There have been on-device software stores for several years on different Windows Mobile devices, but these were just store front links to Handango. Apple really kicked it up a notch with the Apple App Store and then Google followed suit with the Android Market. Today, there is a bit of buzz around the Palm Software Store that is available for Windows Mobile and Palm OS devices (thanks for the heads-up TreoCentral). Don't get too excited about the Palm App Store (will Apple let them keep this name) because it is a simply 28KB file that just adds an icon that serves as a hyperlink to the online Palm Software Store powered by PocketGear and is no different than the Sprint Store or AT&T Mall software links that have been on devices for years.
You have to admit it was a nice try by Palm to capitalize on the buzz around an application store for devices, but we weren't faked out by this. You could just as easily get this same experience by visiting online store fronts hosted by a number of different mobile enthusiast websites. It would be faster for you to browse online on a PC and find the applications, but I suppose there may be some utility for some people to have this hyperlink if your carrier hasn't already provided one. I didn't test to see if you can buy and download directly from your device, but you better be able to if they want to sell applications.
There are rumors of an application store coming to Windows Mobile in the future, but I highly doubt Palm would dedicate resources to a full-on application store for its aging Palm OS given that the Palm Centro is the primary device running that OS and those owners aren't really the target market for 3rd party applications.
Given that Palm is actually promoting this hyperlink as an application store worries me a bit about what announcement we will see at CES in a few weeks. If they think this is news, then we may be severely disappointed in January too. Let's hope they do show the Nova OS, it blows us away, and they can get devices out in the first half of 2009. Again, I still have my doubts given Palm's recent history and this non-story application store doesn't help with my impressions.