Hardware and Software
Before I dig into what really distinguishes the Pre from the iPhone 3GS - their software and operating systems - let's take a side trip into where software and hardware combine. For example...
Still camera: Last week, I wrote a comprehensive review of the cameras in the Pre and three different iPhone/iPhone OS combos. It turns out that the Pre I used for that review was borked. I've since done the same tests with a new Pre and discovered none of the color-cast problems that I experienced with the first unit.
The Pre's camera has one main advantage over the one in the iPhone 3GS: an LED flash. Although low-light pictures taken with it are still noisy, it's nice to have in a pinch.
More problematic is the Pre's tendency to aggressively sharpen images. When we asked DXO Labs about the highly sharpened images that their software provides the Pre, they told us that the "choice was made to set the sharpening intensity to a level which does not require the user to post-process the images." There's no user-configurable sharpening control on either camera, by the way.
So it's your call. If you want your pictures pre-sharpened, choose the Pre. If you want them relatively soft, and sharpen them they way you want in Photoshop or elsewhere, choose the iPhone 3GS. We're guessing that most casual users will prefer the pre-sharpened Pre.
One last camera note: The iPhone's closing-shutter animation is a welcome indicator of camera activity, especially in loud, bright environments where the Pre's less-obvious blinking off of the camera controls and both camera's shutter sounds are not enough.
Still-camera advantage: Pre
Still-image playback: Both phones display images in rich color and at the same level of brightness, both store them in easy-to-navigate folder structures, and both allow you to easily flick through a folder image-by-image. Images on the Pre, however, consistently take a brief moment to transform from pixelated preview to sharp final - the iPhone doesn't have that problem. Also, the iPhone offers a slideshow capability, which the Pre lacks.
Still-image playback advantage: iPhone 3GS
The iPhone 3GS's video editing may be basic, but it's better than the Pre's, which is nonexistant
Video camera: This one's easy - the iPhone 3GS can capture video, the Pre can't. The iPhone's video camera may not be capable of capturing finely detailed and subtle images, but at least it exists.
Video-camera advantage: iPhone 3GS
Video playback: Both phones play full-motion video, with the Pre supporting MPEG4, H.263 and H.264, and the iPhone MPEG4 and H.264 in various flavors. As long as the video files are properly encoded, playback goes without a hitch - I used Apple's QuickTime Pro to export video in iPhone .m4v format, which worked fine on both phones.
The iPhone 3GS plays video you shot using its camera in its Photos app - a bit counter-intuitive, but it works just fine - and videos you bought or loaded into it over iTunes through its iPod app. The Pre plays video through its more-logically named Videos app. You can load videos either in Media Sync and USB Drive modes, as mentioned above.
Both phones play YouTube videos, but the Pre can't mark favorites, do one-touch emailing, rate videos, flag them for inappropriate content, or read or add comments. Frankly, who cares?
Video-playback advantage: A tie
Audio recording: Another easy one, seeing as how the iPhone 3GS includes a Voice Memos app and the Pre doesn't include any recording function whatsoever - although it's safe to assume that such an app may very well appear from an enterprising third-party developer once Palm gets its software SDK act together.
Audio-recording advantage: iPhone 3GS
Next page: Out iPodding the Pod
In less than a year no one will remember what a Pre is!
The iPhone however will be the dominant mobile computing platform for years to come.
What a stupid article.
Another poor man's iPhone...yawn
I think this article just makes me glad I've been using an iphone all the way through from the first one to the 3GS. Basides the multi-tasking, there's nothing the pre offers which would make me drop the iphone, and the person reviewing clearly doesn't use an iPhone daily (or else he doesn't know the OS very well). The pre looks fugly too, they need to make it look prettier.
I find it amusing how people are still going on about Android dominating the industry. It hasn't and it most likely won't. The time for it to dominate is past, public opinion is apathetic and it was a missed opportunity for Google. The HTC rubbish phones it was introduced in were tantamount to a poor man's iPhone, and apart from a couple of nice innovations such as multi-tasking, the Pre falls into that same category. Who will buy a product that looks and feels cheap and confusing outside of the IT industry?
Re apps, the exponential growth in apps, s because of the exponential growth of iPhone ownership. The installed units needs to be there to justify people developing for a platform. Seeing as how Pre piggy backs on the achievements of Apple (iTunes) rather than have its own infrastructure, I can't really see it having a viable app store, at least when compared to iTunes and at best there'll be something comparable to The google one or the blackberry one i.e. a decent facebook app and that's about it.
Blah Blah blah
iPhone this.. iPhone that.... It seems that the iPhone fan boys just get their shorts all in a bunch whenever anyone doesn't just accept the iPhone as the secret of the universe, by default. The simple fact is that anyone who doesn't want AT&T as their vendor or anyone who wants features the iPhone doesn't support, will not get an iPhone. The rest who have more money than sense will buy an iPhone. I recently talked to an AT&T store employee about why she switched from the iPhone to a Blackberry. Quite simply because the iPhones short comings were things she simply couldn't get past. Not everyone will just because fruit flavored fanboys love their fruit flavored kit. Some aren't going to drink the coolaid and have an Apple love fest with you. Get over it. It's just a phone. Not the second coming of Christ.
Capacitive screens and overheating
If you're looking for a smartphone with a resistive screen, you're I supect you're going to be SOL, pretty much all the new ones are going capacitive these days. I think there are some WinMo ones that are still going resistive, but as a concept it seems to be dying.
Regarding the heat issues, Several of my colleagues have 3Gs's (I'm still stuck on my "ancient" 2G) , and are reporting no heat problems whatsoever. I can't help but think that this is either being blown out of all proportion, or that the've had a bad batch of batteries somewhere. DOes anyone have any hard numbers for how many people are reporting this?
You missed an important category
You missed the "Fire hazard" category.
As there have been reports of iPhone 3GS becoming too hot to hold and getting so hot they actually glow with the heat I think it's safe to say the Pre wins this one, and frankly it's such an important category in general it's enough to swing a win to the Pre overall.
What use is a phone if it risks setting on fire as the iPhone 3GS does?