To those in the know, Palm is on the ropes. The company is up for sale and there is no clear indication of whom, if anyone, will be buying it. However, there is more to the story than just the company’s corporate future; in all the media frenzy, the story of the WebOS has not been told. In addition, the new Palm Pre Plus is a shining example of the power of that OS platform.
Palm is fighting back on a number of fronts, first it has opened its phones up to carriers other than Sprint/Nextel, a move that in intended to get the Palm phones out to a larger market. This is a major move as they have stuck with Sprint/Nextel exclusively for quite some time and the brand recognition has suffered because of it.
Beyond this, the company has been feverishly at work with a new developer platform, Ares. There have been 9 direct updates to its OS and Palm is moving quickly within the realm of App development and distribution, although it will still take some time to catch up to anyone else. This is great stuff, but does the new Palm Pre Plus smartphone show the effects?
Major Design Upgrades
The smartphone itself is getting some major upgrades. There is the addition of Wi-Fi, a welcomed improvement on the unit’s suite of tools. That is not the only major hardware improvement though; it is also getting memory upgrades. The Pre will be shipping with an additional 8 GB of storage and double the previous RAM. This, coupled with the WebOS, is a powerful combination. A full review of the Palm WebOS is beyond the scope of this article but I highly recommend that you research this one for yourself. Palm Pre Plus has been touted as one of the most revolutionary and advanced smartphone operating systems ever developed.
For example, with the WebOS you no longer have to wait while you snap a picture, the infamous lag that you get with other camera phones is not present on this one. The reason is that the camera picture preprocessing is done by the WebOS itself and that greatly accelerates the camera’s system. Oh, and it has a flash, too. Its audio performance is none to shabby either.
One of the biggest smartphone annoyances is always the audio performance, not just music but phone calls as well. Many have a tinny, metallic sound to them and the Palm Pre Plus does not; or at least not as much as the others do. The Palm Pre is by far one of the best smartphones on the market. There is no doubt that the WebOS is a potential market changer and can easily give both Apple’s iPhone OS4 soon to be update and Android 2.1 a serious run for the money.
Another feature that makes the Palm Pre Plus and the Pixi Plus both a market threat is their looks. In the opinion of almost everyone that meets it, the Palm Pre is downright sexy. Until this point, it was the only phone that could give the iPhone a run for its money on looks (then the Legend and Desire arrived from HTC). It not just the slider design, but the phone itself; the material, the lines, this one has it all.
There are a few glitches in the slider’s design though. For example, while it is well designed, it is a little “unnerving.” There is no audible click to indicate that the slider has slid out fully and there can be a little too much play in the slide for comfort.
The Downside: Not What you Expect
For the most part, the downsides of this product are issues of its positioning in the market. With the release of these new units and the expansion to the Verizon network, this is bound to change. Keep in mind that WebOS is in its 1.0 version and it is already a major threat to the others out there. There is every indication that the future path is very promising. The phone is a good performer and excels in certain critical areas that make it a solid product. With the new upgrades and the new carriers, I would watch this one; Palm is the dark horse in the race and if given a chance, it is going to catch up.
References & resources:
Palm USA: Palm Pre Plus Features & Specifications & Details
Engadget: Palm Pre Plus (and Pixi Plus) Review
Engadget: Palm Pre review, part 1: Hardware, webOS, user interface