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Palm Pre Review Roundup

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It launched yesterday in the US for $200 on an 2 year plan, but what do the reviewers think of the Palm Pre? It’s been snuck out a couple of days before the inevitable iPhone update, offers (for now) syncing with iTunes and an impressive operating system. Here’s an overview of who said what:

Wired thinks the look and feel of the Pre are superb, the OS is good but multi-tasking drains the battery too quickly. The keyboard is a plus but is too small in use, and the iTunes syncing is a plus for as long as Apple doesn’t block it.

Engadget has a mammoth three page review that concluded the Pre is a great phone, despite not being perfect. Palm has got an astounding amount of things right, and this will only improve with some more work. Battery life is OK for what the Pre can do, but not great.

Gizmodo concludes that while the OS and apps are ‘agile, smart and capable’,  the hardware is a liability. They go on to say the OS offers something genuinely different to the iPhone so deserves support.

The Wall Street Journal‘s Walt Mossberg says the Pre is a ‘smart, sophisticated product’ that is ‘thoughtfully designed, works well and could give the iPhone and BlackBerry strong competition — but only if it fixes its app store and can attract third-party developers’

PCadvisor conclude that the Pre’s ‘eye-catching design and smooth operation make it the most exciting device’ they have seen in a while, even if the lack of memory is a big dissapointment.

My own feeling is that WebOS offers some previously unseen abilities in a smartphone, but some features like iTunes syncing (if it lasts) and lack of memory are ill-conceived. Apple announces new iPhone hardware tomorrow, widely rumoured to feature 16-32Gb of memory, so 8Gb in the Pre already looks dated. If Apple comes in with a budget 4/8Gb iPhone any advances in the Pre’s WebOS could end up being canceled out by a much lower iPhone price. I can only hope the Palm Pre is enough of a success to stabilise Palm, as the more innovating players there are in the smartphone market the better off we consumers are.

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