Friday, April 24, 2009

The Palm Pre: What it is and our thoughts

Palm was known for making great PDA devices. But over the years, Palm has been lacking in its OS, in terms of modernism, style, and functionality. Well, Palm's new smartphone, the Pre (OS coding headed by Apple's head iPhone coder former Jon Rubinstein) may change that. Here is why you may want this phone.

The first thing you will notice is the cool hardware and looks. The Pre has an "egg" type body. On the front, it has a 3.1" LCD touchscreen. The touch area is extended to below the screen near the "light ball", which is also the home button.It also lights up when you make gestures on the touch area below the screen. The whole face of the phone slides up to reveal a full QUERTY keyboard.

In terms of specs, it runs on Sprint's EVDO Rev. A 3G network, 2.1 Bluetooth, a microUSB slot, accelerometer (for switching screen to landscape) and 8GB of storage. While there is no GSM version of the phone to run on other networks, one is in the works. (Phew! T-Mo users like me, Rejoice!)

Of course this phone sounds good, but is the OS any good? Yes, the Pre's webOS is really good. In fact, it may just beat Google's Android OS for its style, ease of use, and well... awesomeness! You can also run multiple apps at the same time with the webOS which is wanted by many people. You can basically see all you're windows in an "Expose" kind of way. You can see this in the video below. There are also many apps that will help you stay connected, like Facebook, Youtube (possibly), a Cloud email service, and an internet browser just to name a few.

Compared to the iPhone

  • In my opinion, it is not necessary for iPhone and/or AT&T users to buy this phone, unless they really want to switch to Sprint. This is because the Pre offers everything the iPhone offers. Sprint users should definately dish out for this phone.
  • It has a Developer SDK that allows devs to make many apps for it. This means that Pre has the potential to have a successful app store like the one on the iPhone.
  • Another advantage to the Pre is it full QUERTY Keyboard which allows very easy typing. iPhone's keyboard is a typo magnet.
  • The iPhone is an Apple product. What this means is that Apple products usually sell better than its competitors, especially in the MP3 and mobile phone department. If the Pre lives up to its hype, it should sell in great quantities and gain popularity over the iPhone.
  • The Pre's ability to run apps in the background is great, especially if you are a multi-tasker. Now it can be easy to chat on AIM and look up LMAO on Google.
  • The iPhone's OS seems more quicker and responsive than the Pre's webOS. This should not effect your decision in buying the Pre, because it can easily be fixed via firmware update.
  • The iPhone is iTunes compatible. This means that it may be harder (or easier depending on if you buy songs/videos on iTunes or downloading off P2P networks) to sync media to your iPhone, than to the Pre.
  • You will find that scrolling on the Pre is similar to the iPhone's scrolling. The scrolling on the Pre is far smoother than scrolling on an iPhone, but the iPhone's scrolling seems more responsive.

Pre=iPhone Killer?

Is the Pre the iPhone killer? Well...its mixed. I cannot say for sure if the os is good or not because I have not personally used it. From all the videos I've seen, it can be slow at times, but all the videos are pre-launch. So does this mean webOS and the Pre will actually lose the "mobile war". For now, iPhone is in the lead, and the game is growing. webOS also has to compete with Cupcake (Android), RIM's Blackberry OS, and Windows Mobile 6.5 (or 7). This game is just getting started. With all the OS revisions coming, and some time to fix some bugs, only time will tell how the Pre stacks up with the competition.

The Palm Pre will be released (maybe) by May 16 exclusively on Sprint's 3G Network for $199 with their "Simply Everything" plan that is about $99.99 a month.

Its also worth noting that it can be charged virtually wirelessly, via the Touchstone charger. Its basically a "flat knob" hooked up to a power source. (Shown Above) All you have to do is rest the Pre on the top of the Touchstone and it will charge. It may cost you around $70. You will also have to swap the Pre's glossy battery cover for a matte one for the charging to work.