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Palm Pre Review Roundup

June 7, 2009 Leave a comment

palm-pre

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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Palm Pre coming soon

May 25, 2009 Leave a comment

Palm_PreSo we know the Palm Pre launches in the US on 6th June for $199.99 with a 2 year contract. Now Palmgoon.com have the news (via the Guardian Newspaper) that O2 will offer the Pre in the Uk. That should make for an interesting match, with O2 already offering the iPhone. Speaking of competition, the Palm Goon web site makes no bones about who the competition is, with most of their articles directly comparing the Pre to the iPhone. Anyone would think RIM and Nokia ceased to exist when the iPhone was released. Or is this personal, since much of Palm’s management team are ex-Apple staff?

Here’s a few images of the Palm Pre software in action, lots more at palmgoon.com

Categories: Palm, phone, software Tags: , ,

Palm back on the cutting edge

January 8, 2009 Leave a comment

It’s been a sad few years watching the once pioneering Palm slip further behind its competitors. Fortunately the new Palm Pre was announced today and the name is the worst part of the product. Sporting the new webOS the device offers a good spec:

  • The Latest TI Omap processor claiming ‘laptop-style power’
  • 3.1-inch 320 x 480 multitouch display
  • slide down qwerty keyboard
  • EV-DO Rev. A and 802.11b/g WiFi
  • GPS, Bluetooth with A2DP
  • 8GB of built-in flash storage
  • 3 megapixel camera with LED flash
  • USB2 socket with mass storage profile
  • 3.5mm headphone jack

The best part of the package is the apps. Written using existing standards such as CSS, HTML and XML palm claims anyone familiar with these can start writing apps straight away. Also impressive is the Synergy sync system which pulls together PIM info from a variety of sources such as Facebook, Google, and Outlook, then dishes it up with duplicates removed. Sounds great, the only question I have left is will it work with my Mac?

The only negative point is the ‘first half of 2009’ release date. With iPhone, Android and Palm now offering competitive smartphone platforms the next year should see some big improvements in features and usability.

Palm to launch Nova, new Smartphone?

January 5, 2009 Leave a comment

palm_logoI’m rooting for the underdog big time on this one. Palm is expected to unveil it’s next generation Nova operating system at CES this week, along with a new smartphone to show off it’s moves. CrunchGear is saying the announcement will be on Thursday, and the new phone will offer a slide out qwerty keyboard and will probably be sourced by HTC. Engadged adds that the new device is described as ‘amazing’ by people who have seen it, and will come packed with apps to take advantage of its multimedia capabilities. Updated Palm PIM apps? Bring it on.

Android arrives with the T-Mobile G1

September 23, 2008 Leave a comment

There’s a couple of big launches today, and the first is the T-Mobile G1. This is the debut device based on Google’s Android software platform, an open platform that aims to be offered by a range of manufacturers and networks. There are lots of positive comments about the device at the moment so I’m looking forward to having a try at some point. The main competition for the G1 appears to be the iPhone, in light of this there’s a lot of things about the phone that don’t make much sense.

  • The applications the phone offers work best on a 3G network, and from the T-Mobile G1 site that’s not a huge amount of America. The UK has pretty patchy coverage outside of major cities so how well will a device that needs 3G work?
  • The G1 will offer Amazon’s DRM free music store with 6 million songs, but it doesn’t have a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. You have to use an adaptor in the proprietary USB socket.
  • The Phone misses a major opportunity to better the iPhone by not offering Video Recording, stereo bluetooth or a multi-touch screen.
  • For a new device that’s competing with the iPhone, the G1 is just ugly. Apple have a knack of making their products look and feel good. The G1 looks like a 10 year old lump of plastic.
  • T-Mobile are allowing 1Gb of data usage per billing cycle (I take it that’s a month) after which the data rate drops to 50Kbps. That’s unusable for a device that needs 3G to work well.

The ultimate test of the Android platform will be the sales figures. Despite the flaws of the iPhone 3G it’s still sold very well so this could be an interesting battle.

O2 announces iPhone 3G PAYG prices

September 2, 2008 Leave a comment

From 16th September you can officially own an iPhone 3G on a pay as you go tariff, but it won’t be cheap. O2 has announced that the 8Gb version will cost £349.99, with the 16Gb at £399.99. That price includes twelve months of ‘unlimited’ browsing and WiFi, with this service costing £10 a month after the first year. Topping up each month will earn you free calls but only to a landline or O2 mobile from a registered postcode’. Sounds a bit restrictive to me.

So how much does this cost compared to a contract iPhone? Here are some numbers based on an 18 month term.

  • iPhone 3G 16Gb on £35 a month tariff – total cost over 18 months is £789 with 600 minutes and 500 text messages a month.
  • iPhone 3G 16Gb on PAYG adding £10 credit a month – total cost over 18 months is £639.99 with 500 free minutes and 100 texts (£10 at 10p per text) plus £10 a month for browsing and WiFi after first year.
  • iPhone 3G 16Gb on PAYG adding £20 credit a month – total cost over 18 months is £819.99 with 1000 minutes and 200 texts (£20 at 10p per text) plus £10 a month for browsing and Wifi after first year.
  • iPhone 3G 16Gb on PAYG with no monthly credit – £459 total cost over 18 months for browsing and WiFi (£60 for months 13 to 18) plus whatever calls and texts are required.

These costs are based on the Favourite Place tariffs that an iPhone PAYG sim uses by default. Other tariffs can be selected once a month. So looking at the prices above, who will want a PAYG iPhone? Those looking for mobile web, apps and email will save money over the cheapest contract.  Anyone with light call and text requirements could save, but if you use all the tariff minutes and texts on a contract deal the PAYG prices are higher. I’m looking forward to seeing the sales figures for the PAYG iPhone.

Categories: apple, iPhone, money, phone Tags: , , ,

Why iPod touch location awareness sucks

July 19, 2008 14 comments

One of the best features of the iPhone is its location awareness. Using Cell tower/WiFi proximity and now GPS with the iPhone 3G, it knows where it is and can use this information in a growing number of location aware applications. In theory the iPod Touch can do the same using only wireless access point data, but unless you live in a city the service is pretty hit and miss. I live in a reasonably sized UK town and my iTouch can’t tell where it is. Read more…