Eight Top Free Downloads for Palm Pre

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The Pre, Palm's first device to run the brand new webOS mobile operating system, just hit the U.S. market, but application developers are already working studiously away on Pre apps to populate the company's equally new app store, the Pre "App Catalog."

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Right now, App Catalog pickings are relatively slim -- at least in comparison to Apple's iTunes App Store or RIM's BlackBerry App World. But that doesn't mean there's no quality Pre software to be had. On the contrary; I found eight great free Pre apps that I know you'll love.

I've got apps for baseball fanatics, music lovers, movie buffs, social networking hounds, constant travelers and more. Keep moving for my list of hand-picked free Pre apps. And if you still seek more Pre-goodness, read, "Palm Pre Tips & Tricks: Killer Keyboard Shortcuts, Touch-Gestures and More".

Sporting News for Pre: Everything Baseball

If you're a Palm Pre owner and a baseball fan, you need to check out Sporting News Pro Baseball. I'm an avid Red Sox fan, and I'm constantly searching for new ways to stay up to date with my team's various happenings. I'm also a connoisseur of fine mobile applications--I write weekly free BlackBerry apps stories. And I can honestly say I've yet to find another baseball app for any platform that I like more than Sporting News Pro Baseball for Pre.

The free app not only provides the basics like league-wide scores and statistics, users have easy, one-click access to news from around the American and National leagues, as well as team-specific stats and rosters, schedules and standings. You can even create your own fantasy baseball team within the app.

Navigation is a breeze, thanks to well-designed pages and intuitive controls. And marking certain teams as "favorites" brings scores and other information on those teams directly to the app's landing page for quick and easy access.

To find Sporting News Pro Baseball, search the Palm Pre App Catalog for "baseball."

LinkedIn for Palm Pre: Get Connected on the Go

LinkedIn is one of the most popular business-oriented social networks, and the LinkedIn for Pre app gives you access to most all of its basic features from wherever you have wireless connectivity.

The main LinkedIn for Pre landing screen displays all of your "Connections," which you can scroll through by dragging a finger up or down on the device's display. Click on a connection and you can view individual profiles, which include information like geographical region, industry, number of connections, work experience, education and current company listings, as well as a "Message button" that lets you quick compose messages to contacts.

A tiny Inbox icon in the bottom right corner lets you check your inbox for new messages with a single click. And an Add New Contact icon in the lower left corner on the app's main screen means you can quickly send out invitations to connect with new contacts.

It's also worth noting, that no such BlackBerry app exists--I honestly have no idea why--so Pre owners have a leg up on BlackBerry users in that regard.

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

mobile by Citysearch for Pre: Don't Leave Home Without It

Frequent travelers and weekend road-trippers alike will love mobile by Citysearch for the Palm Pre. The free app employ's the Pre's built-in GPS to detect your location--unless you'd rather set it yourself--and then serve up location-aware search results for restaurants, bars, shopping centers, hotels, spas and much more.

In each search category, you can choose from Recommended and Nearby listings. And if you click on an item of interest, the app displays a variety of new options, including contact info, addresses, hours of operation and a message from the establishment's owner, where available. By tapping the sides of the screen, you scroll through other listings. And you can also read reviews from additional users, leave your own evaluations, show locations in Google Maps and share listings via e-mail, text or Twitter.

Many entries include a photo, as well, so you can get a look at the property. And bookmarks enable you to save listings that catch your eye for future use.

To find mobile by Citysearch, search the Palm Pre App Catalog for "Citysearch."

Flixster for Pre: Your Movie Theatre Companion

Flixster is a Pre-owning, movie buff's best friend. The free application provides everything you need to find nearby theatres, movie information, listings and reviews. And you can even buy tickets via MovieTickets.com directly from the app.

Flixster delivers location-aware search results for movie show times, along with descriptions of popular box office films and theatre information, with maps, so you can find your way to the movies wherever you may roam. A Browse DVDs section lets you query a database of more than 50,000 films on DVD, according to Flixster. The Upcoming Movies section lets you know what's in store for the coming weeks and months. And reviews from both Flixster.com and RottenTomatoes.com are available without ever leaving the app.

Flixster search lets you look for films by title, director or lead actors. And the app's navigation it intuitive; a nav bar gives quick access to current Box Office Movies, Nearby Theatres, Upcoming Movies, DVDs and Search from any screen within Flixster for Pre.

You can also watch a number of trailers, though the ones I checked out were poor quality.

To find Flixster, search the Palm Pre App Catalog for "movies."

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