Seven features that make the Palm Pre better than the iPhone

palmpre.jpg

There was a glow on the face of every Palm employee we saw today, and deservedly so: the new Palm Pre is a hail mary product. It’s probably going to save the company.

And it is, in many ways, better than the iPhone.

Brownlee and I got a little guided tour of a Pre by a beaming executive this evening. (We filmed it; Xeni, Derek, and Wes from the Boing Boing video team are working on it as I write.) But I’m so excited about the product that I wanted to share my enthusiasm before I forgot all the details about why I am so into it in the first place.

It feels small and pleasant in the hand. Much smaller than the iPhone, but inexplicably the screen seems big enough. Part of that is the lovely interface that Palm has created that echos a little bit of the old Palm OS in font choice and such, but feels wholly new.

It’s a little bit longer than a Treo when the keyboard is extended, but the curving bit makes it seem a nice size.

It runs Linux. SQLlite is the built-in database. Developers will have to use “web technologies” to make most of the apps, but it sounds like there may still be ways to use closer-to-the-metal languages.

The animations and interface are gorgeous. They are in many ways busier than the iPhone’s animations, and clearly largely cribbed from the bouncy, lively way the iPhone OS moves around, but they look really nice when switching from app to app.

It has the coolest menu bar I’ve ever seen. The touchpad actually extends about half an inch below the screen, and to bring up the ever-present menu bar, you push up from below to smoosh it onto the screen, where it rests under your thumb like a Gummi worm. It looks really great and really useful. It is the first clear “impress your friends” feature.

Integration with Facebook and Gmail looks top notch. Here’s the part that got me: if you choose to, you can make your contacts list pull live from Facebook, including their selected profile picture, which means every time your friends call you their image will be their latest Facebook profile picture. Not a huge deal, of course, but a wonderful touch.

There will be an official app store, but you can still load other apps. Probably. Palm isn’t quite sure how syncing with a PC will work, but it sounds like you’ll be able to load apps from a variety of sources as well as buying them over-the-air from the Palm application store.

It’s got multitouch, Apple patents be damned. We asked if they were afraid of Apple’s claimed protectionist patents for multitouch. They would only respond with a confident smile.

What a pleasing thing it is to see a company that had been all but counted out of the smartphone game come storming back into what I suspect will be the lead.

Update: Oh, one more thing: It has system-wide cut-and-paste.

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81 Responses to Seven features that make the Palm Pre better than the iPhone

  1. Anonymous says:

    I have been waiting for a phone like this! I always wanted a Palm but could never justify the utility. Now I can have both with seamless interface to contacts, calendar, e-mail, etc. I am really looking forward to this phone! I do not think one carrier is superior to another. I have had very good customer service from Sprint and am really looking forward to purchasing this phone as soon as it is available. Thank you PALM and Sprint!

  2. tweaked says:

    Now go to the Palm website and look at the charger. No cords? Mysterious magnetized gizmos that ‘automatically orient’ the phone in the proper position to charge?

    I know it might be glitchy and isn’t really ‘wireless power,’ but all I can think is…. WANT!

  3. Nerkles says:

    1) Palm hasn’t updated the Mac version of their software in YEARS, so I have zero trust in them, and nothing but unpleasant memories. As the IT Mgr at an all-Mac shop, their utter lack of support was a thorn in my side for years until all my users got sick of it and bought iPhones. Palm is going to need more than a clever phone to earn back the trust of Mac users who have been nothing but burned by them for years on end. With people switching to Mac in droves and still no Mac support to speak of, Palm remains hopelessly out of touch.

    2) Can I sync my iTunes library to it? Nope.

    I’ll keep my iPhone, thank you very much.

  4. Marsha Keeffer says:

    Some shortcomings, but it looks incredibly appealing…maybe, just maybe.

  5. Anonymous says:

    It is truly amusing to read that the Pre is an “iPhone copycat.” Apple’s genius is bringing the GUI for handheld devices to a new level. Palm’s genius is building on the work that Apple did and raising the bar to a new level. Just as the iPhone isn’t a Windows Mobile copycat, the Pre isn’t an iPhone copycat. Just one example: the first time you use the iPhone for GPS navigation and need to look up a contact you’ll find out why the Pre design is a step ahead. Apple will be forced to play catch-up. And that isn’t meant to be a slur against Apple, but they will have to respond. Users are not going to put up with the restriction of running only one app at a time. But that’s the beauty of competition.

  6. Icelandic says:

    I’m already bored–it’s another iphone copycat. Apple should have demonstrated clearly–to be a contender in this game–you need to lunge ahead. anticipate what’s coming, what’s possible. This device is already passé. I am not an iphone lover at all. But give me a phone that packs HD video and photo “heat,” does wifi, serves as a modem for my laptop, 3 or 4G, a gig plus of space, generous screen while maintaining small size, a touchable screen with elegant GUI, yet normal, tactile phone keypad for effecient T9 thumb texting, GPS, 3 party app capable (no itune stranglehold to pay up), high sound quality–let’s face it–this device has not been invented yet. Another nice-to-have would be skype of other live video conferencing–how much is that a leap really–what gives? hurry up and invent it geniuses! Sony Ericsson where are you? Stop letting AT&T brand all the cool features out of commission and undermining your edge. Start by making your powerful hand held gaming gadgets into cell phones and cameras–people will flock!

  7. TheChickenAndTheRice says:

    Isn’t this like saying that an amazing concept car is better than a production car? It feels like a phony comparison that’s designed to rile-up Apple fans instead of actually inform your readers.

  8. Stephen says:

    #48:
    “Because there’s a difference between running localized customized versions of webapps on the phone itself and calling a website an application.”

    No there’s not. There is absolutely no difference. The files that constitute a Webapp can all be transmitted by HTTP. So the only possible difference is in the speed and quality of the environment. And no one knows the speed and quality of the Pre environment at this point, unless they are a developer under NDA. The iPhone had the best mobile environment by a mile at the time of its release. We have yet to see if the Pre environment beats the iPhone environment at the time of the Pre’s release.

  9. the_most_annoying_man_on_the_internet says:

    There’s a exciting reason why it’s going to be sexy under the hood: Palm bought many of the BeOS engineers back in the days. Expect good things.

  10. acb says:

    @13: I suspect that the “if you know CMS, HTML, XML, you can write an app” thing was just marketing-speak. Given the data-driven way it works (aggregating contact data from mail, corporate directories and Facebook, for example), there’s no way to implement that using what’s essentially glorified web widgets. That sounds rather object-oriented to me, and JS is a pretty poor language for OO programming.

  11. ghostofcain says:

    I’m in, just waiting for the GSM version to make an appearance, my centro is due replacement and I can barely sleep waiting for this to arrive… wow I am really am such a geek

  12. Anonymous says:

    Reason #8 it’s better than the iPhone (really reason #1, IMHO) — physical keyboard buttons. Surely I’m not the only one with thumbs too fat and patience too short to deal with that ridiculous on-screen keyboard on the iPhone?

  13. Takuan says:

    I CANNOT believe that handle wasn’t already taken.
    My compliments.

  14. Tom Hale says:

    When will this phone be released? Cause it looks like it may be the next “better than an iPhone,” phone. I just bought an HTC Fuze, which cost about the same as the newest iPhone – I still can’t make myself buy an Apple product. I love my Fuze, but the iPhone’s interface is Soooo nice. Hopefully HTC will release an update to make its touch program, touchflow, work a little better soon.

  15. Anonymous says:

    “Palm isn’t quite sure how syncing with a PC will work”

    After all this hype, we read this. It’s like the fine print on that insurance policy your next of kin failed to read.

    Surely Palm understands that their legacy sync sucks. Unless they’re just selling another who-cares-about-the-phone entertainment gadget… then sync really doesn’t matter all that much.

    Meanwhile, I’ll stick with my HTC Touch Pro. A little sluggish, and the UI isn’t as pretty, but it does the job.

  16. Patrick Dodds says:

    That “instant on” thing that is referred to by Shelby Davis above – that’s the thing: once you are used to that, everything else is that tiny bit irritating from the outset. Switch between apps? Instant. Off? Instant. It doesn’t sound like much but after some use, you don’t want it any other way.

  17. Anonymous says:

    It’s funny how every new phone that is “better than the iPhone” looks and acts so similar to the iPhone. Some of the comments above jump on the “anyone who talks nice about Apple is a koolaide drinking zombie fanboy” band wagon. Truth is none of these phones would exist if Apple hadn’t challenged people’s thinking. Take the competitors products before and after the release of the iPhone and put an iPhone between the two and the influence is undeniable. A parallel is Audi’s TT. Take a photo of the Nissan Z car before and after the TT and put the TT In the middle. It’s obvious. Does that mean the TT is always better than the Z? No, just that the Z was a great car that was visually stagnant and boring. The 350Z looks like the love child of a late 60′s muscle car and a TT, that has grown up to kick dad’s butt. Now it’s up to Nissan to keep improving without waiting for Audi. The people who appreciate the iPhone’s features will appreciate innovations from other companies, as long as they actually innovate, rather than just immitate.

  18. Anonymous says:

    So 6 of those the iPhone does/has minus the fact the Pre runs Linux – Which is going to be a set back for their “App Store” simply because – lets face it – no one codes for Linux unless they are crunching databases. Where were the 7 things that it did better than the iPhone?

    History has proven 1 thing my friend… The iPhone is currently the best phone on the market – It may have it’s flaws but a lot less so than any other phone out there.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Checked out the Palm Pre info pages that have been posted so far by Palm, and it looks as though they’re leveraging new DOM and JavaScript features of HTML 5, including structured client-side storage (which uses SQL syntax and special JavaScript objects/methods to access this client-side store). Go see http://developer.palm.com/ for more info — there’s no “native” API, you use a JSON-based message bus to communicate with built-in services on the device. Not horrible, but I wouldn’t want to code a performance critical app (e.g., a game) using their Mojo framework.

    As for who said that JavaScript isn’t really good for OO programming, I would have to say that’s not a widely held belief. It’s certainly true that JS enforces a particular style of OO programming which not everyone will like, and it is sort of limiting in some cases. (Inheritance in JS is something of a pain, and I don’t like how it is done.) But Ruby fans, and fans of other dynamic languages, seem to like JavaScript for its dynamic features.

  20. randomcat says:

    So how’s the web browsing? Does it support anything higher than Flash 7? In other words, what we really want to know is, can we watch BBTV on it?

  21. dgsinclair says:

    I have to ask. A2DP support (wireless stereo bluetooth)? This is the glaring omission of the iphone, and why i’m still suffering the blackberry!

  22. LightningRose says:

    And best of all, it’s not an effing Apple product!

  23. Digital Artz says:

    Just like Eve I will hold on to my apple.
    Wait till there new Iphone arrives with a camera
    as good as the old Leica was in analog days.

  24. Anonymous says:

    sprint really betting big time with the pre, but they didn’t do so well with the instinct when spent $200 million on promoting it.

    Sprint is famous for spending big bucks on advertisements, but i seriously hope they will do well, at least folks at http://www.PalmPreForum.org spent sleepless nights try to find out the lastest and greatest info about the Pre!

  25. Kevin says:

    Finally Palm has made something all Palm fans have been waiting for since Treo 600/650!, Palm Pre is really amazing – its specs are very impressive This is the best phone I have ever seen!

  26. gobo says:

    As a pretty happy iPhone user, man, this makes me giddy. Not because I want a Pre now, but because Apple gave the whole mobile computing industry a shock to the jibblies, and all of a sudden people are being INNOVATIVE again. A stagnant industry’s been electrified. Hello, 2009!

  27. strider_mt2k says:

    Wow.
    I’m surprised!

    It DOES seem like an awesome piece.

    Maybe Palm won’t self-destruct after all?

  28. Nuwan Tharaka says:

    I think it’s another turning poin of mankind.It’s agreat work.

  29. Anonymous says:

    It’s funny how the iPhone copied almost everything it can do from already existing phones. It just polished things quite a bit. All PDA phones have had a web browser since 2000. All PDA phones have been able to play music/video since 2000. The iPhone isn’t a major new invention, it’s just a bunch of innovations, many of which I don’t find useful.

    Don’t tout the iPhone like it is the first phone to do anything, because it’s basically a baby step ahead only on a few things (things I don’t even value).

  30. Anonymous says:

    I hear the GSM version of the palm pre is supposed to come out this summer. Is this true?

  31. cookEgawd says:

    Waitaminute… so you’re saying something is better than an apple product? Which is to say something consisting of more good than something which passed through Steve’s mighty hand and was therefore blessed? Sacrilege!

  32. tronixnews says:

    Getting this phone is definitely on the agenda for 2009.

  33. Krazii Kat rawrrr says:

    Today I went to the Store and Got both the Iphone 3Gs and the Palm Pre and i already have a sidekick so as off now i have 3 phones.
    All the 3 phones have pros and cons. And I am debating which one to keep in the end cause there is only 1 I can use. (please dont yell at me if i stated some things wrong, its my first day and i am just speaking from a new users perspective)

    Palm Pre the problem is that the keypads are way to small. it is a pain in the tush to type. there is not T9 so you have to know how to spell or else you would make a fool of your self. It is also annoying that when the screen is on standby mode i have to slide the phone down and up again to restart it. The phone is a little bit slow when opening to applications and switching between texts and ims. I like how it incorporates facebook contacts into my contacts but i hate how i can not delete people i dont really know and my aim buddies got synced too. I have over 200 buddies and i really dont need their username on my contact list taking up space. The Pre is nice to hold but the bottom edge is too sharp and can hurt. Also after typing on the Pre for more than half hour you thumbs stards to hurt because it is hard to type with accuracy. But I do love the multitasking ability, this is the biggest thing.

    I like the iphone in that it doesn’t look like a cheap pieve of plastic. But i do hate how slow it reacts when i want to turn to landslide view. when i put my contacts it, sometime it would go landslide but when i want it up, it won’t go up. That was so frustrating today. Also it is hard to type in my opinion with the touch screen. Especially if you are trying to type fast with out looking. With a keyboard you can type and talk and look at the person you are talking to, you can also text in class without getting caught if you have a keyboard. With the iphone you get caught txting cause I had the 3G before and i didn’t get caught with the sidekick. I like how the iphone gives out words you might be typing but its a drag when i want to type ass and it becomes as and F*ck becoms duck. like really? come on. Also to download the free applications I have to sign up on itunes store account. i dont have a credit card yet so having to buy a gift card just for this pisses me off so much. BUt i do like how fast and sensitive the touch screen is when i slide from page to page thats a plus plus. Also the Iphone has video taking which is great and <3.

    In general I really like the pre except the typing is just too annoying. I also think the Iphone is so over rated. I am paying $120 for a month and that includes 5000 weekends and nights. 450 whenever minutes, unlimited txt and web. but with the pre, i pay $80, get 450 whenever minute, unlimited text, and web usage and my weekends and nights are free starting at 7pm which is really a great deal. especially since i am not exactly rich and am paying for my own phone bill.

    Once Again I really like the palm. I just hope they would create like the Ultimate phone! I really like the sidekick the way the keyboard is. I can like for seriously type faster than i do on keyboard which is amazing, the hold is also confrontable and you can switch the cases to whatever you want to personalize it. and I also love how you can use control keys to jump from screen to screen in the matter of a second as oppose to waiting in the iphone and pre. It also has an application for email. If Palm or Apple or T mobil could like combine all three phones in one i think it would be like the ultimate phone. I wish so much that the sidekick is touch screen cause I really love the keyboard. But stince i have shitty service I have to now choose between Iphone 3GS and Pre.

    I will make my decision in 15 days since i have a 30 day trial and i can refund the phones. wish me luck everyone <3

  34. RobDubya says:

    Now, just make is UMTS/HSPA, add a MicroSD slot and a front-facing camera for video calls(*) and it’ll be the phone I’ve been waiting for!

    * I honestly don’t see the problem with this. I’ve had a video-calling UMTS phone for over four years now and it’s about damn time the US manufacturers caught up!

  35. Chris L says:

    That multitouch patent does indeed seem ridiculous when it is obviously going to become a standard within a few generations of handheld computing.

    I’m sure by then I’ll be able to afford one of these wizzbang contraptions…

  36. Lonin says:

    And apparently coming out right when my Verizon contract ends. I think I can safely say I’ll be a Sprint customer this year.

  37. theawesomerobot says:

    Someone took a defibrillator to Palm, and they’re alive and kicking once again! (Wish I bought some stock a few weeks ago, oh hindsight)

  38. dculberson says:

    Hmm, you mean I might not switch away from Sprint soon? Ack!

  39. Anonymous says:

    still can’t get away from the dang sliders -physical moving parts and flexing wires that can break down

    and keypads – with places where dirt and grime hide, and what makes them think that I’d prefer buttons too small for my fingers over a virtual keyboard that has keys too small for my fingers.
    I say leave keyboards to the dinosaurs and give us back handwriting recognition – that’s what we’ve got opposable thumbs for.

    btw, I’m not an iphone fan either.

  40. nonprophetone says:

    I lost my faith in Palm when they sent me a letter changing my rates on the i700 from unlimited to $$$$ per kilobyte then offered me not so good a deal on the upgrade in the same letter. i did not upgrade and had to get rid of my palm or face a 300% increase in my bill. And that happened just after I bought the damn thing.

    I’m not one for the bleeding edge anymore. I hope they make it just to compete with Apple. But get real…Palm kinda sucks.

  41. groovybrandon says:

    It looks awesome.. but Sprint?

  42. realyst says:

    you know….technically Java applets are web technology. But Java is a down-to-the-metal language in that the VM hooks into hardware.

    They could easily implement Java on this thing which would have the added benefit of allowing apps written for other mobiles and even Android work on it.

  43. Shelby Davis says:

    One small question: has palm kept its ability for instant-on?

    I love my Zire31 so much because (well, besides the range of apps and its sturdiness) I can refer to the thing like a watch. It never leaves my hand and with its programmable buttons, I can have a schematic of my schedule (or current novel or whatever) NOW. The older palms (and newer tungstens) were like that too.

    Most newer smartphones, though, take at least a few seconds. Silly as it sounds, that’s a dealbreaker. But here’s hoping!

  44. ridl says:

    Nice to read Joel in full-blown gadget bliss. Sounds pretty close to the communication computer I want in my pocket. Frontside camera?

  45. Anonymous says:

    Unkillable tech myths of my lifetime:

    “Betamax was better”. No, I personally used to repair both Beta and VHS decks. VHS had a more robust and elegant design in every machine I ever touched. That’s why the market selected for it.

    “The Internet was designed to withstand nuclear war”. No, read the design documents. It was designed to withstand distributed control and telco incompetence (the latter being almost as destructive as warfare and far more commonplace).

  46. ridl says:

    And does it transform?

  47. Anonymous says:

    to the gent who said you can’t sync itunes to the pre? You absolutely can. The keyboard, whule small is still a major improvement. The UI actually looks AND feels way better. The appz may be a wee limited compared to the iphone but the pre is still in it’s infancy and comes prekoaded with some good appz anyway. And lets not forget mms and being able to use a standard unlim data plan not the ridiculously priced iphone plans!!!!

  48. haineux says:

    I was a Palm enthusiast when they came out with their first model. I am therefore cheered that they have rebooted themselves and made a product that seems — so far — to be almost entirely devoid of suck.

    Apple and Google can use the competition. Hopefully, the unholy abomination that is Windows Mobile gets the stuffing kicked out of it, if for no other reasons than the fact that phones should not require rebooting multiple times per day, and that Hungarian Notation is the worst thing ever invented.

  49. tetron says:

    It seems to me that everything people are saying about the Pre already applies to Android/the G1 — qwerty keyboard, systemwide cut and paste, Linux under the hood, 3rd party apps, etc. I guess it’s good that Palm is finally getting into the game but the hype we’ve seen so far is just ridiculous.

  50. Anonymous says:

    I would be so pleased if people stopped claiming each new smartphone as an ‘iPhone killer’. There are simply so many Apple zealots and poseurs out there that there’s no chance that the iPhone will be ‘killed’ anytime soon. If ever.

    That phone had people lining up around the block for its release, people who had never used an iPhone, had no concept of its limitations, couldn’t possibly know whether or not it could even receive a decent phone signal, but were prepared to camp out for days to lock themselves into a ridiculously long, restrictive, expensive contract with a carrier they didn’t want to be with, all because they wanted the bragging rights to an ‘Apple iPhone’. And history has proven two things.

    First that the iPhone was a roaring success. And secondly, that it was flawed in so many ways that if it had any other logo on it other than that Apple one, the ‘faithfull’ wouldn’t have touched it with a 10 ft barge pole. But they shut off their cognitive reasoning and the rest is history.

    So, it’s safe to say, when a product’s time is right, then it will be a success, regardless of its faults. I expect the same thing to happen with the Pre. But at least the Pre should have a much less flawed launch than that piece of rubbish that was the original iPhone.

    And may Palm and the Pre prosper. By the looks of what I’ve seen so far, they truly deserve it.

    Hear that Apple? They deserve it.

    share your opinions at http://www.PalmPreForum.org

  51. Anonymous says:

    I only have to post a WARNING. I took the risk with PALM and I got the TREO PRO a few months back. I have not used it yet. I am on my 4th refurbished TREO PRO from PALM and can not say that I see the light at the end of the tunnel.
    Their customer service is terrible. They DO NOT know their products. If you buy the Pre and it works you are probably lucky and you should purchase a lottery ticket. If does not work…you are on your own! If you do not believe me call them now and pretend you have the Treo Pro and tell them your build in GPS does not work. See what they will tell you.
    Stay away from PALM! I know you will not..but at least I tried!

  52. hukbh says:

    my cousin has the iphone 3Gs and i have the palm pre. and we did a browser test. sprints palm pre has a faster internet browser than the at&ts iphone 3Gs.
    and i always likes sprint the text messages and internet always were really fast. :o )

  53. Anonymous says:

    > touchpad actually extends about half an
    > inch below the screen

    Point to this “touchpad” in the picture.

  54. alexhager says:

    @Krazii Kat rawrrr:

    You don´t have to so slide the the palm pre up and down to active it.

    just click on the button right at the top of the phone!

    and do you have T9 on you pc when you write comments on a blog?

  55. danilo says:

    Since the iPod launched, Apple has never been anything but a moving target. Gruber has observed that there have been no developer betas of iPhone OS since 2.2. Sounds like a major new version is on its way. Pre doesn’t look bad, but it distinctly feels like Palm is trying to beat iPhone OS 2.0, rather than iPhone OS 3.0.

    There’s no price and there’s no firm ship date. Listen, I was a huge Palm nut back in the day. I desperately loved my Palm-based Visor and I spent hours customizing it and hundreds of dollars on accessories. I’d love to see Palm come back. I want to be excited.

    But I can’t jump on this bandwagon that, because of a cool presentation, PALM IS BACK IN THE GAME OMFG. Because at this point, Palm still hasn’t shipped dick.

    My prognostication on this is that Pre will ship either barely on time or one to two quarters late. When it does ship, we’re going to see shades of Instinct, as Palm seeks to differentiate based on issues that Apple’s latest moves have made irrelevant.

    Pre could be the Hail Mary that keeps Palm in the game. It’s not the product that changes the game.

    Also, web technology as a handheld development platform sucks. I echo the others who have said as much. Hopefully there’s a more substantial way to harness the device’s power.

  56. Patrick Austin says:

    @#12: I thought the iPhone got the highest marks for customer satisfaction? Just because geeks are pissed off about how locked down it is, doesn’t mean the general public cares. And the people who care have options…

    Comparing a Centro to an iPhone is just weird. It has some features an iPhone doesn’t, but that’s more than made up for by features the iPhone has that the Centro doesn’t.

    This Pre thing, though, looks seriously nice. I doubt it’ll be quite as good in terms of multimedia, but it’s likely to be a hell of a lot more useful.

    Palm is actually trying to one-up Apple with a new OS as opposed to just slapping a skin on WinMo? Will wonders never cease…

  57. Stephen says:

    “It feels small and pleasant in the hand. Much smaller than the iPhone, but inexplicably the screen seems big enough.”

    Hm… It is essentially the same weight and width as an iPhone. It is 1/2 inch less tall (when closed) and is thicker for a total of 15% more volume. With the keyboard extended it is larger in every way.

    So the #1 advantage is basically just false (unless yu think the important dimension of a phone is how tall it is when you’re not typing). I’ll wait till they actually ship to draw conclusions.

  58. phoenix0101 says:

    BTW You can sync songs to your pre with p.c. …
    Use something called “DoubleTwist” awesome program. I use it all the time. Sync’s my songs movies and pictures to my phone. And for ringtones go to your Palm pre (Make sure it’s in USB Drive or Media Sync) and go to where it’s located (On your computer) then go to the ringtones folder and put the .mp3 file in there.
    No problem.
    So f u all palm pre is awesome.

  59. monopole says:

    Just hope they got a clue on build quality. I would love to have one of these if I can get it on a Virgin prepaid plan (they use the sprint network).

    The real pity is that had they had their shite together earlier they could have beat down the iPhone and the EEE, w/ this and a proper version of the foleo.

  60. dequeued says:

    @ #10 YESNO:

    BTW, I’m not clear how “it runs Linux” is a feature that makes it better than the iPhone. Anything that Linux can do on a phone, OS X can do on a phone, including run any version of SQL. Linux’s big advantage over OS X is drivers, which hardly seems relevant in this context. Once you’re running a Unix-oid, you’re fine.

    Well, assuming it doesn’t make you jump through flaming hoops to access the linux subsystem, that would be great!

    Can’t you see the possibilities?
    I could cron a bash script that, every couple of hours, sshes into my desktop computer, and syncs my contacts and calendar in the background with kontact.
    The fact that palm is embracing sqlite also really makes me happy.

    I have always liked the palm philosophy of assigning each application a database.. most of the time, an application simple enough to run on a phone only needs a flat database and doesn’t benefit from a full filesystem.
    And now, it will be in an open and accessible format.

  61. philipb says:

    Sorry to burst everyone’s bubble but the Betamax was a better VCR too.

    And no iPhone, I carry a Nokia N95 thank you.

  62. mbermeo says:

    Great Post Joel, while I agree with your views on the differentiators from the iPhone, I have to say I am disappointed by all the other every day challenges I have experienced in my 10 days of owning the Pre. I first owned the iPhone 3GS for 10 days and found the the touchscreen was not intended for users on the go coming from a blackberry (at least not for me). The operating system is just too slow and when placing a call or pulling up a contact I find myself repeating all steps because I did not wait long enough for the system to respond. If I am on a long call the phone gets too hot to hold. The music does NOT sync well from iTunes, the calendar integration took a lot of work and is still off with Facebook. There are a number of cool things it delivers however they are inconsistent. I found the navigation app with voice instructions a big plus over iphone but when playing music and getting driving directions (multitasking as promised), the phone crashed after 20 minutes. I did not know what turn to take next. My opinion none of these phones are ready for prime time

  63. Alan says:

    I have an iPhone but have always liked my two Palms, especially their ease of use and wide availability of apps. I even considered the Palm Centro before settling on the iPhone, and my son likes his Centro a lot. If this had been on the market last summer, I might have considered sticking with Sprint and gotten one (note: might have considered). And comparing a Centro and iPhone isn’t so weird; what I wanted was one device to carry around, not a phone and a seperate PDA. Both the Centro and iPhone fit the bill for that.

    As to iPhone OS 3.0, I took a survey a couple months back concerning opinions of the iPhone and what users would like to see improved. Amongst the choices were tethering and MMS. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Those are the two Pre features that interest me the most.

  64. kiltreiser says:

    I’m not a big phone fan by any means but that has me dribbling a little bit. I was considering trading in my current rather basic number for a G1 (I can’t stand Apple so the iPhone is a no-no) but I may have to hold off till this bad boy is released. Linux is a winner for starters and if it can work with Android and doesn’t tie me to a particular service provider unlike the G1 it’ll get my money. Can’t wait to see the reviews on release.

  65. Halloween Jack says:

    As someone who both has an iPhone and was a Palm user for a decade, a few quibbles:

    1) Are all of those reasons really why this thing is better, instead of more-or-less equal? I’ve had badly-written Palm apps crash my various PDAs often enough to be a little leery of every would-be developer who wants to write the equivalent of a flashlight app.

    2) Build quality. I’m glad that they have finally come out with a 21st-century OS, but it’s the Palm hardware that has always given me the most trouble. I’ve had a Palm PDA, one of the Zires, that had the screen crack when I put it in my front pocket. I went over to the iPhone when, a few months before my old AT&T contract was up, the Treo simply stopped syncing and I could no longer back up my data. Even the first PDA that I had, a Palm III, occasionally had to be opened so that I could reset the touchscreen cable.

  66. Anonymous says:

    You guys just must be soooo giddy over this announcement. Just giddy.

    You vowed never, ever to buy an Apple product, and so you didn’t. You stood by stone faced as all your friends swiped and muli-touched their iPhones – but not you – you held fast to your principles!

    The first year wasn’t all that hard even, with all the glitches and problems. My God! it didn’t even have cut and paste – the losers!

    But, that second year. That was tough. New iPhone, new updated OS, and **gasp** the Apps store! Oh yes that was a hard year. All those Apps! All those games! All those fart machines. Ahhhhh!

    But you waited, and you’ve now been rewarded.

    So go to your Zunes and your reboot your Treo 600′s. Take up your Atari 200′s and TRS80′s and wait. Wait for this new phone to arrive in your nearby Sprint store. Pay your $500 dollars and your new 2 year contract. Rush home and then open the package with wild abandon. Then play with your new Pre! But remember – it really is just an iPhone knockoff with a Palm brand sticker on it. And that’s all it will ever be.

    Thomas

  67. teddanson says:

    “2) Can I sync my iTunes library to it? Nope.”

    Shouldn’t you be using Winamp anyway?

  68. strider_mt2k says:

    Figures I pretty much hang up on Palm a few years ago and just last month purchased my first Windows Mobile phone (Omnia i910).
    (Yeah I’m liking it! It’s a great piece with a little tweaking, but that’s why I buy this stuff! ;) )

    JUST in time for Palm to pull a possible Phoenix and rise from the ashes with the Pre and the new OS.

    FRACK

    I don’t know if i didn’t wait long enough of if Palm waited too long, at least for me.

    This appears to be an honest effort.
    I hope it all works out for ‘em.

  69. tdstom says:

    You guys just must be soooo giddy over this announcement. Just giddy.

    You vowed never, ever to buy an Apple product, and so you didn’t. You stood by stone faced as all your friends swiped and muli-touched their iPhones – but not you – you held fast to your principles!

    The first year wasn’t all that hard even, with all the glitches and problems. My God! it didn’t even have cut and paste – the losers!

    But, that second year. That was tough. New iPhone, new updated OS, and **gasp** the Apps store! Oh yes that was a hard year. All those Apps! All those games! All those fart machines. Ahhhhh!

    But you waited, and you’ve now been rewarded.

    So go to your Zunes and your reboot your Treo 600′s. Take up your Atari 200′s and TRS80′s and wait. Wait for this new phone to arrive in your nearby Sprint store. Pay your $500 dollars and your new 2 year contract. Rush home and then open the package with wild abandon. Then play with your new Pre! But remember – it really is just an iPhone knockoff with a Palm brand sticker on it. And that’s all it will ever be.

    Thomas

  70. MikeCitrome says:

    How come when Apple announced a “web-based” development platform, it got called every name in the book, but when Palm does it, it’s a revelation.

    Without a real application platform, the Pre is no threat to the iPhone.

    • Joel Johnson says:

      @MikeCitrome: Because there’s a difference between running localized customized versions of webapps on the phone itself and calling a website an application.

  71. yesno says:

    As an iPhone user, I’m happy that Apple will have some competition. RIM has users and some good products but overall lacks any idea on how to advance the state of the art.

    I’m kind of distressed about the proliferation of platforms meaning that one or another of them is bound to fail. I’d bet on Android withering and Windows Mobile eventually going away. I hope I’m wrong about Android.

    BTW, I’m not clear how “it runs Linux” is a feature that makes it better than the iPhone. Anything that Linux can do on a phone, OS X can do on a phone, including run any version of SQL. Linux’s big advantage over OS X is drivers, which hardly seems relevant in this context. Once you’re running a Unix-oid, you’re fine.

  72. thekevinmonster says:

    @#38: The bottom part of the phone is touch-sensitive, apparently. that is the area around the home button.

  73. Lea Hernandez says:

    If I don’t have to buy a phone service contract when I buy this, I’m in. I have missed my Zire.

  74. zuzu says:

    BTW, I’m not clear how “it runs Linux” is a feature that makes it better than the iPhone. Anything that Linux can do on a phone, OS X can do on a phone, including run any version of SQL. Linux’s big advantage over OS X is drivers, which hardly seems relevant in this context.

    Actually, driver support (and GPL license) is critical if the Free Software movement is going to add real security features such as ZRTP opportunistic voice encryption.

    Opportunistic Encryption (OE) refers to any system that, when connecting to another system, attempts to encrypt the communications channel otherwise falling back to unencrypted communications. This method requires no pre-arrangement between the two systems. It is sometimes described as “Better Than Nothing Security” or ANONSEC. Opportunistic encryption can be used to combat passive wiretapping. It does not provide a strong level of security as authentication may be difficult to establish and secure communications are not mandatory. Yet, it does make the encryption of most internet traffic easy to implement, which removes a significant impediment to the mass adoption of Internet traffic security.

    ZRTP is a cryptographic key-agreement protocol to negotiate the keys to encrypt VoIP phone calls. ZRTP describes a method of Diffie-Hellman key agreement for Secure Real-time Transport Protocol (SRTP). It was submitted to the IETF by Phil Zimmermann, Jon Callas and Alan Johnston on March 5, 2006. This protocol does not require prior shared secrets or rely on a Public key infrastructure (PKI) or on certification authorities, in fact ephemeral Diffie-Hellman keys are generated on each session establishment: this allows to bypass the complexity of creating and maintaining a trusted third-party. These keys will contribute to the generation of the session secret, from which the session key and parameters for SRTP sessions will come, along with previously shared secrets (if some): this gives protection against man in the middle (MiTM) attacks, assuming the attacker was not present in the first session between the two endpoints. To ensure that the attacker is indeed not present in the first session (when no shared secrets exist) , the Short Authentication String method is used: the two users at the endpoints verbally compare a shared value displayed at both ends. If the values don’t match, it indicates the presence of a MiTM wiretapper. ZRTP can be used with any signaling protocol, including SIP, H.323, Jingle, and Peer-to-Peer SIP. ZRTP is independent of the signaling layer, because it does all its key negotiations in the RTP media stream.

  75. Art Carnage says:

    > Sorry to burst everyone’s bubble but the Betamax was
    > a better VCR too.

    No, not really. Oh, sure, the picture quality was slightly better. But it was much worse in recording capacity. People valued being able to record for 2 hours, over a slightly better image. That’s what happens when you fail to include people into the equation. From an overall customer satisfaction standpoint (the only thing that really matters in the long run), the VHS format was better. By the time Sony finally woke up and smelled the coffee, it was too late.

    Apple seems to know how to do the customer satisfaction thing with their computers. With the iPhone… not so much. Their heavy-handed “only we can decide what can go on your phone” attitude doesn’t sit well with a lot of people. Palm has never restricted what apps people can load. That’s why I can use my Palm Centro as a tethered (or BT’ed) wireless 3G modem for my laptop, stream stereo music to my Bluetooth headphones, or use it as a UBS Mass Storage Device, and the iPhone can’t do any of those things (without jail-breaking).

  76. Anonymous says:

    I have been a lont time Palm user, but I feel like they deserted me. One thing I really loved is my Palm Desktop. I can go back in the calendar and check on old important events.

    With no conversion from my old “Palm Desktop” with its over 600 contacts with detailed notes and several years of old calendar data why stay with a company that does not care about my loyality.

    If I have to start over with my calendar and contacts, I am going to iphone.

  77. Anonymous says:

    dumdidum whats the matter over in bournemouth???????

    daaCrazyCyclist

  78. Sonnie says:

    Palm pre is the only competitor to iPhone. As per my views.. I’ll go with Palm pre cuz i do a lot of texting and i have seen the comparison on youtube and palm pre wins the race.

  79. mkultra says:

    Well, the biggest drawback I’ve seen is that the “native” (to my understanding) applications are all html/css/js crap, with no actual honest-to-god hardware access at all. Sorry, but web apps aren’t “real” apps.

    And lets face it, most of those features are stuff that 95% of the people using iPhones wouldn’t give a crap about anyway. Sure they are nice and all, but compelling… ?

    Where’s my visual voicemail? Oh, you mean I have to press a button, and listen through an audio menu to find out who called? How yestertech. (this is a deal breaker for me. I’ll never again own a phone that doesn’t have it.)

    I do love competition, however. Bring it on.

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