The Palm Pre's release is on us: Saturday June 6th. There's a chance you've never heard of the Palm Pre, but you've definitely heard of the iPhone. Many geeks in the blogosphere are saying that the Pre will be the new iPhone killer. It behooves us to first examine what differences there are between the Pre and the iPhone.
One of the largest physical differences is that the Palm Pre has a slide-out keyboard while the iPhone uses an emulated keyboard using the touchscreen as the physical user interface. I know many an iPhone user that, after many months, have still not completely and comfortably mastered the touchscreen keyboard the same way they've mastered their previous phone's real buttons, say, when text messaging. The Palm Pre's slide out keyboard has real buttons, although quite small. If you've played with a Palm Centro, that is about how big the buttons will be on it. So if you're like me, going from a Treo 700 to a Pre, there will be some getting used to these buttons.
The touchscreen is where most of the action will be happening anyway. It is a 3.1 touchscreen with multi-touch features. Like the iPhone you will be able to use two fingers to zoom in and out, and other new gestures are introduced, although most of us will have to play with them to fully understand them first. I know that they include multi-touch twisting motions. There is also a gesture area directly below the touchscreen and a ball bearing-like button in the middle to launch and control applications.
One of the largest innovations in the Palm Pre is the introduction of a new operating system as well called Web OS. This new OS allows for multiple apps to run simultaneously, and has been described by tech writers as being quite slick. iPhone's OS can not as of yet handle multiple apps.
The main advantage iPhone has over the Pre is that the touchscreen is significantly larger. I will be getting all of the Pre's features including GPS, unlimited data, and unlimited texting with 450 minutes for $ 69, which is about what I'm already paying. This is much cheaper than AT & T, so score another one for the Pre.