Dueling opinions: five reasons why the Pre will succeed, or was that fail? | webOS Nation

Dueling opinions: five reasons why the Pre will succeed, or was that fail?

by Derek Kessler Tue, 02 Jun 2009 3:36 pm EDT

Palm Pre, the good and the bad

Pre week is here, so that means its time for all the tech pundits to strap on their thinking caps can come up with provocative things to write about the Palm Pre. There are two camps that these writers can jump into that will be sure to rile the masses: the Pre will succeed and prove a worthy challenge to Apple and RIM, or the Pre will fail and Palm will see its last days. Over at ZDNet they’re expecting a homerun, and PC World doesn’t anticipate much success for Palm.

We’ll try our best to play the reasonable devil’s advocate along the way, and we’ll start with the bad: PC World. To boil it down, their five points are as follow...



5. Despite successes of the past, Palm of today is not the same Palm that brought us the Palm Pilot or even the Treo. PC World says, “Palm is effectively, a start-up.” Things can go wrong, despite all the fresh blood. Of course, the fresh blood is what has brought us a device as revolutionary as the Pre (and it was fresh blood that brought us the Palm Pilot and the Treo), so despite the missteps that fresh blood can bring, it was needed.

4. Users today won’t think much of multi-tasking on their phones. While everybody but the iPhone supports multi-tasking, without having been able to truly leverage its full capabilities people just won’t be able to fully comprehend what to do with it. This assumes that users are not smart enough to fully leverage the capabilities of webOS, and with how dead simple Palm has made it, it’s hard do believe that would be the case.

3. On a similar note to #5, the new blood in Palm does not have the same experience with developers that Old Palm or even Apple today has. Without a strong developer base there won’t be enough applications to justify getting the Pre over something like an iPhone of Blackberry.

2. In a stretch, the slide-out keyboard was a bad call. Apparently people don’t want a compact device with the best of both the iPhone and BlackBerry/Treo hardware worlds. Whodathunk?

1. The biggest and most relevant point of all: Palm just doesn’t have the cash to compete. The assumption is that even if Palm makes all the Pre phones they possibly can, but still can’t meet demand (that’s bad?) and can’t capture market share to gain third-party developers.


So, that’s PC World’s take. Ready for ZDNet’s positive spin?

5. Palm has experience building the ecosystem of software. Much more so than any other mobile platform, Palm has worked with third-party developers until the cows came home. Only problem is, we’re working with a whole new platform right now and the SDK hasn’t even been made public.

4. The Pre is not the iPhone, and carriers like that. We all know that AT&T has (at least for now) the exclusive in the states on the iPhone, and everybody else is looking for a phone to compete. Moreso than any phone in the last two years, the Pre has been hailed by the media as that phone, and Sprint is pleased as punch to be the exclusive launch partner. So excited is the mobile industry by the Pre that even Verizon (despite the BlackBerry Storm) and AT&T (despite the iPhone) both want the Pre and other webOS devices on their networks.

3. webOS development is easy as pie, and developers like pie. With the SDK application development environment centered around HTML, JavaScript, and CSS, developing for the Pre will not only be easy, but it will be easy for the tens of thousands of experience web developers already out there. Unlike the iPhone (Objective C) and Android (Java), very little specialized experience will be needed to develop a lean and powerful application. There are, of course, two problems. The first is that there’s only so much you can do with HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. Developers are going to want deeper native access so they can code more powerful applications. Second is the limited deployment of the Mojo SDK. Eventually it will go public, but for now only approved developers are getting it, which means there will be fewer applications in the App Catalog.

2. Standing in stark contrast to PC World’s #2, ZDNet thinks that the combination slide-out QWERTY keypad and the full touchscreen is 100% win. The full screen is great for reading and web browsing, whereas the physical keyboard is great for entering text with ease. While the sliding design is a compromise between the two, all compromises come with parts that people are bound to not like: it makes the device thicker and generally results in a smaller screen and keyboard (or a relatively large device, like the G1).

1. Multi-tasking. Sure, all of the Pre’s competitors (iPhone excluded) support multi-tasking out of the box, but none have found so elegant a solution to managing multiple applications. The cards metaphor utilized so effectively by webOS combined with the unobtrusive notifications are so reminiscent of desktop applications that users will feel right at home.

There you have it, five points against and five points for the Palm Pre. Give it a few months and we’ll have an idea of which side was right. But you know who we’re pulling for.

Thanks to no1smartphone and clevin in our forums for the tips!