An app from local newspaper the Manchester Evening News has topped the UK Palm Pre app store sales chart in its first week of release.
The app’s launch follows the success of an iPhone app in October which the paper says has now been downloaded 16,000 times. A Blackberry app is now next in line for launch.
While the Palm Pre app’s success, reported by How-Do, can rightfully be celebrated by the Manchester Evening News, the fact that an app providing news from one local area can rise to the top of the charts does highlight how poorly the Palm Pre has performed in the UK thus far.
A report by Ewan MacLeod on Mobile Industry Review last month claimed that the device had sold a shockingly low 220 units in Ireland since its October launch and Ewan wrote “My source tells me that the Pre is equally as successful at o2 UK”.
With geeks having largely shunned the device, Palm has recently gone on a more consumer-focused promotional campaign. PR events have been held around the country in the past fortnight where non-tech journalists got a chance to get to grips with the Pre and were given a free handset.
At the same time, posters quoting a review calling the phone “The hottest gadget on the planet” have been displayed around the country. That review was from T3 magazine in March last year. Almost a year on, calling it the “Hottest Gadget on the Planet” seems a little disingenuous.
With the iPhone now available on most UK mobile networks and Android getting an increasing mindshare among ‘non-techy’ mobile users, Palm will likely continue to struggle to sell the Pre in vast amounts, even if many users of the device are perfectly happy with it.
That limited market does at least mean that apps with minority or localised appeal, such as Manchester Evening News, have an opportunity to make a big splash in a small pond.