Palm released the Pre last weekend, and Apple just had their big reveal on the new iPhone hardware yesterday. I already have the 3G iPhone, and I have been following the Pre since news of it broke in January at CES. Since I have paid for the original iPhone and stupidly waited in line for the iPhone 3G, I’m not eligible for the full discount price, based on the length of my contract.
Today I stopped by a Sprint store, it’s on my walk home from work, and played with the Pre. It was nice, for sure, but nothing that really blew me away. It’s still early for the Pre, the App Catalog only has roughly 10 apps in it. The hardware is definitely not in the same class as the iPhone. The keyboard is fine, probably a little nicer than the keyboard on my Blackberry Curve (work phone, ugh). The software definitely seemed a little rough around the edges. For example, I opened a few different sites in new browser windows all in a row, and when i went back to “card view” none of the previews showed anything, just blank white “cards”. When I actually opened the “card” it showed the page fine, but things definitely got gummed up and slowed down there for a few seconds. Thing is it seems like the Pre will let you overload it pretty hard before it starts to complain about not being able to open more apps. I didn’t see that warning but I have heard of others reaching that limit. Definitely a phone and OS to watch though, as it is so early for them it could easily be the best thing out there in a year.
The iPhone announcement though really underwhelmed me. I probably would have upgraded just for the faster processor/more RAM, but then I found out that I won’t be eligible for the $199 price until December, and until then if I want to upgrade it’ll cost me $399. Not worth it by any stretch. Plus I get all the benefits of the new iPhone OS 3.0 for free! Don’t get me wrong, the new iPhone is nice and all, but nothing really amazing is going on there. I know Apple says it’s going to be 2x faster, but we all know how that pans out. I honestly wouldn’t use the video recording feature enough to justify the cost, and everything else is a wash: wouldn’t use voice control that much, I’m sure, and the compass would be handy maybe three times a year.
That being said, I think that next year or even the next six months holds a lot of promise for the smartphone industry. As the economy continues to falter, prices are sure to drop, specs are sure to get better, and phones are sure to get highly competitive. I thought it was interesting that the Apple anouncement really didn’t address anything at all about the Palm Pre, it just kind of existed in it’s own little world of “look what we did”. Apple is always like that though. They just go on and on about how what they make is the best.
Going back to the Pre for a minute, the hardware was disappointing. The top half of the slider (the part with the screen) was easy to wiggle when the phone was closed. Overall, it just felt cheap. There is not that much substance between the keyboard and the back of the phone when it is open and you are typing, it was just a wierd feeling. Like I said though, I’m not a big fan of hardware keyboards, so SLOW! Overall the build quality was not up to par with the iPhone. That being said though, if I was on Sprint I would snatch this thing up in a second. Also, hooray to Sprint for actually having two working units on display (with touchstone chargers) to play with. T-mobile STILL doesn’t have G1 phones that actually WORK for you to try out. Why T-Mobile, why?