Yesterday Sprint finally made the big announcement about the Palm Pre officially confirming the launch date for the device as June 6. Along with the announcement of the official release, date came some details on the features of the Pre. As a long time iPhone user immediately started mentally comparing the features to see which phone sounded better.
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The key benefit that Sprint is talking up about the Pre is that the phone allows you to enjoy the benefits of access to your business contacts and calendars without having to give up access to features that are often only found in more consumer oriented mobile phones. I get the picture that Sprint wants users to think of the Pre as a cross between the iPhone and the Blackberry.
Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said, "The argument that you need one phone for work and another phone for play, or that you have to make compromises between business and lifestyle productivity, is over. With Pre, compromises of the past are history.”
I have used an iPhone since shortly after the device launched, I simply have never wanted for a phone that could work better than the iPhone, and I bet many users feel the same way. The feature that Sprint thinks fills the perceived gap in devices that can handle work and personal lives is called Palm Synergy. The feature is actually a combination of three different things.
Linked contacts allow you to have one single point of entry for all of your contacts no matter if you communicate with the same person via email, text, IM, or Facebook. Linked contacts recognizes that all of the different contact sources are actually the same person and offers them in one location. That is a cool feature and one that the iPhone does as well. You can wrap multiple contact types into one contact listing on the iPhone and then email, call, or text directly from a single page in the iPhone contacts.
Combined messaging is a cool feature of the Pre that the iPhone doesn't offer. With combined messaging, you can see all conversations with the same person in a chat-style window regardless of how the conversation was stated. Say you start a conversation on IM and then switch to texting; you can still follow the entire conversation thread from one location.
Layered calendars is the final aspect of Palm Synergy and is one of the big features that Sprint feels lets the phone work equally as well for business and personal use. With layered calendars, users can see personal, work, or other calendars layered together in one view. The layers can also be removed to see just personal or business appointments as well.
One thing that has often bothered me about the iPhone is if you want to switch tasks in the middle of doing something, you need to start over. For instance if I am playing a game or reading a webpage and get a text to reply to, whatever I was doing closes to move to the text page of the iPhone. That means after the text is over I have to reopen the browser or start the game again.
The Pre allows users to run multiple activities at once and move between them like a deck of cards. When you are done with items, they can be closed by flicking them off the top of the screen. I really wish the iPhone had this feature, the Pre gets points here.
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One thing I haven’t heard much on for the Pre is expandability with applications like the Apple App store offers. The key feature for many iPhone users is the App store that allows extension of the iPhone with more features and game very easily. The Pre is bound to offer an app store of some sort, how well it will be integrated into the Pre and how well it will function with the device remains to be seen.
More Palm Pre News.