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Apple Should Take Notice of the Palm Pre

In what was believed to be Palm’s last chance to compete in the mobile industry, Palm unveiled a brand new device called the Palm Pre alongside a new operating system which they call Palm web OS. The device was announced and shown off during Palm’s press gathering at CES and initial reactions are very positive.

preBack in December, we reported about some circulating rumors that Palm would be unveiling some brand new hardware alongside a completely revamped operating system at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The rumors and speculation were true, and Palm did in fact release a new device called the Palm Pre as well as a brand new operating system which they call Palm webOS.

“Palm products have always been about simplifying lives and delivering great user experiences,” said Ed Colligan, Palm president and chief executive officer. “webOS and Pre bring game-changing simplicity to an increasingly mobile world by dissolving the barriers that surround your information. It’s technology that seems like it’s thinking ahead to bring you what you care about most – your people, your time, and your information – in the easiest and most seamless way.”

The brand new device packs some familiar features, as well as some new features that Palm thinks could sway consumers into purchasing the Pre over competing smartphones. During Palm’s press event at CES, which a few websites diligently covered for those not in attendance, the company made it a point to remind everyone that they are a mobile company. They don’t focus on computers, televisions or screens, they focus on the mobile market, that is where their roots lie. The Palm Pre is their foray back into the mobile industry after a few years of seemingly below average offerings.

Helping Palm re-establish themselves as a major player in the game are a few key executives. “Among them Jon Rubinstein, who was crucial in the development of the iPod, Paul Mercer, a former Apple engineer, and Lynn Fox, former head of Mac Public Relations. Over the last year or so, there have been nearly no leaks or rumors surrounding Palm’s future plans, which is the way Apple wishes it could be for them. Even though Palm should welcome the idea of free publicity, if these former Apple employees are influencing the company, then being tight-lipped is a must,” MacBlogz previously explained.

The Pre sports a big, vibrant 3.1-inch touch screen with 24-bit color 320×480 resolution, and supports pictures, video playback, and music among many other features such as Wi-Fi 802.11b/g, GPS, 3-megapixel camera with LED flash, 8GB storage, an accelerometer, slide-out QWERTY keyboard, bluetooth 2.1 and a user removable and replaceable battery.

shipping boxThis brings three truly unique competitors to market. First the iPhone which has changed the mobile industry and flipped it on its head. With the iPhone, Apple changed the game forever, period. Next we have the T-Mobile G1 running Google’s open source mobile OS Android, a device which is unique to its situation. It runs an open source operating system that Google has developed (pretty much) from the ground up. And now we have the Palm Pre. These three devices are each unique to what they try and accomplish and what their fundamental goals are.

It’s no secret that Apple’s multi-touch technology makes everything else seem a few years behind, and up until now no company has attempted to directly recreate some of the exact gestures the iPhone is known for. When Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone at Macworld 2007, in regards to the multi-touch technology he proclaimed, “…and boy have we patented it.” Whether competitors have feared Apple’s aggressive legal team in defending these patents or not, we haven’t seen much public competition in the multi-touch gesture area, until now.

Like it or not, Apple needs to perk up and pay attention to what Palm has going on here. It’s not another imitator labeled “iPhone killer” in the hopes of attracting attention. What Palm is bringing here is innovative technology and a new way of doing things. Clearly they are trying to reinvent themselves, and the Palm Pre is definitely a step in the right direction. The Pre is a device that Apple should clearly notice. But who are we kidding, they’ve probably been following Palm’s announcements closer than we have.

Comments [11]

11 Comments to “Apple Should Take Notice of the Palm Pre”

jojo22 @ January 9th, 2009 at 12:46 pm
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Agreed. Good article. Apple definitely needs to take notice of the Pre. It’s not another joke, Palm is a great company and they are going back to their root focus… Mobility.

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CapnVan @ January 11th, 2009 at 4:07 am
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“Palm is a great company”?
Correction: Palm used to be an interesting company, four or five years ago. They’ve shipped nothing innovative since then.

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Jh @ January 12th, 2009 at 1:57 pm
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You’re a fool!!!

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Jh @ January 12th, 2009 at 1:58 pm
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As in Apple needs to take notice.. Everyone is copying the iPhone.

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Aviv @ January 9th, 2009 at 12:51 pm
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Hey jojo, haven’t heard from you in a few days. Anyways, you’re right. I truly think that Palm is making a resurgence with the Pre. Although part of me thinks we’re going to see a serious lawsuit come of some of the multi-touch gestures Palm has implemented.

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moby @ January 9th, 2009 at 12:55 pm
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check out this video of Palm’s long-haired horse looking investor explaining what seems like the most useless features ever: http://www.alleyinsider.com/2009/1/palm-investor-shows-off-pre-smartphone-on-cnbc-palm

PS: you guys are caught up in the QWERT keyboard and the screen’s resolution. This phone is bleh.

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D9 @ January 9th, 2009 at 1:24 pm
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blah, blah, blah…

So what exactly does this article tell us is setting the Palm Pre apart from Android or the iPhone or for that matter any smartphone. I see a few features but nothing revolutionary. What is the big deal with Pre? Certainly didn’t ascertain it from this article.

(FYI…I’m not trying to be sarcastic or some fanboy for the others…I’m just not reading what is substantial to this Palm offering)

/

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Aviv @ January 9th, 2009 at 1:27 pm
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D9, until we get to spend a few days or weeks with the Pre, it’s going to be hard to directly compare usability. But when zooming out and looking at the mobile industry, it seems that Palm has introduced a truly genuine competitor.

Something that doesn’t need to be ridiculously compared to the iPhone over and over again. But more so something that Apple should take notice to and innovate against.

I for one and extremely relieved to see some healthy competition in this space.

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Ryan @ January 10th, 2009 at 4:05 pm
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Am I the only one who thinks we might see a completely redesigned iPhone, or at the very least the next major revision of the iPhone OS (3.0) by the time the Pre actually ships?

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Aviv @ January 10th, 2009 at 4:07 pm
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@Ryan: Unless they announce a release date for this thing, the “delayed release hype” will overshadow the actual device. Unveiling a product with absolutely no release date in mind is kind of a low-brow move. “Hey! Everyone! Look at this prototype you can’t buy!”

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sloane @ January 29th, 2009 at 4:13 pm
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From what I read on Wired, it sounds like Apple may be devoting the bulk of its upgrade to its next version of the iPhone (2.x) to better gaming capacities.

Brand expert John Tantillo named Apple last week’s ‘brand winner’ (Microsoft was named the loser), specifically citing the fact that Apple, unlike Microsoft, pays attention to its Target Market and what it wants.

If Apple does allow the iPhone to evolve in the direction of gaming (rather than creating One version that improves options for gamers), I could see the Pre catching up with the iPhone–depending on what they plan to offer in future versions.

I don’t doubt that improved options for gamers may fit into an interest of some consumers (although I think that serious gamers would prefer playing at home, with a large TV screen, for hours on end..) – but IF this constitutes the main change in the evolution of the current iphone to the next version, I think that Apple will actually be ignoring the great part of its target market (non-gamers, yes, but also specifically Women.)
Tantillo actually had a post a while back on women as consumers of electronics–and how companies such as Best Buy had ignored these consumers and had started to mend their ways. Apple would be wise not to make the same sorts of mistakes.

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