I do not remember a day, at least in recent history, in which there were so many game-changing tech announcements. AOL sells ICQ, the first ever instant messaging technology, Apple enters search to compete with Google, and HP buys Palm to compete with Google, Apple, BlackBerry, and any other mobile giant you can think of. All that happened yesterday, and people (myself mainly) do not know which piece of news is most worthy of their attention. So, after conducting a short Twitter survey (screen shot below), I decided to blog about all three… Now, my only challenge is to do it in a blog post that is not something you can bind and sell as a 500 page book, since there is just so much to say about each one of these developments.
Palm’s VP of design apparently did not read our blog yesterday, as he seems extremely confident and calm in this video of him showing off the Pre. Either that, or he has a really good poker face, and he thinks Apple will flinch first. Yea, that is more likely than him not reading the best tech blog on the Web.
Engadget Mobile just reported that an employee of Australia’s Telstra let us all know that HTC will soon be releasing a device that will be better than the Pre. Now, the big news is not that HTC is announcing a new device, or that it will be a good one. The amazing thing about this report is that manufacturers like HTC are now looking to create Pre-killers.
No more of yesterday’s iPhone killers. The iPhone is somewhat already part of the past, and the company responsible for this is no other than Palm. I don’t think anyone would have believed this scenario to be possible even a month ago. The truth is though, that Palm deserves the credit and a lot of it for their new Pre. It really is an amazing device that includes all the characteristics necessary to make what can be considered the best handset on the planet.
Like I said in the fourth episode of Likemob (the best podcast on mobile news), it is not the hardware that is getting everyone excited. Although, the hardware is definitely worth mentioning. They did manage to get a full QWERTY (even though it is a portrait one) into a 17 mm package along with a beautiful 3.1 inch multitouch touch screen display. But the OS is what makes this phone number one.
Palm really went all out with Web OS. I guess the two factors that make this OS a huge winner are the “card” interface and Synergy. The card interface allows the user to easily switch between tasks, such as viewing pictures, listening to music, and writing an email. All you do is press the Home button and the device zooms out for you to see all the tasks that are currently open. The coolest part, I think, is the ability to simply swipe one of the open tasks right off the display and by that, close the application. So unlike Symbian for example, in which closing a running app is a whole huge deal, this is completely seamless and could not be easier.
The other big thing that Palm introduced us to with the Pre, is Synergy. It is as it sounds. It basically combines all the different social circles of your life into one easy and basic interface. This includes a layered contact list with contact information from your Outlook, Web email account, Facebook account, and any other place the specific contact has info stored. This also includes a joined calendar and a combined email interface. It just makes things simpler.
What remains to be seen with the Pre is of course how well it will works in reality. Another huge question mark is the usability of the Palm App Catalogue. What will the installation process be like? Will it be similar to the Apple App Store or perhaps something closer to the hellish Symbian experience? We also do not know the pricing yet, although there is a rumor circulating that it will go for $399 with a contract.
Whatever the case may be, Palm has already succeeded in doing what no company has done in a long time. They have managed to finally give Apple something to worry about. There has been talk about various iPhone killers, but correct me if I am wrong, I have never seen anyone use the term “HD Killer” or “Omnia Killer” before. The mobile world has now moved on from the iPhone due to Palm, and the new goal of the cellular giants should be to create what is now called a Pre-Killer. Sounds better than iPhone killer anyway, doesn’t it?
Today we wake up to a new world, a world in which Palm is a brand people are actually talking about, I feel like I am in 11th grade all over again. Anyway, Palm announced their new Mobile OS called Web OS, and their new flagship device, the Palm Pre. As for the naming, I would not have chosen those names, but I guess they are not as bad as some other names we have seen in this industry lately.
We do not know all that much about Web OS, so I will wait for more details before expressing my opinion on that matter. As for the Pre, I have an opinion, and it is a strong one. Palm might be the first company that I know of that went from being a total nobody to becoming a major player and threat to the biggest names in the industry, and this change took place over night. This new device is not only going to compete with phones like the iPhone and the G1, as far as I can tell, it has them beat, by a long shot.
Let me just run down the specs here for you. The Palm Pre has a 3.1 inch touch screen with multitouch, accelerometer for landscape browsing, Wifi, GPS, 3mp camera with LED flash, 8GB memory, a2dp, replaceable battery, Micro SD expansion slot, USB 2.0, portrait slide out keyboard, 3.5mm headphone jack, and a blazing fast processor and CPU. For an exact list of all the specs, see here.
The form factor is impressive and innovative (kinda looks like a mixture between a PEBL and an HTC Touch, do you see that?). The OS from what we have seen seems to be unprecedented in its speed, beauty, and functionality. It really combines the simplicity of the iPhone with the intelligence of the G1.
Just to give one example, the swiping gestures to move between web pages and open apps remind me of the iPhone, but the ability to receive notifications about new email or IMs resemble the G1.
Palm, from what they have told us, are trying to deeply integrate our social networking lives into this phone. I am talking threaded conversations over SMS and all the IM networks. I am talking close collaboration with Facebook and other social networks, bringing, for example, your phone, Google, Outlook, and Facebook calendar and contacts all into one view.
I could really go on for a long time here, so I will just stop here and say that this phone and OS will no doubt bring Palm back to being an industry leader, and I do not think it will take long.
To finish off with a quote from Peter Ha “This is an iPhone, Android, Palm race now, Symbian and WinMo are done”. Sorry Itamar, but I could not agree more.
CES is coming up and that means a few things for you and me. First of all, it means that you will be able to come here to view/read about the latest news from the show because we have someone who will be blogging from Las Vegas for us. The other piece of information that will become clear to us is that there is no, and never will be an iPhone Nano (right Apple? You are not really going to shrink the esthetically pleasing iPhone, are you?)
CES also means that we will finally know whether Palm really has something significant for us or if they’re closing down shop. Those are the only two options as far as I can tell, because if Palm’s announcement is not something absolutely huge, I am talking iPhone or G1 huge, then we can all say goodbye to the maker of the famous Treo.
There is no question that Palm is getting our hopes up and the word on the street is that they will be annoucing a totally new OS with at least one new device but probably more. They are making some huge steps in the right direction, there is no question about that. They just launched their on-device application store for both Windows Mobile and Palm OS devices. They are calling it “The Software Store”, how original.
According to Mobile Crunch, Palm’s new OS will be called Nova, and will try to fall somewhere in the middle of the business oriented RIM and the fun oriented iPhone. I am not sure I agree with that assessment, RIM is not so business oriented, with their Storm, and the iPhone is not only fun oriented, with its push mail and GPS.
There is no question that whatever Palm announces, it will be big, the only question is, will it be big enough? They just replaced their CFO and they are releasing all kinds of teasers to the press so it looks like they are trying to make it REALLY big.
I was never a big fan of Palm, my wife had the Tungsten II, which was pretty lame, and I for one, never really understood the appeal of the popular Treos. If Palm achieves their obvious goal of competing with Apple and RIM, and they introduce a new awesome OS along with a device that has a really large touch display with all the goodies we have grown so accustomed to, I will be the first in line.
The details about the new platform are not so exciting at all. Palm is dragging far behind the iPhone’s software and now with Android, their release will likely cost them millions in loses. We have already seen their phones running on Windows Mobile, so why all of a sudden do they need to release their own OS? I think their market share is dwindling and they soon will be out of business.
What do you think?