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Skatter Tech has a review of the Palm Pre Plus. Here are the highlights:
The Body: 4.5/5 stars
The Palm Pre Plus weighs under five ounces and looks like a smooth glossy black stone. The body has a soft feel and offers a great grip. It’s probably one of the best looking phones I’ve come across recently. It definitely offers a friendly and welcoming feeling compared to devices such as the robotic Droid. There’s a volume rocker, a switch to silence your phone, and a microUSB port on the right side. Accessing the charging/data USB port was easier than on the Palm Pixi, however it needs to be relocated to the bottom. If you are holding your phone to your ear while it’s charging, it’s a nuisance since the cable extends out sideways. I also was cautious each time I tried to open the flap that covers the port since it’s quite flimsy. It is also quite tricky to get the flap open; I found myself using nails to pry it open. I feel that Palm has a secret agenda to get us to buy their Wireless Touchstone Charger by annoying us with the charging port. The back of the phone is a rear “face-plate” that comes pre-enabled for wireless charging unlike on the original Pre. Palm also offers a variety of custom artistic styles for those tired of the all-black look. Although there’s 16GB of on-board storage, which is twice that of the original Pre, there’s still no microSD expansion. The only thing under the rear cover is the interchangeable battery pack. The 3 megapixel camera, a LED flash, and speakers are on the upper rear part of the Palm Pre. The power button and a standard 3.5mm headphone jack are on the top. The front of the phone houses the slide-out QWERTY keyboard, a gesture area, and a 3.1 inch display from bottom to top. I found the curvature of the slide out keyboard aesthetically appealing and comfortable for typing. There’s also a reflective mirror hidden behind the upper portion of the phone that becomes visible when the keyboard is extended. It definitely comes in handy for taking self portraits. I’m still fascinated with how well Palm has reinvented themselves with a new generation of hardware, but it has already been over a year and it’s time for another major release.
Operating System: 4/5 stars
A smartphone’s ability to properly bring a desktop-like experience to a handheld is essential. One of those important features includes the ability to multi-task. For instance, the Apple iPhone has taken much heat for lacking that ability. Fortunately the Palm Pre Plus breezes through this with webOS 18.104.22.168. In addition, since the Pre Plus sports double the RAM, it can handle running twice as many applications at once. I managed to run nearly 10 apps at once without any issues, however having too many open can take a steep toll on battery life. Even if there’s enough RAM, the CPU will become a bottleneck as it can no longer handle all the processes. Running multiple programs definitely handled better than the Sprint Pixi that easily froze up and wouldn’t even let me make a phone call at times. The home screen, interface, and major components are still pretty much the same as with last year’s webOS. The default calendar, phonebook, contacts, and mail apps are essentially identical. The Synergy feature does an excellent job which I’ll get to in the next section. The web browser does an excellent job of rendering web pages and that’s expected since it’s called the webOS after all. The pinch to zoom works seamlessly which even the North American Motorola Droid doesn’t have yet. It’s still not as great as the iPhone’s Safari Browser, but it’s drastically superior to both Windows Mobile’s IE and BlackBerry’s browser. Moving on, the Google Maps application is wonderful as always, but still isn’t the Google Maps Navigation software found on Android devices that offers turn-by-turn directions. Verizon customers will have to opt to use the VZW Navigator which costs $10/month. A new v5.0 of the GPS software with major changes should become available in a few weeks. As for getting real work done, a built in Document Viewer lets you access Excel, Word, and PowerPoint documents. If you are ready to grab some new programs, the App Catalog has come a long way. There’s a lot more it has to offer, but it’s still far from offering numbers close to the 100,000 in the Apple App Store. Despite that, there’s a great selection of quality applications for everyone to appreciate. The UI is quite intuitive and I still love the idea of being able to “toss” a program up to close it. The home screen could better use the empty space with some sort of widgets as seen on Android devices, but you can at least customize backgrounds unlike the iPhone. Even with improved support for higher quality games, the Palm webOS probably needs some more ground-breaking features such as Synergy to truly take on competition.
The Pre Plus definitely packs a punch and seems appealing until you look at competition. The webOS, Synergy, and the hardware are all great, but it’s definitely a notch down from what both the Motorola Droid and Apple iPhone have to offer. It’s especially in the shadows compared to the Google HTC Nexus One. If you’re a Verizon Wireless customer or planning on switching to their network, the Droid is only $50 more, offers more features, and has the same monthly fees. Although the Droid may not have the ability to host a personal WiFi Hotspot, I doubt many customers will opt to pay the extra $40 each month in addition to a calling + data + texting plans. I should note that the Palm Pre is definitely easier to use and has a friendlier feel, but I truly have a hard time recommending it over the Droid. For example, the Pre Plus requires a $10/month fee for using VZ Navigator, while the Droid has the free Google Navigator. The Palm Pre hasn’t really seen any major changes other than the new gesture pad and doubling the RAM and Flash Storage. It was a unique product and fairly decent device about a year ago when it first launched, but it has definitely begun to look old compared to newer phones. The Pre Plus is really due for a major hardware upgrade along with new cutting edge software features to stay afloat. Plus with a few disadvantages such as a mediocre camera, no voice commands, a slow CPU, and a lacking App Catalog, there’s not much it offers versus other smartphones at nearly the same price range. However I should note that there isn’t anything particularly wrong about the device. It’s a wonderful creation, has a great polish, and does what it’s designed to do but simply can’t stand up against competition. If you simply like the aesthetics, the webOS, or need the hotspot feature, then this phone won’t disappoint.
Verizon is planning on adding official support for Skype to its handsets. The two companies are expected to announce a partnership at the Mobile World Congress on February 16, which will allow Skype calls to be made from Verizon phones using the provider’s 3G data plan.
This would be a shrewd move on the part of Verizon. Voice calls are becoming a less and less of a profit center for wireless carriers. Look at the big price cuts that both Verizon and AT&T introduced last month: The biggest area of price savings is in unlimited voice plans. Data is still a premium, and in the case of Verizon, there are still data caps for mobile data usage.
Read the full story on Mashable.
App developers know that apps is big business with more earning potential than ever when it comes to the iPhone platform, looking at the statistics the Palm Pre only has 1,000 current apps, Google Android only has approx 20,000 and the iPhone has a staggering 140,000 plus.
Source: Phones Reviews
Investors had come to see that Apple’s relationship with AT&T was still strong. The iPad was going to be available with pre-paid data service from AT&T, and using 3G frequencies not available on T-Mobile, the only other GSM carrier in the United States. That alone was enough to trigger a rally in shares of PALM. The stock gained 11% from the day’s low to peak at $11.98 a share, though it eventually settled down at $11.70 by the close of the market. That was a 4.7% gain from the open and a rally of close to 8% from the low of $10.75.
Source: Pre Central
Doubled RAM inside Palm’s refreshed iPhone fighter allows it to run 50 apps at a time, and even then it hasn’t hit the wall.
You could be forgiven for passing over the extra RAM in Palm’s recently announced Pre Plus as pretty dry news, but apparently a few extra megabytes here and there can make a pretty huge real-world difference. More specifically, the Verizon-bound Palm Pre Plus can run 50 applications simultaneously.
Read the full story on Digital Trends.
Palm has some good times ahead at Verizon, says Macquarie Securities analyst who upgraded the stock to buy Monday.
It became apparent that the Motorola Droid was not going to be the phone that finally slayed the mighty Apple iPhone. Throughout the past two months, Verizon has remained officially committed to selling the Palm phones early next year, when Sprint’s exclusive deal expires.
TheStreet first reported that Verizon would likely take a minimum shipment of Palm phones and offer limited sales support for the devices. At the time, people close to the company said most of the marketing resources would be focused on the Motorola Droid.
Not so, says Macquarie analyst Phil Cusick.
“Despite market worries to the contrary, our checks indicate substantial support pending for Pre and Pixi at Verizon in early 2010,” Cusick writes in his research note Monday.
Palm may have turned a corner on its troubles of 2009, Cusick argues. Spotty supplies of the Pre hampered its debut, and Sprint’s weak support as the shrinking No. 3 player didn’t help much, Cusick writes.
Read the full story on The Street.
One of Verizon’s first webOS phones will be a direct upgrade to the Pre if a leak is accurate. The company’s internal systems reportedly show a “Palm Pre Plus” without supplying further details. What it would involve isn’t clear, but the badge suggests a similar design and that upgrades are most likely to revolve around more storage or better performance.
The tip to Phone Arena is the first to directly point to a new Palm model outside of Sprint and backs up a report of advance Verizon training for webOS as a platform. The carrier is also rumored to be receiving a Wi-Fi equipped Pixi and appears to be committing to Palm in a significant way. Both phones could be critical for the smartphone maker as its lack of carrier choices, combined with competition from the iPhone, has led to declining sales even compared to its pre-webOS days.
Read the full story on Electronista
PreThinking has a comparison between the Droid and the Palm Pre, here are some of the highlights of the comparison:
One area in the phone department where the Droid takes an edge, is on the amount of time you have to wait to actually get into a call. For some reason the simplest app on the Pre, the ‘Phone’ app, seems to have quite a bit of lag. The Pre’s phone app takes 1-2 seconds longer to load then the Droid and it takes longer to switch between screens such as, recent calls, the dialer, and the contacts list. Also the Pre is lacking a favorites list which comes in handy when you have hundreds of contacts. When scrolling through the contacts list on the Droid it feels much smoother and has virtually no lag or skips. The Pre’s contacts list within the phone app has quite a bit of lag and skips often. The Pre isn’t completely out of it in the phone app though. There is nothing more rewarding than sliding out the Pre’s small keyboard in portrait mode and typing a name to immediately get results within any part of the phone app. With the Pre you can basically start typing any time when in the phone app or on the home screen. When using the Droid you have to be specifically in the contacts list and either slide out the big keyboard in landscape or hit menu then tap search. Other than that the phone apps work as they should and both offer excellent quality calls as long as you’re in a decent coverage area.
The Pre and Droid both have the TI OMAP 3430 which is also seen in the iPhone 3GS and have 256mb of RAM and 512MB of ROM. Other than their processing chip the Pre and Droid are two very dfferent beasts. The Pre comes with a 3.1 inch screen that is displayed in a colorful 24bit 320×480 resolution HVGA display. The Pre, because of its smaller screen and high color density, actually looks better than other phones with similar resolutions like the iPhone and G1. The screen is a plastic capacitive multitouch screen which has a bit of roundedness to it. The Droid has a 3.7 inch WVGA display at 854×480 Resolution. The Droid has a glass capacitive screen with multitouch (YES IT DOES HAVE MULTITOUCH) and is completely flat with a bezel around the screen that has about a 1mm lift. There is no doubt the Droid has better quality video playback when it comes to videos you put on the phone itself as well as videos streamed from YouTube. The colors are more accurate, sharp, and the videos are always nice and big due to the large screen size.
Both phones have a hardware keyboard which sets them apart from the all-powerful iPhone. So which keyboard is better? It really all depends on your personal preference. The Pre has a portrait slider that can seem a little cramped but once you get used to it you can fly. The Droid has a landscape slider that can seem a little too spread at times but once you are used to it you can fly. Neither keyboard is the best at what it is. For example the portrait keyboard the Blackberry Bold/Tour has is the one to beat in the portrait department. As far as landscape QWERTY goes, the Droid’s keyboard is not nearly as good as the TouchPro 2 slider and personally I don’t think it’s even as good as the G1 keyboard. Though Motorola did away with the chin that the G1 had, there is still a 4 way directional pad to the right of the keyboard which causes your right thumb to stretch farther than your left while typing. Both keyboards require a little bit of attention while typing because there isn’t a whole lot of difference in feel between the keys. I find myself being able to type just over 40 words per minute on both keyboards which is just fine for me. The Droid has a bit of an edge because it also has a virtual keyboard in both landscape and portrait mode. This keyboard is NOT a better alternative to either the Pre or Droid’s hardware keyboard but it is convenient and useful when making quick notes or a text.
WebOS and Android are so similar and so different at the same time it really is hard to tell which is better. They both have their strong points and they both have their weak points. WebOS is easier to use and a bit easier on the eyes when it comes to the UI. Android allows you to do a lot more customization and tweaking but is a little bit less user friendly. Android has behind it the fact that it is an open source operating system and there are multiple manufacturers working on putting out the best Android devices possible. Palm is working on getting its WebOS into customer’s hands and only has two devices. There is room in the market for both platforms. If I had to recommend a phone to someone just joining the smartphone community for the first time, I would feel obligated to recommend the Pre because of how easy it is to use. If I was recommending the phone to someone who loves customization and is coming off another platform, I might recommend the Droid.
The column that was the first to report that Verizon will indeed get the Palm Pre in early 2010 despite rumors to the contrary, reports that the same source that gave them this exclusive information more or less confirmed that Verizon will get the iPhone in 2010 – most likely in late June or early July
Telefonica O2 Czech Republic, or T-O2, plans to offer the Palm Pre and is currently testing the smartphone on its network according to a T-O2 spokesperson. Totaltele.com reports (via IntoMobile) that the company has various trials underway and they expect to make the Pre available “sometime in 2010.”
We’ll certainly include Palm Pre in our product offering but at the moment I can’t tell when exactly,” T-O2 spokesman Martin Zabka told Dow Jones Newswires, adding the Palm Pre’s launch will likely be during next year.
Source: Palm Infocenter