Sprint users rejoice! You actually have something to be excited about. The Palm Pre, possibly the most hyped phone since the iPhone (and yes, I know I’m adding to the hype by writing this post), is dropping exclusively on Sprint tomorrow, June 6th. Designed by a handful of former Apple engineers now working at Palm (including Jon Rubinstein, the man who lead development on the original iPod) the Pre is yet another entry in a growing list of supposed iPhone killers. Will it actually succeed? Probably not, because you can’t kill inanimate objects. But the phone does come pretty close in besting what Apple and others have to offer.
What exactly does the Pre have to offer Sprint users and/or potential iPhone converts? Well, besides sporting a beautiful, curved slider design with a touchscreen and a physical QWERTY keyboard, the phone also features a 3.0 megapixel camera (with flash), EV-DO Rev. A, 802.11b/g WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth with A2DP, an accelerometer so you can put the phone in landscape mode during web browsing, and 8GB of built-in storage. The Pre supports numerous email service and performs Blackberry-like push email as well. Users can also do some things on the Pre that the iPhone is currently incapable of, including copying and pasting, MMS, and a universal search function that looks up terms not only on the phone, but also on the internet. However, for most people the major draw of the Pre is its brand-spanking-new operating system called webOS and it’s dead simple yet elegant multitouch user interface. Each program in use appears as a virtual card on screen, and you can flip through them and zoom in to use one, or simply dismiss a program by flicking it up off the screen. Best of all, unlike the iPhone the Pre can run different apps simultaneously.
Their are a few downsides to the Pre, though. For one thing, battery life is weaker compared to the competition. While the battery does just fine when surfing the web or just talking on the phone, it drains significantly faster when listening to music or watching videos. Thankfully the battery is user replaceable. The bigger concern, however, is the app store, the App Catalog. Right now the App Catalog only has a dozen apps compared to the over 40,000 on Apple’s service and the thousands available for Blackberry users. Things will undoubtedly improve over the coming months, but if you buy a Pre thinking you’ll have access to a wide variety of games or programs off the bat you’ll be severely disappointed.
Production of the Pre will be limited initially, so don’t even think about lollygagging if you’re trying to scoop one up. Sprint stores will be selling the Pre on contract for $200 after a $100 mail-in rebate. However, Best Buy is offering the phone for $200 sans rebate.
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