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Palm Pre vs iPhone: Pre Emerges Bloodied but Victorious

Palm Pre vs iPhoneGadget blog Gizmodo has wasted no time in getting on with the inevitable smartphone comparison contests, recently running a piece comparing Palm's precocious new Pre against its Apple-born arch-nemesis. The Pre does amazingly well, with the Pre/iPhone scoreboard finishing up at 10-5. While some of their calls are a bit iffy - especially iPhone winning the "keyboard" category - it's worth a read and reinforces just what a giant leap Palm's New-ness has turned out to be for the company. Oh, and the G1 turned up as well, for all the good it did it.

Hit the jump for Gizmodo's category list, along with PIC's own commentary.

Multi-touch Touchscreen / Gesture Control

Giz: iPhone/Pre draw
PIC: Pre

While Gizmodo has reservations about the out-of-the-box learning curve on Pre's gesture navigation, I harbour no such doubts: Palm has delivered a genuinely innovative new UI that promises to cut down on the number of on-screen buttons and make mobile control simpler than ever before.

Multitasking

Giz: Pre
PIC: Pre

No arguments here: the new deck-of-cards UI metaphor should prove a boon for multitasking.

Palm Pre vs iPhone

Hardware

Giz: iPhone
PIC: iPhone/Pre draw

Gizmodo reckons that QWERTY phones still haven't touched the iPhone in terms of "pure sex", but I find the smooth, slidy banana curve of the Pre far more appealing than the whole sleek-brick thing that iPhone's got happening.

Development Platform

Giz: Pre - maybe
PIC: Time will tell

Without more hands-on reviews from developers, it's simply too early to tell whether or not the Palm webOS's web-centric development environment will allow developers to fully tap the potential. Early reports are promising but short on detail.

Web Integration

Giz: Pre
PIC: Pre

With its smart integration of web PIM data, and the combination of IM, SMS and email chat, Pre wins by a country mile.

App Store/Developer Community

Giz: iPhone
PIC: iPhone

I've long held that Palm should come up with an excellent desktop-based app store that allows you to manage the software on your phone with a few simple clicks, but they seem intent on cutting the desktop out of the loop altogether. We'll have to see how it turns out, but in the meantime Apple's got a lot of developers beavering away on their platform and a great method of managing and browsing apps on the comfort of a real computer.

Wireless charger

Giz: Pre
PIC: Pre

It's a technology that's been long-promised but never delivered. That Palm are the first to make the leap - even though it remains an optional accessory - gives them an easy point.

The Network: Sprint vs. AT&T

Giz: Sprint/Pre
PIC: AT&T/iPhone

Gizmodo did a nation-wide test of 3G coverage and found Sprint the victors, but AT&T get the nod from us due to their world-standard GSM network which allows you to take your phone anywhere you please. And as Ryan put it: Sprint are the "Wal-Mart" of U.S. telcos.

Physical Keyboard

Giz: iPhone
PIC: Pre

As Gizmodo says: it comes down to preference. Mine is with buttons you can actually touch. Plus, a permanently available physical keyboard enables the Palm webOS to offer universal find-as-you-type, an superbly useful feature.

Palm Pre

Camera

Giz: Pre
PIC: Pre

Pre has a flash and more megapixels. Win. Win.

Battery

Giz: Pre
PIC: Pre

Pre's removable battery makes it the winner - even if its lifespan is still somewhat suspect at this point.

Copy & Paste

Giz: Pre
PIC: Pre

Two years later and Apple still can't figure it out. Insane.

Browser

Giz: Tie
PIC: Tie

Both devices feature multitouch, smart rotation and WebKit. Pre's may edge out eventually as we learn more details as it supports a number of more advanced features found in HTML5 and CSS3.

When you break it down, it's hard to deny that Palm has put out an amazing device. Of course we'll do our own proper comparison just as soon as we can get out hands on a Pre...

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HTC's latest claim

kilf @ 1/12/2009 11:56:29 AM # Q
Interestingly, HTC are already saying that their next device will be a "Palm Pre" beater, rather than the now-traditional "iPhone beater" that phone -makers normally bullshit about.


See here:
http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2009/01/12/htc-our-new-phone-wi.html

RE: HTC's latest claim
mikecane @ 1/12/2009 11:58:43 AM # Q
RE: HTC's latest claim
Piero @ 1/12/2009 12:31:59 PM # Q
Maybe i'll get a Nokia Internet Tablet which has Garnet VM..... and some other phone. Anyone has hands on experience with the tablet?

RE: HTC's latest claim
mikecane @ 1/12/2009 12:59:34 PM # Q
Oh, Christ. Stay away from Nokia's POS. Besides, they are allegedly working on yet *another* iteration of Maemo - which will probably *again* necessitate a hardware change.

You'd be better off with a low-end iPod Touch. Even a used/refurb one, if you don't want to spend much $.

RE: HTC's latest claim
oronzous @ 1/12/2009 2:45:10 PM # Q
i have one of those Nokia IT. the Garnet virtual machine is frustrating at best.

And the device itself is not that useful or entertaining.

RE: HTC's latest claim
Piero @ 1/12/2009 5:54:05 PM # Q
Ok, so..... is there any gadget/phone with a decent garnet emu out there?

RE: HTC's latest claim
joad @ 1/12/2009 10:00:10 PM # Q
Styletap on a WinceMob device?

Reply to this comment

This leaves out the iPhone's biggest strengths...

AdamaDBrown @ 1/12/2009 12:00:38 PM # Q
... chief of which is the ecosystem around it. It's not just the app store, but it's the app store, iTunes, the massive availability of accessories, peripherals, etcetera.

There's also the fact that the iPhone has Apple behind it, and the massive marketing and awareness machine that that represents. There were plenty of people-me included-who pointed out when the iPhone came out that it didn't really do anything that couldn't be done by a lot of other smartphones. That didn't stop the iPhone from beating every other single model of smartphone.

Honestly I think that comparisons are incredibly premature, as we know right now only what Palm wants us to know about the UI-nothing about how it really feels or performs under normal use-and we don't know the Pre's price.

RE: This leaves out the iPhone's biggest strengths...
mikecane @ 1/12/2009 12:12:18 PM # Q
Apple now enjoys the accessorizing boom Palm used to have. In fact, wasn't the Pilot and its successors the ones who really pioneered that?

RE: This leaves out the iPhone's biggest strengths...
hkklife @ 1/12/2009 12:59:47 PM # Q
Rubinstein said specifically later in the keynote (paraphrasing here)
"Anyone who knows me knows I'm a huge proponent of ecosystems"

I got excited and was expecting some huge app store/content partner announcement/a Fooleo successor running WebOS

Instead he showed us the TOuchstone. A great little gadget, sure, but nothing that defines an "ecosystem" in the Apple sense of the word.

And while RIM's ecossytem is less glamorous and less consumer-oriented, they've built up enough of a user/developer base and enough critical mass & presence in the market that they can sort of accomplish stuff via brute force (look at the sales numbers, despite the rumored 30+% return rate of the Storm).

Long-time POS users may remember those cool little booklets/brochures that Palm used to include in the box with their new handhelds. This was back in the Pilot/PalmPilot/III/V days. I believe they stopped shipping them after the last OS4 models arrived. It was a little book full of not only Palm's own branded accessories, but 3rd party accessories like the Kodak PalmPix, "small" software solutions like PrintBoy alongside "big" killer apps like DocsToGo . Crude as it was, that little catalog nicely summarized the fledgling Palm OS ecosystem of the mid-late 90s for all new handheld buyers. Just delivering those apps to the customers' devices was the problem back then. That's why with the magic of wireless, it's crucial Palm have a fantastic OOBE (out of box experience) for the user as far as the app/media store tightly integrted with the device. If it's buried amidst a sea of Sprint bloatware/trialware (Nuance voice control, NFL mobile, Sprint TV etc, Sprint app store etc)

Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->Zodiac 2->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p->?

RE: This leaves out the iPhone's biggest strengths...
SeldomVisitor @ 1/12/2009 1:18:43 PM # Q
> ...I got excited and was expecting some huge app store/content partner
> announcement/a Fooleo successor running WebOS
>
> Instead he showed us the TOuchstone. A great little gadget, sure, but
> nothing that defines an "ecosystem" in the Apple sense of the word...

Gack.

- http://www.palminfocenter.com/comments/9672/#148133

RE: This leaves out the iPhone's biggest strengths...
hkklife @ 1/12/2009 1:31:02 PM # Q
And your point is?

If the Pre is a lot seller, and the Touchstone isn't too terribly priced, then I do see a relatively high attach rate for Palm. Then the inevitable cheap knock-off type chargers from the usual Chinese peripheral firms like Brando etc will follow. Same as the old days of the Palm Hotsync cradles.

The Touchstone IS a really nifty little device and I'd love to have one on my desk. In fact, I'd like to see Palm make all of their future devices Touchstone-capable with the proper back cover installed. It'd make a nice way of unifying the line and not having to worry about FF diffferences or the locator of the microUSB port etc.

But one innovative accessory (Touchstone), a leather case, and a few chargers and a headset or two does not make a thriving ecosystem. I was surprising that Rubinstein, known by many as the "podfather" would use the "ecosystem" term to introduce an accessory instead of some kind of app/media store.

Another cool concept woulbe someone like Altec Lansing doing a music dock that was like the Touchstone but had built-in speakers that played via BT A2DP.

Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->Zodiac 2->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p->?

RE: This leaves out the iPhone's biggest strengths...
Gekko @ 1/12/2009 1:40:44 PM # Q

predictions -

Pre - $299 with 2 year contract and data plan
Touchstone - $69.99
Inductive Back - $29.99

When Peter Kafka asked if the Palm Pre's price would be less than the iPhone's $US199, Palm CEO Ed Colligan replied, "Why would we do that when we have a significantly better product?"


RE: This leaves out the iPhone's biggest strengths...
SeldomVisitor @ 1/12/2009 1:50:01 PM # Q
> And your point is? ...

My point pointedly was, as much as I enjoy your writing and read everything I see from you, you thoroughly got caught up in The Gush along with scads of other Me-Too Media-droids and are only now coming off the high.

RE: This leaves out the iPhone's biggest strengths...
mikecane @ 1/12/2009 3:45:49 PM # Q
>>>CEO Ed Colligan replied, "Why would we do that when we have a significantly better product?"

Yep, and therefore instantly placed himself in the running for Dumbass of the Year 2009!

RE: This leaves out the iPhone's biggest strengths...
Gekko @ 1/12/2009 4:02:31 PM # Q

the list grows!

most infamous quotes in palm history

1. "yes this really is a gold threaded suit." - carl yankowski
2. "we're prepared for whichever way the market goes." - carl yankowski
3. "look at the shadow on the second hand, cobalt really is amazing." - david nagel
4. "PC guys are not going to just walk in." - ed colligan
5. "no, foleo can't do youtube but i wish it has a faster processor." - jeff hawkins
6. "why would we want to charge the same or less for a better product?" - ed colligan
7. "i'm a huge proponent of ecosystems. check out this new charger." - ruby

RE: This leaves out the iPhone's biggest strengths...
mikecane @ 1/12/2009 4:12:45 PM # Q
Eh. #7 is a canard. I cut the guy some slack. He whipped Palm back into life. Or at least a semblance thereof.

RE: This leaves out the iPhone's biggest strengths...
pmjoe @ 1/12/2009 5:00:25 PM # Q
I have to agree. This article basically picks out the Pre's strengths and then complains that the iPhone doesn't have them. Of the top of my head, iTunes integration and a mature SDK come to mind. I still have security concerns about a "web-based" OS that has access to significant lower level features.

It may turn out that the Pre's "multitasking" turns into a detriment. Leave a web page with some crappy JavaScript open on some off-screen card and it may drag performance to a crawl.

RE: This leaves out the iPhone's biggest strengths...
mikecane @ 1/12/2009 5:15:08 PM # Q
>>>Leave a web page with some crappy JavaScript open on some off-screen card and it may drag performance to a crawl.

That would be just about 99.9% of websites from newspapers!

OK, I exaggerate. 99.8%.

RE: This leaves out the iPhone's biggest strengths...
joad @ 1/12/2009 10:03:08 PM # Q
>>Apple now enjoys the accessorizing boom Palm used to have. In fact, wasn't the Pilot and its successors the ones who really pioneered that?

Seems to me that it was the Apple Newton before the Palm... and the Sharp portables in the late '80s (yeah, had one of them, too...)

RE: This leaves out the iPhone's biggest strengths...
hkklife @ 1/13/2009 8:43:02 AM # Q
SV:

Yesterday you posted:
"
> And your point is? ...

My point pointedly was, as much as I enjoy your writing and read everything I see from you, you thoroughly got caught up in The Gush along with scads of other Me-Too Media-droids and are only now coming off the high."


My period of "gushing" ended shortly sometime between the end of the keynote and the moment I verified the first specs of the device later that day. The removal of the microSDHC slot was a gigantic blow to me, finding out the feeble battery capacity was the second blow, and learning about some of the basic shortcomings in Pre's capabilities (voice dialing, video capture, ability to create custom contact field names) + the lack of an SDK pretty much finished me off.

Don't confuse my incredible enthuasiasm for the Touchstone (quite possibly the coolest & most well-done mobile device accessory I've ever seen) with overwhelming enthusiasm for the Pre. As I was on Thursday, I remain highly impressed with what Palm has done with their backs to the wall but will continue to question many of their decisions and have in no way made up my mind to purchase a Pre.

In fact, last Thursday you may recall this post from me:

"
So far from CES I am announcing the following awards from what I have seen so far:
Best of Show (tie): HP DV2 premium netbook & Palm's WebOS

Biggest disappointments of show: Sony P-Series netbook & Palm Pre"

http://www.palminfocenter.com/comments/9671/#148154

Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->Zodiac 2->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p->?

Reply to this comment

I think a point was forgotten...

SeldomVisitor @ 1/12/2009 12:09:57 PM # Q
iPhone: Exists

Pre: Vaporware


RE: I think a point was forgotten...listen to Mossberg a-GAIN
SeldomVisitor @ 1/12/2009 12:11:29 PM # Q
RE: I think a point was forgotten...
mikecane @ 1/12/2009 12:18:36 PM # Q
Pre isn't vaporware. That's like saying the frikkin iPhone was vaporware during the near *seven-month gap* from its early-January unveiling until its late-June availability.

(And there were *many* pundits who wondered if the iPhone would really go on sale in June back then too!)

RE: I think a point was forgotten...
mikecane @ 1/12/2009 12:20:45 PM # Q
Sprint, of course, is just wetting itself, hoping the Pre will generate first-day lines like this:
http://mikecane2008.wordpress.com/2008/07/09/southern-nyc-iday-2007-in-56-photos/

RE: I think a point was forgotten...
SeldomVisitor @ 1/12/2009 12:45:34 PM # Q
The Pre is vaporware.

What is going to be delivered and what was demoed are going to be DIFFERENT, imho.

I would BET the delivered Pre will be MUCH thicker to accommodate a much bigger battery (in fact, I believe the paradigm for using the Pre will to ALWAYS keep it on a charging dock if not "on the move"!).

I would bet the delivered Pre will have a more robust movable part.

I have to wonder if they'll get rid of that lip around the keyboard that at least one person has complained about already.

We'll see how fast the delivered Pre is hacked and virus-infected. If Apple says they didn't want to do certain things for "security" reasons, it'll be very interesting to watch as the Bad Guys show Palm exactly what Apple was talking about!

RE: I think a point was forgotten...
mikecane @ 1/12/2009 12:54:56 PM # Q
>>>What is going to be delivered and what was demoed are going to be DIFFERENT, imho.

>>>I would BET the delivered Pre will be MUCH thicker to accommodate a much bigger battery (in fact, I believe the paradigm for using the Pre will to ALWAYS keep it on a charging dock if not "on the move"!).

If the only difference is the thickness, eh. Fatter battery is usually good anyway.

I can't speak about that lip thing. Colligan still hasn't arrived to do his in-person demo for me. Ahem.

RE: I think a point was forgotten...
freakout @ 1/12/2009 12:56:15 PM # Q
We'll see how fast the delivered Pre is hacked and virus-infected. If Apple says they didn't want to do certain things for "security" reasons, it'll be very interesting to watch as the Bad Guys show Palm exactly what Apple was talking about!

Oh please. If mobiles were going to become virus havens thanks to open architectures WinMob and PalmOS would have been targeted long, long ago. Apple simply used "security" as an excuse for the things they didn't want to deliver. Remember when Steve said "no third-party apps, we don't want them bringing down AT&T's network?" Far as I know, it's withstood the onslaught just fine so far...

RE: I think a point was forgotten...
hkklife @ 1/12/2009 12:56:30 PM # Q
Vaporware? Don't be so negative! I TOUCHED the damn thing! And all of the demo units were clearly live devices and were connected via EVDO (NOT wi-fi) and were not tethered to a mysterious black box under the desk or anything.

Now, it is true that we did not see anyone actually placing or receiving calls on the devices so it's possible the telephony stack isn't finished. And the Phone app clearly appeared to be more of a work in progress than the launcher & PIM/Media apps.

Come on, SV. I may have some doubts about the long-term sustainability of the platform and some of the dubious hardware choices, but the Pre is clearly a 90%+ finished device, like it or not.

Between lead times requires for manufacturing, then FCC + Sprint certification, it'll HAVE to be essentially identical to what we saw. Yeah, they COULD decide at the 11th hour to ship 'em with a bigger battery and a "hump" battery cover but that's highly unlikely.

What is a far, far more likely scenario is that Palm intentionally shipped it with an undersized battery. But they've got a Palm-branded 1500mAh battery that's the same physical dimensions (Seidio-style) in the pipeline and will try to sell lots of them from palm.com. Or maybe offer a package bundle of the Touchstone + replacement battery door + high capacity battery for the "power users".

Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->Zodiac 2->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p->?

RE: I think a point was forgotten...
DrewT3 @ 1/12/2009 2:18:12 PM # Q
Apple often makes up funny reasons for their business decisions.
No blu-ray drives in Macs? It is because it would be "a world of hurt".
Charging for upgrades to iPod Touch software? It is because "tax laws require it".
Using expensive PowerPC CPUs? "It is much faster than Intel".
Swithcing to Intel CPUs? "it is much faster than PPC".


RE: I think a point was forgotten...
mikecane @ 1/12/2009 3:50:28 PM # Q
>>>No blu-ray drives in Macs? It is because it would be "a world of hurt".

When I read posts from owners of Blu-Ray players saying how long it takes for them to boot up and how sluggish they are in everyday use, I tend to believe Jobs.

>>>Charging for upgrades to iPod Touch software? It is because "tax laws require it".

Others have confirmed that, but I'm no tax expert. No do I intend to play one on the Net.

What was your reaction to the original Mac OS vs DOS? Or hadn't you learned to speak yet?

RE: I think a point was forgotten...
DrewT3 @ 1/12/2009 5:16:55 PM # Q
Geez, Mike, you don't really believe the tax story, do you? Apple should hire the same accountants every other CE company uses, since they can release upgrades for free.

To your question, I didn't compare the original MacOS to DOS. I compared it to AmigaOS. In that comparison, Macs came out as underpowered, boring machines for dullards who hoped to be hip by association.

A Mac was my primary computer between the death of the Amiga and the release of Windows 95. Apple had a compelling product for those few years, but Windows 95 was far better than Apple's OS6 (remember having to adjust the memory partions for each running program? Having to reboot with all extensions off to burn a CD?).


RE: I think a point was forgotten...
mikecane @ 1/12/2009 5:48:13 PM # Q
Touche, Drew. But, come on, Amiga had a fugly UI in the beginning.

Weak comeback, I know.

RE: I think a point was forgotten...
SeldomVisitor @ 1/12/2009 5:48:33 PM # Q
I still have two Amigas, including my original "signed" Amiga 1000...it served as my "PC" for years (after I got tired of my CP/M machine) until I finally bought the bullet and bought a PC PC.

RE: I think a point was forgotten...
hkklife @ 1/12/2009 6:43:59 PM # Q
SV;

Wow! I always liked the rugged, squared-off aesthetics & the "signed" collectability of the1000. 'Twas just a paint to have to boot it from a Kickstart floppy. Did you ever upgrade the ROM and/or any of its components?

Just out of curiosity, what is your "other" Amiga in addition to the 1000?

I just recently unloaded my A500 but still kept some of the software & accessories for nostalgia purposes.

I also still have my C128D and a 1541 floppy drive and even a Commodore tape drive

Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->Zodiac 2->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p->?

RE: I think a point was forgotten...
DrewT3 @ 1/12/2009 7:01:39 PM # Q
I still have my Amiga 1000, with the 1.5MB ram/fpu expansion. That was a fun machine. I remember pushing Sculpt3d to run and render without a harddrive. Finally settled on running the OS on one floppy, Sculpt on the other, and rendering to a 1MB RAM disk. Good times.
Just chucked the Quadra 650 a few weeks ago, finally got tired of it taking up closet space :)

RE: I think a point was forgotten...
SeldomVisitor @ 1/13/2009 4:09:05 AM # Q
I have a pretty much virgin Amiga 1000 and 500, though I may have swapped around a floppy drive. I also have Aztec C and all that was with that for development (now THAT was interesting with only floppy drives!). Plus like 4 gajillion manuals describing the OS practically down to the bit level.

RE: I think a point was forgotten...
hotpaw4 @ 1/13/2009 8:47:43 AM # Q
Amiga gave geeks more of what they wanted... and Commodore went bankrupt doing that.

> Apple should hire the same accountants every other CE company uses, since they can release upgrades for free.

And do those accountants use accounting methods which continuously show those other CE companies as more profitable than Apple? Apple's accountant's picked Apple's revenue recognition methods for a reason. And that method has legal consequences as a side effect, given SOX.

.

RE: I think a point was forgotten...
nastebu @ 1/13/2009 12:03:32 PM # Q
"vapor ware" is harsh, but it's absolutely true that an iPhone in the hand has all the quirks and annoyances of a device you have to live with. A Pre in the bush has all the glow of imagined perfection that we hope for. When the Pre comes out, it will have bugs and annoyances and inconveniences, and all sorts of stupid choices. That's not a dig at Palm, that's the difference between something you imagine and something you hold.

They did an amazing job to run the first 90% of the marathon, but the last 10% is going to be very difficult.

RE: I think a point was forgotten...
NuShrike @ 1/14/2009 11:45:29 AM # Q
At this point, Tegra and Snapdragon are more vaporware than the Pre.

Palm III -> Sony NR610C -> Sony NR70 -> Sony NX80 -> Palm T|X -> HTC Kaiser -> HTC Fuze
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