Palm reviewers: The Pre has a puncher's chance

Palm reviewers: The Pre has a puncher's chance

Summary: Palm's Pre isn't going to topple the iPhone this weekend, but the device has a puncher's chance to be a threat in the smartphone market, according to a bevy of reviews. Palm's Pre makes its debut for the masses on Monday.


Palm's Pre isn't going to topple the iPhone this weekend, but the device has a puncher's chance to be a threat in the smartphone market, according to a bevy of reviews. Palm's Pre makes its debut for the masses on Monday.  

Here's the roundup---of the bunch I'd rate Engadget's review best---and the notable takes:

And the eye candy:

Palm Pre screenshots (right)

Hardware bottom right

The key takeaways:


  • The WebOS;
  • The Card navigation metaphor;
  • The hardware, which Engadget calls stunning;
  • A sweet camera interface;
  • A strong browser;
  • Integration of all your contacts and messages.

On the fence:

The keyboard: Do you need one?


  • Only a dozen apps;
  • An app store that's in beta (at best);
  • It's a bit chunky;
  • The Pre is only on Sprint;
  • There will be limited supplies.

Overall, Palm's reception has been warm. Now the fun really begins. 
Roll the video:

Topics: Smartphones, Browser, Hardware, Mobility

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  • Look at the negatives listed...

    ... and you will see only one of them is permanent. It is a bit chunky, compared to other smartphones. All of the others are quite temporary. There will be more apps, the app site will grow, it will be on more networks, etc. I love Apple, even though I don't own an iPhone and no longer have a Mac, but I also love Palm, and I hope that they are back for the long run. I can't wait until the GSM version comes out later this year so I can replace my trusty, but dated, Centro.
    • re: Negatives

      [i]Look at the negatives listed... and you will see only one of them is permanent.[/i]

      Hopefully, the fact that it's only available from one carrier won't last long. I would have thought Palm would have learned from others mistakes on that one.
      • Verizon is next

        Verizon gets the next WebOS phone. Sprint only has a lock for 2009.
        • And...

          ... and AT&T is reported to be interested in the GSM version when available.
          • Yep!

            And I am one of those weirdos that loves the service I have received from ATT, both in signal strength/quality AND (believe it, or not) customer service representatives.
    • Only a dozen apps?

      Quite frankly, most of the negatives feel like quibbles. Only a dozen apps? How often will the average person be running a dozen apps? Really. Maybe a calendar (1), a two or three e-mails (3), Pandora (1), App-store (1), and a few browser pages (3). That takes it up to 9 open applications (if you count the browser and e-mails separately). It's got multi-tasking! Only a dozen open apps is not a weakness. It's an enormous strength.
      Rob Oakes
  • "The Card navigation metaphor"

    Concept sounds much like Apple's Hypercard.


    "HyperCard was based on the concept of a "stack" of virtual "cards." Cards hold data, just as they would in a rolodex."

    A coincidence that ex-Apple employee Jon Rubenstein is the Palm president?
    • Concept sounds much like Apple's Hypercard.

      It's not... HyperCard was not a visual metaphor for moving between open applications.
    • Wow! :)

      I had completely forgotten about HyperCard. I loved that when it first came out; I even did a project on it during my master's program in '91! It was so cool, for the time.
  • A day late and a dollar short, probably...

    Are you kidding me??? "Limited supplies"? Palm needs to hit a home run here. It's the bottom of the ninth and they're down eight runs. This is no time to screw things up, especially on availability.

    Android has the chance to be the winner here, if the Pre turns out to be more hype than substance, particularly for folks wanting an alternative to AT&T or the iPhone platform.
    • Android is an OS, not a device

      How can you compare the Pre (a device) with Android (an OS)?

      People keep making this comparison and there is no sense to it.

      • True

        In a few months there are going to be a lot of different smart phones running android some much better than others but every phone company should be able to offer you something which very well could mean more phones will be running android that anything else.
      • Android

        At this time most folks referring to Android and *not* meaning the OS clearly mean to be referring to the T-Mobile G1, the first Android *phone*.

        But you knew that, I bet, and just wanted to be a hair-splitter :-) .
    • Cautious Play Good Move

      While the instinctive response is that Palm needs to hit a home run, it seems they are learning from the mistakes of the RAZR and other popular phones of recent times.

      Those phones launched with too many on the market, leaving the companies being practically required to give them away, in some cases, below cost of production.

      Palm has wisely decided to tune its production to match the apparent demand, thus permitting them to sell the phone AND stay in business at the same time.

      They don't have any more cat-lives in the bag. They cannot afford to blow their wad on this one. If they do not return a profit on the Pre, news on the street is they will go under.

      So oversupply would be a death trap for them, if the street info is accurate.

      Cautious, customer-focused attention to supply is wise for them. They cannot afford the mistake of selling themselves out.

      Two cents and all that rot. December 22nd, 2012, we'll see if Palm is still in business.

      I hope they are. I love my pocket nag (Palm Centro) and I'm looking for anything that can top it. Haven't found one yet. And I've tested nearly everything on the market right now.

      Crossing fingers...
      • Taking a page from Apple's book

        This is marketing 101. You launch with too few in stores to create buzz and desire, then slowly feed the channel to keep that drive alive. My one deal-killer: I'm holding out for video capability, which I hear is not on the launch product.
  • As I said before the "card" system is a step backwards.

    First let me say I LIKE Palm and LIKE the Pre. Second let me say I think the Pre is better than the IPhone. Third let me say the IPhone was toppled by Android and is about to be toppled again on June 6th. So please don't take this the wrong way Palm fans.

    I believe Android got it right with multi-tasking by taking resource management away from the user. And what I suspected was confirmed right there in the Engadget article. Palm suggest you start closing apps at around 8 or so and people probably aren't going to do that. Some people are going to open a bunch of apps and leave them open and then complain that the phone is slow.

    Now I notice they said they got like 12 open without a problem and thats good. I was afraid that once the reviewers got their hands on one they would open up apps without closing and end up making the thing drag. But thats also just the launch apps. What happens when more complex apps come along.
    • start closing apps at around 8

      First, I'll be picking up a Pre as soon as I can.

      "...start closing apps at around 8..."

      This works the same way as a normal computer.
      For instance, I have 11 applications running on my PC right now (more if you count browser tabs).
      But, there will be a point where I won't be able to load anything else into system memory.

      "Now I notice they said they got like 12 open without a problem..."

      They mentioned there were 12 apps in the beta app store right now for launch, not that they were running them all at once. =P
      (and I'm not saying it can't do that either).

      But again with the complex apps, that's how it works now on a PC. I can run my 11 apps, but if I open up Adobe Photoshop, something has got to give.

      There would also be a point where too many open apps would be counter productive to multi-tasking.

      • The difference here... that you aren't expecting your PC to receive phone calls which is also an app in the background and could be affected by having too many apps open. I think the behind the scenes app management is the way to go on smartphones.
  • RE: Palm reviewers: The Pre has a puncher's chance

    It looks like a valid alternative to an Iphone that doesn't require you have AT&T.

    Being locked to one phone company is a killer all by itself for any phone. You have limited your market share.
    • Locked to one phone company

      Kinda makes you wonder why Palm locked itself to one company, then,
      doesn't it? As a previous poster pointed out, Palm should have learned
      from others' mistakes.