posted: 08 Jun 2009
So the Palm Pre was launched in the US on Saturday, only available on the Sprint network at the moment, so not available on GSM yet. It has been touted as an iPhone killer, but I don't think that's a sensible place to start when looking at this phone and what it does. As an aside, the attitude of one phone being the best and requiring all opposition to wither and perish, is in my mind a crass and stupid perception of the market. The iPhone is a great phone, what it does is astonishing. However, I don't believe this means it's ideal for everyone or that just because the iPhone does things so well that no one else can attempt to improve on that.
So, on to the Pre...The Palm Pre is the first truly new phone/OS combination to come out of Palm in many years. I converted to Palm, back in 2003 when Palm/Handspring released the Treo 600 in Europe. I bought one as soon as I could and I loved it. For the first time, I had a good sized screen to browse the web and an established community of developers making apps for the PalmOS (yes the idea of community written apps isn't new). The Treo, however, started to show its age as the smartphone market grew and PalmOS stagnated...
The Pre, on the other hand, has recaptured my interest in Palm and their ability to be at the front of the mobile experience. I've only had it two days, but so far, it has done nothing to fundamentally disappoint. That's not to say, there's not room to improve, that would be complacent and short sighted, however, the technology is very polished and all in all the phone 'just works'.
There have already been plenty of reviews and discussions about this device, detailing many of the features and capabilities so I won't bother describing those to you again, however, I'd like to touch on two things that really stand out for me.
1. The human interaction is exceptional, it's taken the work that Apple did with the iPhone and moved it on again. The gesture interface is simply a joy to use and makes me smile each time I use it. Delete an email? Just drag it off the side of the screen. Close an application? Drag it off the top of the screen. View all running apps (yes it is a true multi-tasking OS)? Click the little nub at the bottom of the front (it's the only button on the whole front face of the device). I love it all.
2. The Synergy integration is truly magnificent. What's Synergy? It's basically the phone's ability to mine your online networks and applications and consolidate your contacts into a single unified list. Oh and if you use and sync with Facebook, it brings down the users photo from there too :)
Those are the two killers for me at the moment. But there's plenty more to get a geek excited. But I'll leave those for you to discover when you go buy one.