There was a glow on the face of every Palm employee we saw today, and deservedly so: the new Palm Pre is a hail mary product. It’s probably going to save the company.
And it is, in many ways, better than the iPhone.
UPDATE 3: Video courtesy Ars:
UPDATE 1: Oops, forget the all-important specs… Kudos to iLounge.
Palm today introduced its latest handset, named the Pre. Featuring a 3.1-inch, 480×320 touchscreen, a dedicated gesture area below the display, a vertical slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and more, the device is aimed at the same market as the iPhone. Other technical features include high-speed wireless (EV-DO Rev. A or HSDPA, depending on the model and carrier), GPS, Wi-Fi, a 3-megapixel camera with LED flash, 3.5mm headphone jack, microUSB connector, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR with A2DP, 8GB of internal storage, an accelerometer, ambient light and proximity sensors, a removable rechargeable battery, and an optional wireless charger. Pre is exclusive at launch to Sprint.
Folks, I’m not going to kid you on this one – Apple actually have a real fight on their hands here, for these three reasons:
Firstly, it runs Linux. This, in and of itself, will silence all those “the iPhone is locked down, proprietary, user’s can’t do what they want without jailbreaking, etc, etc” people who think Apple is the worst thing since the drop toilet. SQLite features as the database here.
Secondly – it has all the “wow” features needed to knock the iPhone of it’s most gigantic pedestal. The menu bar *cough*DOCK*cough* apparently has this cool feature where you slide your finger up from below the screen, and the dock pops up with your finger. This is possible because the touchscreen (with built-in) multitouch actually extends BELOW the actual LCD – which makes for cool features like this. And you thought Shazam was cool… this feature blows Shazam out of the water. Like Shazam, it’s one of those “OMGZ THATS AWESOME” times when words escape you and you’re left with nothing but pure adoration.
And finally, Facebook and Gmail – the integration is said to be “top notch”. None of this “have facebook as a seperate app on another home screen” business like the iPhone – instead, imagine being able to send a photo or text to Facebook from withthin every photo management app, every mail application, every web page, with the same features being applied to Gmail. PLus, you can choose to pull down your contact’s Facebook’s profile pic, so that when they call you, you can see their lovely face as it shows on Facebook. ZOMG! AWESOME!
…and I lied, there are actually four things. System-wide COPY and PASTE is the last feature that will make this a serious “iPhone Killer”.
Hopefully, it’ll have the hardware to match up to the software. The only way I can see this becoming a massive fail is due to a sloppy processor, or a battery life that just doesn’t quite cut it.
It’s for these four reasons that Apple had better make iPhone OS 3.0 a dammmmed good release. A couple of things for them to work on: MobileMe (integration? Don’t make me laugh), iWork.Com (a mobile version is a good start, now we need more integration), App Store (it’s far from perfect), Push Notifications (please don’t make this into another MobileMe fiasco…), and FRIGGIN COPY AND PASTE! SRSLY!
…and hopefully, something awesome that will blow us all away, like battery life that doesn’t actually suck, full-bluetooth capabilities, a user-accessible file system (instead of each file storeage app having it’s own… wtf) or even a dash of multi-core iPhones…
I’m scared. Scared at how badly Apple could have just lost the smartphone war, especially after it was doing so well… Scared at how easily it was to expose and exploit the disadvantages of the iPhone… Scared at how much of a contender Palm have come back as. Scared of how Android will respond to this new opponent.
Links for further reading:
gdgt’s Palm Keynote live blog (lots of pics)
Engadget’s Hands On with the Palm Pre
Engadget’s In-Depth Impressions on the Palm Pre
Engadget’s Ominously Titled “The Palm Pre”
Apple. Do us proud!