section, where you can pick from U.S. news, entertainment, sports, technology, odd and local happenings and query Microsoft's new Bing search engine.

You can also communicate with other WHERE users a la Twitter-style status updates on the "WHERE Wall," though you have to create a separate account to do so.

To find the app, search the Palm Pre App Catalog for "Where."

Speed Brain for Pre:

The Palm Pre doesn't ship with any games, but thankfully, App Catalog already has a few third-party options listed. One that caught my eye is Speed Brain, which is a very basic matching game that claims to "provide a mental workout that will help you quickly understand information and react to it."

I'm not so sure of the validity of that statement, but Speed Brain is fun. The concept is simple: The game shows you a shape on the main screen, when you're ready to start, you tap the screen and another similar or identical shape appears. If the shape is the same, you click the Match button. If not, you tap No Match. The object of the game is get more and more correct answers in the 45 seconds you're allotted.

The game keeps track of your high scores and even gives you a "percentile" rating so you can see where you stack up against other players. And after time, Speed Brain creates a "Brain Profile" that lets you track your progress and compare performance and check percentile data.

This story, "Eight Top Free Downloads for Palm Pre" was originally published by CIO.

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