At the Consumer's Electronic Show in North America, Palm - a company many thought was dead, came up with a killer.
The company unveiled a new touch-screen phone called the Palm Pre, and it’s all the tech writers could talk about.
Every company and its brother has tried to duplicate the success and the magic of the iPhone. But they’ve all been working from checklists. Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth, touch screen — yawn. They never get the importance of elegance, fun, whimsy, simplicity, design.
Palm does. Led by the ex-Apple engineering executive Jon Rubinstein, Palm has created a spectacular, beautiful, joyous machine.
The Palm Pre rips off the iPhone in plenty of spots — multi-touch, pinch to zoom in or out, flick to the next photo, online software catalog and so on. But it also brims with one completely new idea after another.
For example, you’re not limited to running one program at a time; you can juggle multiple programs, e-mail messages or Web pages by flicking your finger through a spread of cool little “cards” on the screen. As an option, you can get a wireless, magnetic charging dock: you just set the phone on it to recharge. No cable to find or plug in.
The address book automatically sucks in your contacts from Outlook, Gmail and Facebook, so you have only one unified little black book for all. Same with your calendars from work, Google and Facebook — all on the same grid. Same with e-mail accounts (everything in a single in-box). Same with real-time messaging (text messages and chat messages in a single scrolling dialogue with each friend). It all makes perfect sense.
The software is fast, fun and flicky, and you can master it in six minutes. Gotta love the single button on the top, too: tap for Sleep, hold for Off or Airplane Mode (wireless off), slide to the side to shut off all sounds.
Oh, and the Pre also does away with the usual iPhone gripes. There’s a slide-out thumb keyboard, and it has a wonderful, rubberized clicky feel; you can pop the battery out yourself (the phone is smaller but thicker than the iPhone); and yes, there’s copy and paste. Best of all, there’s no five-year exclusive carrier tie-in with AT&T this time; the phone is only for Sprint, but that’s a limited-time exclusive.