Friday, May 8, 2009

Why the Palm Pre may knock the iPhone off it's throne.

Unless you've been under a rock (or you're my wife). Then you know all about the upcoming Palm Pre smart phone poised to knock the iPhone off it's throne and revive one of the companies that put the smart in smart phone.

The iPhone is no doubt one of the best phones out. I recall early on I was totally against the iPhone and even told my friends not to buy it. I told them it was a bunch of hype and that Windows Mobile was where it's at! Boy was I wrong. One day I decided to go to the AT&T store and try one out. I was sold as soon as I launched Safari and got a real web experience complete with gestures to make browsing the web on a phone actually useful. We can thank Apple for finally bringing a real web experience to cell phone users and for getting everyone else to follow suit. I've had the original iPhone and now the 3G iPhone. We (my iPhone and I) have a love/hate relationship. I love many things, and hate others (i.e. no copy and paste, though it's finally a feature being added in the iPhone 3.0 update slated for June). Then I got tired of Apple and their dictatorship with the App store. Limiting what apps were available and what those apps are allowed to do.

I decided to switch back to Windows Mobile going for an HTC Touch HD. But you know what? I ended up going right back to the iPhone. Why? Well the experience on the iPhone is smooth, the Apps are useful and gorgeous, and Windows Mobile is outdated compared to the iPhone OS. Plain and simple. So why can't a single smart phone maker combine all the things we want into one phone, and one OS. To make a killer phone (something to compete with the iPhone) you need to talk to people, get a list of needs and wants and combine them into a nice package and call it the Palm Pre?

Maybe. The Palm Pre takes the best of Windows Mobile and the iPhone and puts them together in a nicely integrated and polished package. The Palm Pre has a touch screen and a QWERTY keyboard for those business users or chronic texters that must have a keyboard. It also has all the touch screen goodness of an iPhone, and like the iPhone has a capacitive touch screen instead of a resistive touch screen. That is what makes the iPhone touch screen so responsive and smooth. It has a slick WebOS interface. It multitasks (settle down kids), a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a replaceable battery. Hey Apple, why couldn't you make a 3.5mm headphone jack and replaceable battery? Oh yeah I forgot, you like to stick it to the consumer every chance you get.

Another feature that stands out (and is often talked about) are the unobtrusive notifications built into WebOS. Basically when you're working in/on something with the phone, any alert, call, email, or instant message will not interrupt you, but rather pop up in a small window beneath what you're working on . This keeps you focused on what you're doing instead of taking over the screen with a call or alert. Good job Palm. There's nothing more irritating than surfing the web on your phone and being kicked off the web because some jerk decided to call you on your cell phone. How dare they call you on a cell phone who does that?

From every video and news report I've seen, I'm impressed. I think this is the first real iPhone contender. I think many have tried to develop a phone that could really compete with the iPhone but failed. Some did miserably, and some did ok. But when you're running something like rusty, clunky, Windows Mobile behind the scenes, it really doesn't matter what interface you slap over top of it it's still just Windows Mobile...I'm talking to you HTC!

Windows Mobile is behind the curve and is losing ground daily. Android in my opinion has been a disappointment, I think the hardware isn't compelling enough. There's a lot to be worked out. Symbian? I don't review Symbian. Apple iPhone OS is the one to beat at this time and I think the Palm Pre might just do it. If they don't beat out Apple they'll surely give them a run for the money. Only time will tell. A key part of making the Palm Pre a success is the application development. Palm has released their Palm Pre SDK called Mojo. Let's see if developers take to the Pre like they did to the iPhone.

And stay tuned for more blogging from Derrick.

Some Palm Pre highlights and specifications.

Operating system
Palm® webOS™

Network specs

3.1-inch touch screen
24-bit color
320x480 resolution
HVGA display

Physical QWERTY keyboard

Microsoft Outlook® email with Microsoft® Direct Push Technology
POP3/IMAP (Yahoo, Gmail, AOL, etc)

Integrated IM, SMS, and MMS

Built-in GPS

Digital camera
3 megapixel camera
LED flash
extended depth of field

Ambient light

Media formats supported
Audio Formats: MP3, AAC, AAC+, AMR, QCELP, WAV

Video Formats: MPEG-4, H.263, H.264
Image Formats: GIF, Animated GIF, JPEG, PNG, BMP

Wireless connectivity
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g with WPA, WPA2, 801.1x authentication
Bluetooth® 2.1 + EDR with A2DP stereo Bluetooth support

8GB of user storage (~7.4GB user available)
USB mass storage support

Phone as laptop modem
Bluetooth tethering

MicroUSB connector with USB 2.0 Hi-Speed

Headphone jack
3.5mm stereo

Palm® Touchstone™charging dock

Width: 59.5mm (2.3 inches)
Height: 100.5mm (3.9 inches)
Thickness: 16.95mm (0.67 inches)
Weight: 135 grams (4.76 ounces)

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