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January 8, 2009

iPhone, Your Competition has Arrived

Filed under Gadgets

imageToday at CES, Palm announced a new phone called the Palm Pre (rhymes with “tree”).

I consider this the first true competitor to Apple’s iPhone.

Other phones try to duplicate the iPhone and end up not as good. The Palm Pre is what the iPhone *should* be. Apple finally has a reason to be worried.

This is the first cell phone since the iPhone where the hardware and the OS (“WebOS”) are made by the same company.

The Pre has a screen resolution of 480x320, like the iPhone. It supports multi-touch, like the iPhone. It has a WebKit-based web browser, like the iPhone. It rotates its display orientation when you rotate the phone, like the iPhone. It has an app store, like the iPhone.


Here’s what I like about the Pre over the iPhone…

  • Full keyboard, slides out (see photo, right)
  • No virtual keyboard means more screen real estate for your apps
  • Support for copy/paste
  • Supports running multiple apps at the same time
  • Removable battery
  • Consolidated contact list. Outlook, Gmail, and Facebook contacts are all stored in a single contact list with no duplicated entries.
  • Consolidated calendar
  • Consolidated IM
  • Combine work calendar with personal calendar in a single calendar. When syncing, only work items sync with work (so you don’t put your personal calendar on your company’s Outlook calendar).
  • Smaller/lighter than the iPhone

The new UI is *amazing*. Check out the launch demo to see the UI in action:

I love the iPhone UI. I think the Pre UI is better.

I’m really excited about this phone. I’ll probably pick one up when they come out in the next few months.

Comments (7)


Palm Pre (rhymes with “pre”).

I think its cool. Glenda has been looking to upgrade her phone and pda into one unit. Now the big questions is whether all of her applications will get ported to the new OS. A lot of developers have already given up on Palm and gone over to Microsoft CE, and their customer base is small enough that they can't afford to support multiple systems.

BTW the phone also supports the palm gesture system on the bottom of the screen, so they keep the old school charm of the original palm.


I think the biggest challenge for the Pre is that it is exclusive to Sprint.


You change your phone entirely too much.
I watched the demo on Sunday.
"No virtual keyboard means more screen real estate for your apps."
The screen is smaller than iPhone, so I'd say that point is wrong; but the rest are nice. The only feature that I'd actually care and which is crucial is you can run as many apps as you want in the background (although I don't fully believe anything until I see it. The apps they used are all really simply). I really want to use a remote Mp3 player like Orb, combined with a permanently open chat program which runs under all the standards like BeejiveIM, leave a game open in one card, and then also be able to use the phone normally. It sounds like the apps are all based entirely on website programming, so I'm not sure if games could be as good on Pre as iPhone. I'm not sure if they said javascript is fully working or if Flash will work. Also, having a phone that is smaller and lighter than iPhone would not be anything I'd care about. iPhone never bothers me in my pocket, and I'm touchy about how much stuff I have in my pockets.

@ JasonR
I think the point the Palm guys were trying to make is that a keyboard on the screen eats up display real estate your app could be using. Even the original palms, which used touch screens, limited the "gesture" area to a small space below the screen so that you wouldn't obscure the screen as you input data--a lesson they learned from complaints about the original Newton. So the screen is smaller but you get to use all of it as you type.

I think its ironic that the mistake from the Newton era got repeated. (and no, its not a mistake as long as you keep all your apps tied to the pencil/paper paradigm. But who wants to do that?)


From http://www.webosarena.com/

We received news from a credible source that BestBuy Mobile will be getting an exclusive deal with Sprint for the Palm Pre release. For 60 days the number one consumer electronics retailer will be the only place where you can get your hands on the Palm Pre, besides Sprint of course.


Telstra exec touts Pre killer coming in Q2

From http://www.smarthouse.com.au/Phones/Industry/S4W3S8V5

Mobile phone Company HTC is set to launch a brand new phone touch phone that will take on the Apple iPhone and the new Pre offering from Palm claims a senior executive of Telstra.
The new touch phone has been developed using a combination of the Google Android operating system and Linux based software written by HTC. The screen is believed to be bigger than current offerings from HTC.

Executives from Telstra who had met with Palm at the CES Show in Las Vegas to review their new Pre offering said that the new phone from HTC was "better and more functional" they said.

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