Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Palm Pre: Real iPhone Competition?

Every phone manufacturer on the planet has been working overtime to compete with the iPhone since its launch, but few get it right. Let's face it: it's tough to compete with. Anyone that wants to compete needs to provide not just the cool functions the iPhone offers but something "extra" to make it stand out.

Enter the Palm Pre. This upcoming device by Palm offers way more than you'd expect from an iPhone alternative, not least of which being a full slide-out QWERTY keypad. Smartphone fanatics who've been hesitant to make the leap to the virtual QWERTY you have to use on most touch screen phones will love being able to type on a REAL keyboard without sacrificing the functionality and fun that a touch screen allows. It adds a bit of bulk depth-wise, but at 4.76 ounces it won't weigh down your pocket (to compare, the iPhone 3G weighs just slightly less: 4.7oz). It also runs on EVDO Rev-A, meaning you'll be able to connect at higher speeds in more locations - AND, you can use it as a modem (AKA "tethering")! We are hopeful that it will be compatible with the Cradlepoint routers to let people take full advantage of this detail.

What about the performance? Palm has made HUGE improvements for the Pre as compared to previous Palm devices. To start, it runs on Palm's well-received and much-anticipated new webOS - think full integration of all your online contacts, seamless transitions from instant messaging on your PC to your Pre, and universal search functions. The browser is also improved - forget about the old Blazer browser you saw in the older Palms; you'll be zooming and scrolling in both landscape and portrait modes. Finally, the powerful TI OMAP CPU ensures a smooth experience whether you're emailing, browsing, or opening a Word doc.

Of course, it's also got the "fun" factor. The Pre has great media capabilities (see full list of supported audio/video formats on EVDOinfo) and 8GB of built-in storage (sadly, there is NO memory card slot! Perhaps a future model will offer that?). There is even support for applications.

We have to wait until Springtime to see if the Pre lives up to the hype, but the full keyboard and Rev-A capabilities have us excited already. If it is compatible with 3G routers and has a port to add an external antenna, we'll REALLY be jazzed!

Key features:
  • EVDO Rev-A
  • Tether-capable
  • 3.0 megapixel camera
  • WiFi
  • 8GB of internal storage
  • Full slide-out QWERTY keypad

Check out the full list of features on EVDOinfo