Pre: Palm's got skills, but will they pay the bills?

Discussion in 'Apple' started by DaveF, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    My first PDA was a Palm-based Sony Clie, bought six years ago, and I was hooked immediately. I replaced it a year later -- they don't bounce well on asphalt -- with a Palm Zire 72, and it's lasted me five more years. But unfortunately Palm effectively stopped hardware and software development five years ago with the Zire lineup. And compared to the iPhone today, the Palm is cro-magnon. I need a new PDA but there's nothing reasonable for a guy like me. So I wait.

    Last summer a friend and Palm advocate (who helped me with my first Palm) told me Palm had a killer new OS coming. I was skeptical, to be kind, having given up on Palm as mostly dead.

    But then comes the Pre announcement! First, the introduction webpage shows some promising features, especially ones the iPhone still lacks: copy and paste, system wide search, turn-by-turn GPS, quality camera.

    But it's still promises and pixie dust. Then I see the CES demo video. Boy, this is starting to look good. They are definitely trying to take the best of the old Palm concepts and the best of the new iPhone features and advance the whole system for general users. And I'm beginning to be swayed: Palm might have a killer new system. Not an iPhone killer, but hopefully real competition.

    The downside is they copied the iPhone's worst trait: locked to a single carrier; Sprint in this case. ((sigh) Hopefully poor ol' Verizon will get a good smartphone someday.)

    But this might really be a quality new system from Palm. What do you think about it?

    Pre webpage

    Palm CES Launch Demo
     
  2. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Cinematographer

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    Until the Pre ships and actually works, it is hard to say anything. Since it is Webkit based the internet browsing experience should be good. But third party Apps will be essentially limited to what the iPhone had before the SDK: interpreted stuff (like JavaScript) running on top of Webkit. Yes some cool stuff can be done that way, but it will be more limited, slower and less powerful that the post SDK iPhone.

    IMO so far the only technologically speaking viable competition for the iPhone is Android, but all the current hardware running Android is poor. I don't see Pre attracting too many developers.

    Also, since you're a Palm fan, keep in mind that the Pre has nothing in common with prior Palm devices other than the name. No Palm OS software will run on it.
     
  3. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I think they are far more than that: it sounds like they will have access to the hardware and interact with the gesture and notification system. But this is a worry: interpreted code is never as fast as compiled. A gaming machine this is not.

    I once was a Palm fan. Not anymore. But this is quite interesting, the need to buy all new programs notwithstanding.

    What's exciting, after watching the demo, is that whereas the iPhone is its own interesting beast, the Pre is a PDA through and through.
     
  4. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Two big strikes for me:
    -Sprint only
    -Lack of real development environment, um that didnt work out so hot for Apple developers, did it. Don't expect any good games for example. Interpreted/Javascript is a non starter.

    Love the replaceable battery and the integrated storage AND add in cards tho. I know why Apple doesnt do those but that doesnt mean I agree. I have little interest in getting a Pre (dumb name) for myself but it will put some pressure on Apple to keep ahead of the pack. Speaking of the dumb name, the name itself seems designed as a self destruct sequence, Pre to what? As soon as something better comes along you are going to want to upgrade to that?
     
  5. Michael_K_Sr

    Michael_K_Sr Screenwriter

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    I'm eager to have a look at the Pre. I had Treos for four years and they were real workhorses even if the OS was long in the tooth. And I definitely welcome it being released initially by Sprint. My Treos had superb nationwide coverage under Sprint (and fast EVDO speeds to boot.) AT&T is an abomination that I would dearly love to rid myself of. Just need the right device to replace my iPhone with.
     
  6. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    I have been using Sprint for years and in the middle of the country it is the best service. I still like CDMA vs GSM anyway as far as service and connection is concerned. I have never had an issue with the phone not connecting due to poor or no service no matter where I go. I will give this new Palm a good looking over when it comes out for sure.
     
  7. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Cinematographer

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    Fascinating Business week article about iPhone app store development.

    In view of the App store announcing their 500 millionth download, most developers are no longer interested in supporting any platform but the iPhone. One quote from the article:
    This of course doesn't even go into how much less painful it is to develop and distribute for the iPhone vs. other platforms where you have to make deals with individual carriers as well as using inferior development tools and APIs, multiple incompatible hardware, etc.
     
  8. ErichH

    ErichH Screenwriter

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  9. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I'm seeing positive pre-release info on the Pre.
    Boy Genius loves initial experience
    All Things D has appealing demo
    Palm Pre connects to iTunes for music management
    Verizon will have Pre, maybe this year?


    It's that last bit, that Verizon will have the Pre, that's most interesting to me. The iPhone, for all its greatness, is still only on AT&T and is likely to be locked there for two more years. The Pre could be on the largest carrier by next year and be available to a far larger market than the iPhone soon. And there's no reason to think it wouldn't also be on AT&T shortly.

    If the Pre is competent, it could tap into the market that wants an iPhone but won't switch to AT&T. A market that I think is is large; I think there's a lot of people like me that are late adopters, want an iPhone-like device (not a sucky Blackberry Storm) but are not going to switch to AT&T for it. If the Pre gets a piece of that, it could be reasonably successful.

    Six months ago, I thought Palm a dinosour refusing to admit its own extinction. Now, I'm excited about the Pre and looking forward to the release reviews.
     
  10. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    I still think Palm is dead man walking and Pre doomed itself by launching on Sprint.
     
  11. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Reviews are rolling in. On the whole, positive comments. We'll see if they actually sell any. It's going to be interesting seeing, for the first time (?), a competent iPhone competitor, and not a half-baked touch interface smashed onto 10-year old technology (Storm). Better, the Pre has different design goals than the iPhone. I hope it succeeds. This might be my wife's next phone.

    David Pogue at NYT
     
  12. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Cinematographer

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    Definitely sounds like it has potential. Unfortunately we have another BB Storm on our hands -- launched prematurely due to efforts to beat an arbitrary deadline (in this case the iPhone 3.0 launch):

    Mossberg:
    There have been how many official reviews out -- five? So 20% of the time disaster occurs. Imagine the reaction when at least 20% of early buyer hit this bug (I say at least, because they don't send back their phones after a few days the way reviewers do, they keep using them).

    What's more the, whole disaster may have been avoided by not offering ANY apps at release, and simply promising an App Store later. By insisting on the "see, we have an app store too" checkbox, Palm may have written their death sentence.
     
  13. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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  14. Shane D

    Shane D Supporting Actor

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    i've not read this entire thread, but has anyone mentioned that on ars they are saying that the itunes compatiblity is from a hacked driver making it look like a ipod to itunes?
     
  15. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Yes. Hackity hack hack. And likely to cause apples ire but not technically illegal.
     
  16. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Cinematographer

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    Perfectly legal, and also supremely easy for Apple to break in 8.2.1 (see Daring Fireball for the details).

    Not smart on Palm's part. What do they tell all their customers a week from now -- sorry but big bad mean Apple broke it.

    Although my guess is Apple won't even bother. Sprint's CEO was just quoted by Appleinsider as saying that Verizon's claim that they will get the Pre in 6 months is lie. Between that and iPhone 3.0 hitting soon, El Jobso's Apple return imminent (see WSJ) I think that the Pre will be forgotten by Tuesday.
     
  17. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I just saw the article about Pre's exclusivity with Sprint being longer than six months and groaned a little. If so, I think that's Palm digging their own grave. Is Sprint the least of the three networks?

    But, it might be seven months...Sprint doesn't want Verizon customers to think they can just wait a few more months to get the Pre at V. They want network switchers. They also do want a drop in stock price from a minimal exclusivity deal.

    It's going to be interesting. The Pre reviews have all been very positive. It has weaknesses, but I think this is no comparison the the Storm. The Storm appears to be a shellacking of Blackberry; a crude touch interface on an old foundation not meant for touch. The Pre, like iPhone, is a from-the-ground-up modern design built for touch; and built well.
     
  18. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Wow! Can you imagine a company with a nascent new smartphone not wholeheartedly embracing the developer community from day one? That would be disastrous. Palm should take notice from the iPhone's first-year failure.
     
  19. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    The problem that Pre is going to have is that the iPhone 3.0 firmware will address most of the software advantages it currently has over the iPhone ("cut-and-paste, multi-tasking, and so forth); while the new next-generation "iPhone Video" (available in July) will address most of the hardware advantages (better camera,"turn-by-turn" enhanced GPS features, and so on). The only advantage that the Pre will be left with after the launch of the 'iPhone Video" will be the integrated physical keyboard.

    Add to all of that the fact that the iPhone currently has an application library that numbers around 35,000 compared to the Pre's dozen, and it just doesn't seem likely that the Pre will have much of a chance in the marketplace.

    The Pre needed to come out in January. Launching within days of a new firmware release for the iPhone and within a month of a next-generation iPhone -- while locking the carrier to Sprint for the first six months -- was suicide for the device.
     
  20. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Are there any #s on the switcher rate for the iPhone? I think the analyses I've read ignore, wrongfully, phone company lock-in.

    What's with Verizon? How has it missed both of the significant new phones? Are they intentionally trying to destroy carrier lock-in?

    Every analysis compares iPhone & Pre to the Blackberry. Does anyone buy a Blackberry for personal use? I've never seen a BlackBerry bought except on corporate dollars. iPhone and Pre are currently not "corporate" phones; it seems pointless to compare them to the Blackberry (and vice versa) as they have totally different audiences.
     

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