The upcoming release of the Palm Pre is being touted as the most exciting new mobile phone since the iPhone. I was a dedicated Palm user back in the day of the old Palm Pilots and actually used one of the first PalmOS Smartphones, Kyocera QCP-6035. I’ve never been impressed with the Treo line of smartphones and never owned one but maybe the Pre will change my mind about Palm.
I had a chance to preview it at CES 2009 this past January and it was pretty impressive. It is smaller and lighter than the iPhone. The device has a touch screen with a slide-up keyboard but the keyboard looked a little small and not as slick as the BlackBerry. What I think will set this phone apart from others is the new operating system.
The operating system (WebOS) looked really cool and I think it will give the iPhone a run for its money. One interesting feature is its ability to pull data for a specific “contact” from various services (IM, Email, Social networks, etc…) and mash them together in a single location instead of switching between different applications. The OS is also capable of multi-tasking which is something iPhone users wish they had. The “Universal Search” function has an option to search Twitter (along with Google and Wikipedia). Similiar to the iPhone and Android, the mobile browser is based on Webkit which will give it the ability to display rich web pages and run cool web applications.
The Palm Pre is scheduled to be released on the Sprint CDMA network on June 6, 2009. Palm has definitely generated a lot of buzz around this new smartphone launch and apparently there will be shortages in the early days. I believe that the success of the Pre (and follow-on smartphones from Palm) will be highly dependent on the success of the new WebOS.