Palm Pre smartphone
The next best thing to an iPhone?
Review The most hyped phone of the year, the Palm Pre, has arrived and now you can actually buy one. The 3.1in touchscreen combined with a physical keyboard are welcome features, but it’s the software that might change the face of the smartphone market and challenge the Apple iPhone.
Palm's Pre smartphone touting its new WebOS
The iPhone has been top of the smartphone pile since it was released and, with every new version, its software, hardware and developer support has been greatly improved. Even now, just shy of its third birthday, other smartphone manufacturers still appear unable to catch up with it.
HTC has been hampered by Android’s slow start and Windows Mobile’s various weaknesses, while other manufacturers’ implementations of touchscreens, such as LG with its S-Class OS, look derivative and clunky by comparison. Can Palm, with its impressive track record as a smartphone maker and vaunted WebOS platform, do any better?
The Pre's hardware is fairly standard – we've all seen touchscreens before, after all. The most interesting thing about the phone – and what Palm is pinning its hopes on – is the software it runs, and WebOS deservingly joins the top of the mobile phone operating system pile along with Apple. It has more polish than Android, and while it isn't as smooth as the iPhone, it arguably does more.
First up is Palm’s ‘Synergy’ system. It’s designed to take the pain out of setting up your phone and managing your contacts. Rather offering platform specific sync applications, you just simply pop in a Gmail email address when you first start it up and it will pull in your calendar and contacts information as well.
Touchscreen and keyboard combo
Of course, this assumes you’ve all this set up on Gmail already. Likewise, give it your Facebook details and it will look up your friends and put them into its contacts database as well. Third party apps are available for sync’ing and media can be dragged and dropped to the Pre’s storage when plugged in to a computer.
obvious decision ?
The obvious decision isn't to get this or an iPhone, it's to wait a few more weeks till El Reg. review the Nokia N900...
I had a play with a Pre in an O2 shop at the weekend. I would really like one, but it did feel a bit cheap and plasticky.
It is interesting that the author is such a fan of the Synergy system. The Pre looks a great product and perhaps a genuine competitor to the iPhone. However, rather than a selling-point I find Synergy to be a genuine deal-breaker. Can I be the only phone user who actually wants to compartmentalise their contacts? I simply don't want my Facebook 'friends', some of whom are, frankly, not true friends to be rolled into my contacts list. The same goes, to some extent, for IM, Skype etc.
I am impressed by the multitasking which doesn't appear to drain the battery excessively, but I am of the belief that Apple may include this in future iPhones which will sport faster processors and improved battery technology.
Clearly there are issues with hardware design and build quality, but these bugs will be ironed-out in due course.
For now I think I'll stick with my iPhone.
Light the blue touch paper and retire to a safe distance
I normally never return to a flame but I forgot something important. Copy & paste. WTF? How can a 'smart' phone neglect that essential feature for so long?
Apple did something genius with the iPhone but it was in neither the hardware nor software, it was in marketing. It's almost a miracle they got millions of feature phone users to leave their smaller, lighter, prettier, cheaper and above all higher quality devices to be locked into long-term contracts for shorter battery life, crippled functionality, draconian app vetting and dropped calls. They somehow made hefting a bland slab of non-battery-changeable plastic look cool. And simultaneously made the ipod dock standard in cars and homes! All that without so much as a 3.5mm audio jack.
On a side note I do believe Apple have got it right with the 3GS. Finally it's worth is approaching it's monetary value but what a shame, as the plebeians have accepted it en masse it's very popularity causes the iPhone to become uncool.
Oh God Not This Again
First, Anonymous Coward (22:10)
"MMS I believe was left out on purpose. The only people that I know of using MMS regularly are the "Well my Windows Mobile/Nokia does…) crowd that try and belittle the iPhone. I'd not used it before owning an iPhone, and sure as hell didn't miss it after buying it! You see, the iPhone has a technology called "electronic mail". Marvellous really."
Yes, my last few phones (multiple vendors & platforms) have had it too. They've also had MMS. Which is great when I need to send a pic to the contractor out on site somewhere whose phone choice I can't dictate, then I could use whichever method is best suited to convey the information. Now that's marvellous. Tell me, before your phone got MMS how would you have done that? Drive several hundred miles with a sketch? Carrier pigeon perhaps?
Second, Mr. Joe Ragosta:
"It's funny that the anit-Apple crowd accuses Apple of being a cult and Mac users to be mindless fanatics -- yet it is the anti-Apple crowd who seems to base their diatribes on irrational concepts."
No mate, look at the comments and you'll find it's all sides on this one. Why? No idea, reminds me of chimps throwing shit to be honest.