Palm Pre reviews mixed, Apple preempts party with $99 iPhone

61683_g1If the odds were against Palm already, they’re now even worse. You would have a better chance of hitting ’00’ on a roulette table, twice in a row, then Palm surviving this much-hyped third (or fourth?) comeback.

It’s starting to rival Elvis… “looks good”, “sounds good”, “hardware’s a little flaky”, “Palm? Back again? I thought they were dead?”

Everyone likes the dark horse, the little guy, the underdog, but in this game — the big-time, billion dollar mobile phone market, where ad spending alone could reach 5.7B by 2014 — companies require critical mass in the form of major capitalization, unit sales and, thanks to Apple, thousands of mobile applications.

Once upon a time, a cute phone with a cute OS could cut it. Not anymore. It’s all about the ecosystem, and that requires time and money, plus long-term strategic know-how. All three of which, unfortunately, I fear, Palm lacks.

Even behemoth Google is struggling to enter the mobile market. While their Android handsets have received some decent reviews, it’s still an up-hill battle against the entrenched leaders, Apple and BlackBerry. Google trumps Palm when it comes to the aforementioned resources required to stay in the race, however, not to mention a huge user base to draw on.

Apple already had an ace up its sleeve in the form of new product announcements, and most disturbing to Palm, a new $99 entry price point for a 8GB iPhone. Pre didn’t even get out of the gate and it finds itself a lap behind.

A stellar review would cast a glimmer of hope, however small. But that too doesn’t seem forthcoming. Over the past few days I’ve been checking the early returns, and while okay, they are not exactly earth-shattering. Most praise the operating system and slick multitasking where you can whisk applications to the side with the swipe of a finger. The problem here: BlackBerry, Apple and Google can all easily release incremental improvements to match Palm’s innovation here. But Palm cannot play the same game and match, for example, the extensive app catalog that these three (especially Apple) bring to the table.

It’s nice to see Palm have another moment in the sun. But pragmatically, I don’t see how it can last. Maybe, and hopefully, I’m wrong. Multiple choices increases consumer choice, and ultimately drives innovation and I’m all for that.

Meantime, I’m anxious to get my hands on a Pre soon and will share my thoughts on the actual device itself. Who knows, maybe I’ll be eating my words.

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  • dreamer

    So you haven't even get hands on the phone yet, but just can't wait to bashing Pre???

  • Wasatreofan

    I was a Treo fan, I had 3 different versions in the last 5 years. I always had problems with it freezing up, I would have to take out the battery to re-set at least 2 times a day! I have a Black Berry now and never knew how bad the call quality was until I got my Curve! I hope Palm has come out with a winner, but I'm afraid that like my Treos they all start out great but with heavy use they become useless when you really need a smart phone.

  • that guy

    the tone of this review is a little too conclusive for someone who hasn't even gotten their hands on the phone yet.

  • Allen Strauth

    Um, lets get this straight. When most sane people are saying how dissappointed they are with the iPhone 3G S, and when we were just confirmed that the Palm Pre — before iPhone 3.0 software comes out — was not only competing with both the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3G S.I mean, come on, the iPhone is an amazing phone — both of them. And yes, the iPhone is not going any where. Palm is not trying to kill them — why should they? Apple is a industry mover, an innovator, and now so is Palm. Because the Pre is real and here, your iPhone will be better.Because your iPhone is here, my Pre will be better. And thats all right.<br />
    <br />
    Anyway, I would like to thank you for talking about the Pre. Remember, if we are still talking about the Pre a week after it's release, Palm won. ;-) And your helping with that goal.

  • jefl

    I'm ready to upgrade my HTC touch. I like touchscreen phones and I'm used to them, but I don't know wich phone to get: the Pre or the Curve. Will you give me some advise?

  • dreamer

    So you haven’t even get hands on the phone yet, but just can’t wait to bashing Pre???

    • that guy

      the tone of this review is a little too conclusive for someone who hasn’t even gotten their hands on the phone yet.

  • dreamer

    So you haven’t even get hands on the phone yet, but just can’t wait to bashing Pre???

    • that guy

      the tone of this review is a little too conclusive for someone who hasn’t even gotten their hands on the phone yet.

  • Allen Straith

    You need to look at a couple of things when looking for a new phone. First: touch them. You might love the Curve, until you go to the Sprint store and play with it. You might love the Pre, until you go and feel it. Some people are turned off by the smooth plastic feel. I actually love the smooth plastic feeling; although I am afraid of scratches (I'm going to get a Invisashield/Bodyguardz). So play with them.<br />
    <br />
    Another thing, read every review possible. They might show you something that you wont find until it's too late to turn back. And, the last thing you need to think about, is what do you want to use this phone for? I want to text, do video(s), Internet, twitter, facebook, email — all that good stuff with my phone. The WebOS is built for Internet, just like the Blackberry is famous for email. The keyboard is a big plus for me — I actually like the size factor, like a good amount of people (there are a lot of people who don't). And, personally, I find Blackberry's confusing and a mess to navigate. The idea that the screen isn't a touch screen — which is something you might want to consider — is a huge minus for me.<br />
    <br />
    Anyway, good luck on any device you choose. I'm choosing the Pre later this month, once I find a job…I hate this economy right now.

  • Wasatreofan

    I was a Treo fan, I had 3 different versions in the last 5 years. I always had problems with it freezing up, I would have to take out the battery to re-set at least 2 times a day! I have a Black Berry now and never knew how bad the call quality was until I got my Curve! I hope Palm has come out with a winner, but I’m afraid that like my Treos they all start out great but with heavy use they become useless when you really need a smart phone.

    • jefl

      I’m ready to upgrade my HTC touch. I like touchscreen phones and I’m used to them, but I don’t know wich phone to get: the Pre or the Curve. Will you give me some advise?

      • Allen Straith

        You need to look at a couple of things when looking for a new phone. First: touch them. You might love the Curve, until you go to the Sprint store and play with it. You might love the Pre, until you go and feel it. Some people are turned off by the smooth plastic feel. I actually love the smooth plastic feeling; although I am afraid of scratches (I’m going to get a Invisashield/Bodyguardz). So play with them.

        Another thing, read every review possible. They might show you something that you wont find until it’s too late to turn back. And, the last thing you need to think about, is what do you want to use this phone for? I want to text, do video(s), Internet, twitter, facebook, email — all that good stuff with my phone. The WebOS is built for Internet, just like the Blackberry is famous for email. The keyboard is a big plus for me — I actually like the size factor, like a good amount of people (there are a lot of people who don’t). And, personally, I find Blackberry’s confusing and a mess to navigate. The idea that the screen isn’t a touch screen — which is something you might want to consider — is a huge minus for me.

        Anyway, good luck on any device you choose. I’m choosing the Pre later this month, once I find a job…I hate this economy right now.

  • Wasatreofan

    I was a Treo fan, I had 3 different versions in the last 5 years. I always had problems with it freezing up, I would have to take out the battery to re-set at least 2 times a day! I have a Black Berry now and never knew how bad the call quality was until I got my Curve! I hope Palm has come out with a winner, but I’m afraid that like my Treos they all start out great but with heavy use they become useless when you really need a smart phone.

    • jefl

      I’m ready to upgrade my HTC touch. I like touchscreen phones and I’m used to them, but I don’t know wich phone to get: the Pre or the Curve. Will you give me some advise?

      • Allen Straith

        You need to look at a couple of things when looking for a new phone. First: touch them. You might love the Curve, until you go to the Sprint store and play with it. You might love the Pre, until you go and feel it. Some people are turned off by the smooth plastic feel. I actually love the smooth plastic feeling; although I am afraid of scratches (I’m going to get a Invisashield/Bodyguardz). So play with them.

        Another thing, read every review possible. They might show you something that you wont find until it’s too late to turn back. And, the last thing you need to think about, is what do you want to use this phone for? I want to text, do video(s), Internet, twitter, facebook, email — all that good stuff with my phone. The WebOS is built for Internet, just like the Blackberry is famous for email. The keyboard is a big plus for me — I actually like the size factor, like a good amount of people (there are a lot of people who don’t). And, personally, I find Blackberry’s confusing and a mess to navigate. The idea that the screen isn’t a touch screen — which is something you might want to consider — is a huge minus for me.

        Anyway, good luck on any device you choose. I’m choosing the Pre later this month, once I find a job…I hate this economy right now.

  • John

    Talk about an Apple Fanboi! <br />
    <br />
    First off the Pre doesn't have to beat the iPhone to be successful, infact it probably doesn't have to come close to those sales figure. As an iPhone developer I love the machine however there are weaknesses (or at least decisions that where made that not everyone agrees with).<br />
    <br />
    Choice of carrier. ATT is rubbish (shown by lack of tethering) while Sprint is very good (as far as I'm aware – I don't live in the states)<br />
    Virtual keyboard. Some people just won't buy an iPhone for that reason. <br />
    No background apps, yes it has it's advantages however it does mean somethings just can't be done.<br />
    Performance, the new iPhone 3G s is probably exactly the same as the Pre however most developers will probably still target the original to insure high sales. This could give the Pre an advantage in the future as the Pre hasn't been fragmented.<br />
    <br />
    Oh and as for Google, Android might be a good OS however there hasn't been a really good handset created with it and ALSO when there is it will be a fragmented lineup causing the same issues that Microsoft have while Apple with it's closed platform doesn't have. Their big advantage and weakness too in the desktop.

  • Allen Strauth

    Um, lets get this straight. When most sane people are saying how dissappointed they are with the iPhone 3G S, and when we were just confirmed that the Palm Pre — before iPhone 3.0 software comes out — was not only competing with both the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3G S.I mean, come on, the iPhone is an amazing phone — both of them. And yes, the iPhone is not going any where. Palm is not trying to kill them — why should they? Apple is a industry mover, an innovator, and now so is Palm. Because the Pre is real and here, your iPhone will be better.Because your iPhone is here, my Pre will be better. And thats all right.

    Anyway, I would like to thank you for talking about the Pre. Remember, if we are still talking about the Pre a week after it’s release, Palm won. ;-) And your helping with that goal.

    • Damon

      Well I’ve had the iphone but I do have the Pre and it suck I’m taking back tomorrow the clarity is great and the apps are cool but phone style is crap plus the battery life sucks make sure u pack a charger in the morning cuz you’ll need it by 10am that day

    • Damon

      Well I’ve had the iphone but I do have the Pre and it suck I’m taking back tomorrow the clarity is great and the apps are cool but phone style is crap plus the battery life sucks make sure u pack a charger in the morning cuz you’ll need it by 10am that day

  • Allen Strauth

    Um, lets get this straight. When most sane people are saying how dissappointed they are with the iPhone 3G S, and when we were just confirmed that the Palm Pre — before iPhone 3.0 software comes out — was not only competing with both the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3G S.I mean, come on, the iPhone is an amazing phone — both of them. And yes, the iPhone is not going any where. Palm is not trying to kill them — why should they? Apple is a industry mover, an innovator, and now so is Palm. Because the Pre is real and here, your iPhone will be better.Because your iPhone is here, my Pre will be better. And thats all right.

    Anyway, I would like to thank you for talking about the Pre. Remember, if we are still talking about the Pre a week after it’s release, Palm won. ;-) And your helping with that goal.

    • Damon

      Well I’ve had the iphone but I do have the Pre and it suck I’m taking back tomorrow the clarity is great and the apps are cool but phone style is crap plus the battery life sucks make sure u pack a charger in the morning cuz you’ll need it by 10am that day

  • John

    Talk about an Apple Fanboi!

    First off the Pre doesn’t have to beat the iPhone to be successful, infact it probably doesn’t have to come close to those sales figure. As an iPhone developer I love the machine however there are weaknesses (or at least decisions that where made that not everyone agrees with).

    Choice of carrier. ATT is rubbish (shown by lack of tethering) while Sprint is very good (as far as I’m aware – I don’t live in the states)
    Virtual keyboard. Some people just won’t buy an iPhone for that reason.
    No background apps, yes it has it’s advantages however it does mean somethings just can’t be done.
    Performance, the new iPhone 3G s is probably exactly the same as the Pre however most developers will probably still target the original to insure high sales. This could give the Pre an advantage in the future as the Pre hasn’t been fragmented.

    Oh and as for Google, Android might be a good OS however there hasn’t been a really good handset created with it and ALSO when there is it will be a fragmented lineup causing the same issues that Microsoft have while Apple with it’s closed platform doesn’t have. Their big advantage and weakness too in the desktop.

  • John

    Talk about an Apple Fanboi!

    First off the Pre doesn’t have to beat the iPhone to be successful, infact it probably doesn’t have to come close to those sales figure. As an iPhone developer I love the machine however there are weaknesses (or at least decisions that where made that not everyone agrees with).

    Choice of carrier. ATT is rubbish (shown by lack of tethering) while Sprint is very good (as far as I’m aware – I don’t live in the states)
    Virtual keyboard. Some people just won’t buy an iPhone for that reason.
    No background apps, yes it has it’s advantages however it does mean somethings just can’t be done.
    Performance, the new iPhone 3G s is probably exactly the same as the Pre however most developers will probably still target the original to insure high sales. This could give the Pre an advantage in the future as the Pre hasn’t been fragmented.

    Oh and as for Google, Android might be a good OS however there hasn’t been a really good handset created with it and ALSO when there is it will be a fragmented lineup causing the same issues that Microsoft have while Apple with it’s closed platform doesn’t have. Their big advantage and weakness too in the desktop.

  • Damon

    Well I've had the iphone but I do have the Pre and it suck I'm taking back tomorrow the clarity is great and the apps are cool but phone style is crap plus the battery life sucks make sure u pack a charger in the morning cuz you'll need it by 10am that day