Post “Pre” Hype: Pre is NOT an iPhone Killer

(image via engadget)

I was truly baffled by the buzz surrounding Palm’s Pre.

During the keynote I was glued to my computer reading liveblogs, refreshing every second for new images, while watching Robert (Scoble)’s stream.

  • First impression: Laughable.
    Maybe the Pre is not photogenic but it’s… well… ugly.
  • Second impression: It multi-tasks, has a removable battery, cut and paste, a touch screen… ok? That’s nothing new or revolutionary. Touchstone (the wireless charger) is nice, but that’s… it?
  • Third impression: Dev tid-bits — webOS, HTML, CSS, JS… ok? So it uses a different technology. Uh, and? Oh, it’s on Sprint. That’s nice.

Then the updates halted and people like me who weren’t at the keynote were left baffled. Why Pre was already: “Amazing.” “Simply Amazing” “Palm is Back” “iPhone Killer” etc., etc., crowned the show stealer from trusted reporters of the tech industry and its stock jumping 35% was beyond me. With one demo there’s this much buzz?

WHY?!

Where are the answer to questions like: Will there be third party application? Where is the App Store?  What is this Web-based OS? Would we be able to access the apps even while we’re not online? What about performance? Can the hardware actually keep up? Where are the technical specifications? Developer’s documentations?  HUH? How is this going to work?

What sets it aside from the rest of the handsets??

The unanswered questions were driving me crazy. Palm’s site was too vague. All my sources were still at CES and didn’t write about it. Over the past few days, details were slowly released and watching the keynote (legally available online)  for the upteenth time, I finally understood: Seeing is believing, and what I saw, made me believe.

Palm Pre deserves the hype.

There will be an App Store, the OS and apps will be usable offline but frankly? After watching the demo, it shed light on why everyone was so vague, and why the people at CES weren’t asking the questions we in front of our computers were asking. If Pre does all the things shown in the demo — out of the box, a lot of those questions are irrelevant. Because the platform is a webOS, it collects and stores everything into one place, always updated, and easily accessible.

So what does this mean?

  1. Universal contact list.
    All contacts from all your accounts (corporate exchange email, webmail ie: Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, and the likes) will be in one place.
  2. Calendar.
    No more daily synching with desktops/laptops, since your calendar is web based, it will be always updated and collected in one place.
  3. Messaging.
    Instant messaging via chat clients (AIM, Gtalk, MSN, etc) and SMSs are consolidated in one place, your phone, and accessible at any time. If a contact is available by say – Gtalk, wouldn’t it be quicker to IM in lieu of SMSing? And the best part is SMSes and IMs are threaded together and collected in one place.
  4. Open access (dev stand-point)
    Third party applications will be supported Developers will be able to access almost all of the phone’s innards (for a lack of a better term) which makes it open access.

Wow.  3/4 of the applications loaded on my iPhone are apps that help me stay informed, connected, and organized. Pre fulfills needs the iPhone fails to enable: efficient data management.

But does this make it an iPhone killer? No.
Open access will enable developers to tap right into the phone’s core to access data. Read: boring adult stuff. So most likely, the graphically intense entertainment apps that we see for iPhones are not going to happen right at launch. Think Android (nerdy practical phone) in a more appealing package. Given the current mobile market (iPhone still has no push and power business users stick with anything but the iPhone) the Palm Pre’s competition will be RIM and Android. Pre and iPhone are targeted towards different users (at this time)

Enough with raves and excitement. See it to believe it.

IMPORTANT: Please keep in mind Palm’s WebOS is “Nova”. The Pre is the first handset that runs Nova. (sorry, a personal pet peeve)

15 thoughts on “Post “Pre” Hype: Pre is NOT an iPhone Killer

  1. I think I would agree the Pre is not an iPhone killer in general. How do you figure the target market is different though?

    Do you believe the iPhone is built for the “prosumer” while the Pre is going to be focused more around business professionals? I’m just curious.

  2. Of course, it doesn’t *need* to be an iPhone killer. From Palm’s perspective, it needs to get them back in the game. From ours, it’s some very fresh thinking that will influence other phones. WIN.

  3. The palm pre has some features the iphone doesnt and vice-versa. The palm pre is just a hype. its no iphone killer. although if it was a free phone with a two year contract, i would buy it. other than that. no thank you.

  4. Ken: At this time, the iPhone doesn’t have the rudimentary features and functions power business users need: efficient hardware performance (processor, battery life), multi-tasking capabilities (PUSH SKD), and the ability to manage data. At this time, the Pre will fulfill those needs.

    Until Apple rolls out those features, it’s too soon to deem Pre “iPhone Killer” – did you read my post? LOL

  5. Mona, Yep, I got the part about efficient data management… maybe I missed the other points ;-) I also do get that I would tend to think of Apple products in an entertainment venue before thinking of it as business venue… even thought there is some overlap. Thank you for your clarification as I wanted to better understand your perspective.

    Chris, I do tend to agree with you as well. I love that it takes what I love about my Touch and my BlackBerry and pushes past that…

  6. As I said before. Palm is completely dead here in Sweden and most of Europe. Frankly I thought they were gone, but it’s nice to see they’re not I guess. This seems to be a reasonable smart product, but nothing that justifies the initial hype and it’s certainly no iPhone killer.

  7. I don’t think the Pre wants to be stereotyped as the “iPhone Killer”. Unfortunately, everything touch screen and new release mobiles are being set into that stereotype.

    Hoorah for marketing! :D

  8. I dont agree with the iPhone not being a hard core business phone. With OS 2.0 iPhone integrates with Exchange’s PUSH Email service including shared contacts, calenders and email all updated invisibly and continously. I am a mobile developer and have used and developed for ever major smartphone and the iPhone is by far the best business phone period. Better then Windows Mobile (say the ATT Tilt), Palm Treo, and IMHO, BB. It “Just Works” and it works extremely well. Business are adopting it, faster and faster every day as IT figures out it cant stop the flood its opening the gates. I cant release figures, but in my day job developing mobile device software, our business users adopted the iPhone in such overwhelming numbers that it has completely changed our company direction to its core.

    The Pre might do that, it might not. I still dont see the big deal with the Pre, the Web/OS, IMHO, is a negative not a plus, but time will tell.

    But saying the iPhone isnt being targeted or adopted by business is completely wrong.

  9. @David
    While I agree the iPhone is a solid business phone for Exchange users (it’s my Phone of choice), the BB Bold is has a lot over it in terms of Exchange integration (out of office notificaiton, creating appointments with invitee calendar view, searching email, etc). The search bit is solved in the iPhone OS 3.0 update, but it will remain to be seen if Apple integrates more ActiveSync features to make it a truly feature-rich Exchange client.

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