New 2009 Palm Pre vs old 2008 iPhone ... FIGHT!

The bout is about to begin: 2009's shiny new Palm Pre vs 2008's boring old iPhone. In IT Blogwatch, Richi Jennings watches bloggers watch Apple's iPhone and Palm's Pre pre-pare to slug it out for the title of best smartphone. Not to mention texting the ten commandments...

John Biggs nails his colors firmly to the mast:

Palm Pre vs. iPhone — FIGHT!
The Pre will soon pee blood. Sprint is a lump of a provider, Verizon is already promising the Pre in six months, and the pro-Pre hype storm is now turning.

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What should have Palm done? They should have made the best device they could have - both on the software and on the hardware side - and told Sprint to suck it. AT&T had little control over the iPhone and Apple orchestrated a coup. The carriers take RIM products with little complaint, knowing they can charge the world for service. Palm was in a similar position - they were beloved - but now it’s clear that the corrosive influence of a group of old folks at Sprint has taken its toll.
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Walt Mossberg leaves no stone unrolled:

On June 6, Apple will get a powerful competitor ... It’s a beautiful, innovative and versatile hand-held computer that’s fully in the iPhone’s class. It’s called the Pre, and it comes from Palm, the company that pioneered the hand-held computer in the 1990s.

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I like it a lot, despite some important drawbacks ... potentially the strongest rival to the iPhone to date, provided it attracts lots of third-party apps ... [Although] the new iPhone to be unveiled next week will have lots of added features ... Apple isn’t likely to match two of the Pre’s big advantages: multitasking and a physical keyboard.
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Joshua Topolsky raves:

The Palm Pre. It's not just a phone, it's a myth, an idea, possibly a legacy... and a really, really long time coming. ... Yes, this is epic stuff. The Pre ... could likely decide the fate of the company largely credited with ushering in the age of the do-everything phone. ... To put it simply, the Pre is a great phone, and we don't feel any hesitation saying that. Is it a perfect phone? Hell no.

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Ultimately -- carriers and developers notwithstanding -- what Palm has done is not only a major feat for a company of its size (and its dire position), and we think it's an important step in the evolution of mobile computing. ... Pre moves the game forward in a very real way. We know this won't be the last of the webOS devices, and we know that as Palm improves its products, so will Apple, RIM, Microsoft, Google, and the rest of the smartphone gang. Unfortunately for them, their work just got a little bit tougher.
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Quincy Pince-Nez read Topolsky's review:

Where the Pre really shined was processor intensive tasks like video, browser rendering and doing background apps. The Pre has a significantly faster ARM Cortex Processor than the current iPhone's ARM 11 based system.

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It looks like this might just be the best phone on the market...at least for 2 days.
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Jason Chen finds something to complain about:

The first thing you'll notice as you slide open the Pre is the absurdly sharp ridge digging against your palm. Nowhere ... has a phone been so threatening to the integrity of my skin. If you're pushing up screen from the bottom of the phone, as you'd instinctively want to do, prepare to get sliced. It's just that irresponsibly sharp.

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To be fair, Palm instructs you to open the phone by placing your thumb on the screen itself and pushing up. Fantastic plan, except for the fact that it's a touchscreen and by placing your thumb on the screen you're actually moving stuff around. It's a kluge; a solution thought of after the fact to salvage a horrible hardware design decision. ... Maybe I'm being a perfectionist here, but this is the one biggest flaw in the hardware; one that's not a dealbreaker, but really detracts from the overall experience.
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William Hurley opines that Palm is likely to stumble:

A once-proud Silicon Valley icon, Palm has been hyping the Pre since January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. ... I led early attempts to organize and rally the community. Our flagship event, preDevCamp, drew together roughly 1,000 volunteer developers in more than 85 cities around the world. Before those efforts could come to fruition, it became apparent to me and other leaders that Palm's early enthusiasm for the community was halfhearted at best.

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In fairness, one of Palm's senior vice-presidents has posted a blog stating the company's support for preDevCamp. But remember that Palm's developer network has been largely dormant for three to four years; not immediately embracing its reinvigorated efforts is shortsighted and will prove costly.
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So what's your take? Get involved and leave a comment.

And finally...

Previously in IT Blogwatch:

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 24 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter or FriendFeed, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email: contact Richi.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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