Just like the underdog against a world champion, Palm's quasi-resurrection during a single CES presentation shows that there is still life left in a company whose shares have lost 99.18 percent of their value over the last decade.
Palm Pre is impressive for a number of reasons - we've shortlisted five - and is a serious competitor to the raft of touchscreen smartphones we've seen in 2008: iPhone, HTC H1, Nokia 5800XpressMusic and Blackberry Touch.
(1) Palm Pre has a keyboard
Palm is the only smartphone from the lot of recent high profile touchscreen phones to have a slide out keyboard that comes out at the bottom rather than on the side (like HTC's Android phone).It should suit most people who will find the layout familiar. It is also quite close to the feel of traditional Blackberry clients (ed : I guess using the keyboard in landscape mode is a no-go)
(2) Palm Pre has a great screen
The Pre has a 3.1 inch capable of displaying 320 x 480 pixels and although it is a few pixels short compared to say, the Blackberry Storm, some might prefer a 3:2 screen ratio (as for the Pre), compared to the more rectangular 4:3 ratio. This, in turn, is more suitable for a smartphone with a keyboard located on its shorter side.
(3) Palm Pre needs no wires
Yep. True. Provided you use Bluetooth for your headphones and to transfer data, the Palm pre would become the first smartphone to actually say goodbye to wires. Its Touchstone charging dock is perhaps more revolutionary than Apple's own anti-tripping magsafe adaptor. Downside is that it is an optional accessory that will need a special back cover.
(4) Bluetooth tethering
We might be wrong but the Palm Pre is one of the very few touchscreen smartphones to allow bluetooth tethering. This allows the phone to be used as a modem for a laptop for example.
(5) Palm WebOS
(6) And the rest
A real camera with autofocus and a LED flash, multi touch haptic screen, Copy and paste, a TI processor with a PowerGX core, removable battery, proper multi tasking and the slightly curved profile which might appeal to some.
Palm did not promise much but delivered quite a lot. Stuff.tv says that it is an iphone killer and there's no reason why it shouldn't. Palm has managed to poach quite a few Apple senior staff in the past years and it seems that combining their expertise with Palm's long tradition of creating portable device means that there's a real chance that it will beat the iPhone like for like.
Unfortunately, this could yet be a long way off. The Pre is still not yet released. Palm is working on a 3G GSM version for the rest of the world. The smartphone comes "only" with 8GB memory and won't be upgradable.
It is likely to be more expensive than the iPhone (at least that's what Palm CEO said) and Palm's Appstore is anemic compared to Apple's. Things are about to get very interesting in 2009 and for once, Microsoft is worryingly lagging behind.
Palm gets in on the party
(All about Symbian)