John Paczkowski

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A Palm Pre Review Roundup

pre_thumbsupIf it is the Pre that will decide Palm’s (PALM) fate in the smartphone market, if it is truly the bet-the-company device that it’s described as, then Palm has made a good bet and the company’s going to be around for some time to come. The early reviews of the Pre are in and they are, to a one, glowing — with some caveats about a poor battery life, a small selection of apps and some hardware flaws. The gadgeterati’s verdict on the device below:

It’s a beautiful, innovative and versatile hand-held computer that’s fully in the iPhone’s class. … All in all, I believe the Pre is a smart, sophisticated product that will have particular appeal for those who want a physical keyboard. It is thoughtfully designed, works well and could give the iPhone and BlackBerry strong competition — but only if it fixes its app store and can attract third-party developers.

Walt Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal

Think of it like this. The software is agile, smart and capable. The hardware, on the other hand, is a liability. If Palm can get someone else to design and build their hardware—someone who has hands and can feel what a phone is like when physically used, that phone might just be one of the best phones on the market.

Jason Chen, Gizmodo

To put it simply, the Pre is a great phone, and we don’t feel any hesitation saying that. Is it a perfect phone? Hell no. Does its OS need work? Definitely. But are any of the detracting factors here big enough to not recommend it? Absolutely not.

Joshua Topolsky, Engadget

So do the Pre’s perks (beautiful hardware and software, compact size, keyboard, swappable battery, flash, multitasking, calendar consolidation) outweigh its weak spots (battery life, occasional sluggishness, ringer volume)? Oh, yes indeedy. Especially when you consider that Verizon Wireless has announced that it will carry the Pre “in the next six months or so.” Can you imagine how great that will be? One of the world’s best phones on the nation’s best cell network?

David Pogue, The New York Times

WIRED Great look and superb feel. Well-conceived OS with multitasking and instant notification. Physical keyboard. Utilizes iTunes to load and refresh content.

TIRED Multitasking puts a big suck on the battery. Sprint exclusivity will be annoying to Palm-philes on a contract with AT&T, Verizon or T-Mobile. Keyboard is puny. If Apple blocks the handset’s access to iTunes, Pre users are hosed.

Steven Levy, Wired

The Pre offers a lot, but has some glaring omissions. If you’re willing to give up features such as video capture and don’t mind being limited to 8GB of storage, the Pre will offer you excellent personal information and messaging management along with a user interface that outperforms many others in return.

Eric Zeman, PhoneScoop

The first Palm Pre will certainly give the iPhone and other rivals a run for their money. To be sure, there are areas where it could improve: Bring on the apps. But Palm has delivered a device that will keep it in the game and give it a chance to star in it.

Ed Baig, USA Today

Move over, iPhone. You’ve had two years on top of the smart phone world. Now there’s a touch-screen phone with better software: the Palm Pre. In a remarkable achievement, Palm, a company that was something of a has-been, has come up with a phone operating system that is more powerful, elegant and user-friendly.

Peter Svensson, AP

While the Pre isn’t perfect, it definitely does not disappoint: I found the WebOS interface clean, engaging, and intuitive. My main issues were with the hardware itself. …Hardware flaws aside, the Palm Pre made a solid impression on me. Its eye-catching design and smooth operation make this smartphone the most exciting device I’ve seen in a while.

Ginny Mies, PC World

The long-awaited Pre has nice new touches, but Palm Inc has a lot of work to do if the device is to be a serious competitor to the iPhone. The device seemed to live up to some expectations but fall short on others.

Sinead Carew, Reuters

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik