Palm Pre may outdo Apple iPhone

Ronny Kerr · June 10, 2009 · Short URL:

Underdog smartphone shines when it comes down to the most basic features

The new Palm Pre, released June 6 quietly amid anxious anticipation of the June 8 WWDC announcement of the new Apple iPhone 3G S, might turn out to be the winning smartphone when it comes down to overall features and pricing.

Palm PreiPhone 3G S
With a close look at tech specs, one might have trouble distinguishing the two. Both utilize the very fast 3G network, both sport 3 megapixel cameras and built-in GPS, and both feature 320x480 resolution touch screens, the Pre at 3.1-inch and the iPhone at 3.5-inch.

The biggest advantage now in the iPhone’s favor is its larger storage capacity - $199 for the 16GB, double the size of the equally priced Pre, and $299 for the 32GB - and its ability to shoot video (something Palm could possibly enable on the Pre through a software update).

Beyond that, some of Apple’s biggest new features, to be made available for all iPhone users through a software update next week, could end up being lesser imitations of current Pre features.

Spotlight Search will allow an iPhone user to search their entire phone, supplementing current internet search applications, whereas Pre users can already use Universal Search to search their phone data, Google, and Wikipedia all in one place. Additionally, Apple’s promise that AT&T will provide support for multimedia texting by late summer means that they are already months behind Palm’s current incorporation of IM, SMS, and MMS support. Further, the iPhone’s ability to switch to landscape keyboard in many more applications can hardly compete with the Pre’s physical slide-out keyboard.

Though the Palm Pre and 16GB iPhone are both marked at $199, those looking ahead to service provider bills might be surprised to find that under matching contracts, a recent New York Times article reveals, Palm Pre users on Sprint will only be paying $100 a month, much less than the $150 a month charged to iPhone users on AT&T.

Selling 50,000 units in its launch weekend (despite some supply issues), the Palm Pre has all the signs for a possible long-term success.

In addition to praising the Pre's physical keyboard, key investor Roger McNamee was recently cited in a Mirror UK article as dismissing the iPhone as an iPod first, a phone second: "If what you care about most is listening to music or playing back videos, the iPhone is probably the right phone for you." The real judges will be consumers in stores over the next few months.

The iPhone will be available starting June 19th.

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