Palm's latest WebOS head-scratcher:<br /> A featured app for featured apps

Palm's latest app, Featured Apps, promotes applications in an attractive, polished wrapper we wish would replace the App Catalog. But it also feels redundant.

There's a lot we like about Palm's WebOS platform, but when it comes to the App Catalog, there are some decisions that leave us scratching our heads.

The latest is Palm's new free program, called Featured Apps, that rotates through a roster of "great handpicked apps each week" on U.S. phones in the Pre and Pixi family.

The app certainly looks good, and it's polished enough that we wish Palm would hurry up and replace its entire spartan App Catalog with the Featured Apps design.

However, with a channel dedicated to EA Games, and with other megabrands showcased within other sections, Featured Apps also emanates the aroma of sponsorship.

Here's the kicker: Palm promised us in a blog post that Featured Apps would most definitely not itself become a featured app within its own application.

Can you guess what happens next? While the app doesn't prompt you to download it from within its own confines, we did spot it in the lederboard of highlighted programs that runs across the top of the App Catalog.

Lo and behold, look what we found. Contrary to what Palm promised us on its blog, it is featuring its Featured Apps app.

The presence of Featured Apps within the Featured Apps ribbon only solidifies the semblance of redundancy on Palm's part and fills us with a deep, ironic sigh that the company, which is being acquired by HP, is striving so hard to bring excitement and interest to a lackluster storefront.

With any luck, Featured Apps will turn out to be dry run for a brighter, more useful, and easier-to-user app catalog for future version of WebOS.

About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.