iPhone or Palm Pre?
Sprint, Palm Pre’s exclusive carrier announced that Palm Pre would be launched on June 6. Then this summer that’s the question many would-be-smart phone purchasers just might ask themselves. Both have their pros and cons. The iPhone has a huge profile and market presence, but the Pre has the old-school Palm faithful who have been waiting a long time for their Next Big Thing. The iPhone has massive channels and even Sprint admits they won’t be advertising the Palm Pre much due to low initial supply. But those most likely to want the Palm Pre already know it’s coming, where to get, and may well be reading this while already standing in line.
But what about the consumer on the edge? The consumer who has an older iPhone or Palm, or the one who’s about to move up from a feature phone for the first time. What about the dreaded “undecided”? This article is for them. Now let’s get it on.
IPhone: beautiful, large (3.5 inch diagonal), high-resolution (480x320 screen) multi-touch display.
Palm Pre: Beautiful, large (3.1 inch diagonal), high-resolution (480x320 screen). The screen is not as large as the iPhone (0.4 inch smaller) but this is balanced against other hardware features such as the removable battery and sliding keyboard further below.
Palm Pre has a physical, hardware-based QWERTY keyboard while the iPhone has a virtual, software-based keyboard that can be QWERTY (or anything else).
For those who need to feel those keys, the Palm Pre is the obvious choice. However, the Pre’s keyboard is reportedly somewhere between a Treo Pro and a Palm Centro: softer, more gummy keys with a narrow width overall. It might not be to everyone’s liking. That said, at least the Pre has one, and it’s a slider to boot, which means if you don’t need it, you can just tuck it away back under the screen where it came from.
The iPhone, can draw any kind of keyboard it wants. So if you need to type occasionally (or often) in Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, or most any language, you can easily switch between those exact keyboards. You can also automatically be presented with web-optimized, or video, audio — any task at all — specific keyboards.
The iPhone is an excellent touch screen phone, no doubt. But for heavy texters and e-mail addicts, the lack of a physical keyboard can be annoying. Now Palm Pre combined a touch screen and keyboard, pleasing both touch screen and keyboard fans. So Palm Pre wins.
Advantage: Palm Pre
In the US — which is the only country with initial availability — Sprint has exclusive rights to the Palm Pre, much as AT&T has a lock on the iPhone. When you choose mobile phone, also make a choice between the carriers. There are two factors to consider:
1. AT&T is a GSM network, which means you can theoretically pop out your SIM card and put it in another mobile phone. It is great in emergencies, and if you travel and don’t want to deal with roaming charges. Sprint is CDMA, so any phone switches involves a call to your carrier at the very least.
2. Sprint doesn’t currently allow simultaneous voice and data. This means if you’re talking on the Palm Pre, you can’t use the web or email, and vice versa. If you’re using an iPhone on AT&T’s EDGE service, you’ll have the same problem, but if you’re on 3G, there are no worries at all. For the Palm Pre, you’d have to switch to Wi-Fi to do that.
Again, for me, using voice and data at the same time has become a must. Looking up information while out and about on a call is a frequent occurrence. If you’re not accustomed to it, you may not miss it, but once you are, it’s hard to go back.
Installing new applications on the iPhone is a complete joy. It’s ultra simple and quick – an absolutely superb experience than virtually nobody has matched today. With 15,000+ apps now available there is something here for everybody and although there is a lot of rubbish there are also many superb applications.
Palm has already confirmed that it will create a full App Catalog – one that will presumably have the same functionality and ease-of-use as Apple’s App Store. Though maybe there will not (initially at least) be as many apps available for the iPhone as for the Palm Pre.
For Palm Pre, it offers a 3-megapixel camera. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to snap any photos, but early reports say that the quality is pretty good. Disappointingly, the camera won't have video recording capabilities at this time, but those could be added in the future. In terms of music and movie, it is reported that the music sounds very beautiful, also the movie looks perfect with the 320*480 pixels screen. However Palm Pre can only play MPEG-4, H.263, H.264 videos and MP3, AAC, AAC+, AMR, QCELP, WAV audio files. What if you have large music or video collections you want to carry around with you on your mobile? I have got third part software to do this admire job: use Nidesoft DVD to Palm Converter to convert DVD collections into Palm Pre and Nidesoft Video Converter to convert video or music collections into Palm Pre.
As far as iPhone, there’s no doubt that iPhone is wonderful music mobile phone. Listening to music, viewing photos and watching movies/videos is just “something else” on the iPhone. IPhone can play MPEG-4 videos with resolution of 640 *480, up to 160 Kbps. Also it supports audio formats including AAC (16 to 320 kbps), MP3 (16 to 320 kbps), and WAV. With its beautiful 3.5-inch wide screen display and Multi-Touch controls, iPhone is an amazing iPod. Watch movies and TV shows in wide screen, iPhone brings you a video experience unlike any other portable device.
So there you have it. Two companies that both pride themselves on their high-skill products. One who’s Newton spawned an industry that the other is Pilot defined and dominated, went on to converge with the Treo only to fall behind and get eclipsed by the iPhone, and is now poised to come back with the Pre. Apple is going on to the third version of their smart phone line while Palm is introducing the first version of their third act.
If it seems like the only real deciding factors are where you live and work, what you want to do, and how you prefer to do it, well — yeah. That’s it.
Bottom line, the competition between iPhone and Pre is good for Apple and Palm — it keeps them on their toes and on top of their games — and it’s better for us. We’re lucky to live in a time and place where we have such increasingly awesome mobile options to choose between.
Come this summer, we’ll have a few more choices as well. Which one will be yours?