Even with U2's Bono on its side, Palm (NASDAQ:PALM) can't seem to elevate.

New smartphone market-share numbers from comScore show that, of the major U.S. mobile platform suppliers, only Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) gained during the fourth quarter. Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) declined, but Palm was the biggest loser:

Supplier

Sept. 2009*

Dec. 2009*

Change

Research In Motion

42.6%

41.6%

(1.0)

Apple

24.1%

25.3%

1.2

Microsoft

19.0%

18.0%

(1.0)

Palm

8.3%

6.1%

(2.2)

Google

2.5%

5.2%

2.7

Source: comScore MobiLens.
*Share of U.S. smartphone devices.

I'll grant that a 2.2-point slide doesn't sound that bad. But before you brush off this news, consider:

  • Palm only had 8% of the market in September, and
  • The slide occurred in three freaking months.

Do users think so little of the Pre, an interesting device whose webOS is undeniably good? "Good" apparently isn't good enough. An analyst at Piper Jaffray recently told Barron's that Verizon (NYSE:VZ) has experienced only "modest" sell-through of Palm's latest Pre and Pixi smartphones.

Looking at the table above, I wonder whether apps are the problem. Apple boasts more than 140,000 apps for the iPhone. Google's Android may be a distant second to that, but there's no doubting the developer interest in the platform.

Where are all the Pre developers? Writing code for the iPhone and Android, apparently. There were only 1,000 Pre apps as of this writing, Webzine Phones Review reports. My guess is that users want more variety.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. Do you think Palm is on the right path with the Pre? Or is the company's developer program badly in need of an overhaul? Make your voice heard using the comments box below.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He had stock and options positions in Apple and a stock position in Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy is wishing away the snowpocalypse by shopping online for swimwear.