Last week, I had a unique opportunity to meet and speak with a Pair of Palm PRPRPR $People$ ($say$ $THAT$ $ten$ $times$ $fast$! $8230$;.$No$ $really$, $I$$8217$;$ll$ $wait$), $showing$ $off$ $their$ $new$ $Palm$ $Pre$ $2$ $for$ $Verizon$.
Originally Posted by dishe
I brought along an Original Sprint-branded Pre for comparison purposes, however being the brilliant Blogging Journalist that I am, I forgot a camera. What I managed to get, however, is a series of photos of the Pre 2 as viewed by the original Pre’s camera. That’s got to count for some kind of artistic irony or something, right?
Meanwhile, my impression of the Pre 2 was fairly positive. The hardware is faster and offers longer battery life without growing any larger or bulkier, due to a much more efficient processor. Although I rather liked the shiny polished shell of the original Pre, the Pre2 has a very classy rubberized shell now, and the display is coated with (supposedly) shatter-proof gorilla glass. Palm also addressed a personal pet peeve of mine- the USB connector door. There is no longer a door to fumble with when trying to connect the USB cable for charging, but rather an exposed reinforced plug instead (See picture above).
Also, like the Pixi and Pre Plus, the Pre 2 did away with the exposed button for a purely capacitive touch area with LED under the display. I’ll be honest, I kind of like that button on the original Pre, but the reps explained that in their research, people found it confusing compared to the iPhone. The iPhone has a single button that takes you home, but this one zooms out to your card stack display (Palm’s elegant multi-tasking system). Another press brings you back into the forground application. Apparently, people who were used to iPhones kept pressing this button thinking it would eventually get them to their program launcher screen, but instead it would zoom in/out of the current process. So, Palm decided to do away with the button in an effort to separate itself and avoid confusion.
I’m honestly not a fan of this idea, I like having hardware keys. But, chalk this up as another way the iPhone seems to often ruin the party for everyone else…
Anyway, all in all, it looks like Palm is trying to address the build quality problems that many complained about on some of the early manufacturing of the Pre. Reinforced connections, more ruggedized shell material, etc.
Other than that, however, the form factor has not changed from the original Pre. Its still the same slider, same size display and resolution, however a slightly improved keyboard. The real differences between the experience on my original Pre and the new one was mostly due to WebOS 2.0. The new WebOS has some nice additions to the old platform, including a spell checker and better input options (the phone effectively ignored the accidentally pressed keys around the letter I was trying to type. Nice). The stacked cards effect was kind of interesting, however its not something I feel necessary. In fact, I might even be inclined to turn that feature off if the option is available.
But since WebOS 2.0 will be available as an update for the original Pre, one can’t help but wonder if the Pre 2 isn’t more of a minor upgrade to the original Pre (perhaps what the Pre Plus should have been, arguably).
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I respect that Palm doesn’t change something simply for the sake of change. People said the same thing when the iPhone 3G and 3GS came out… its really just a rehashing of the original. But if you have an original concept that WORKS and people like it, why change it into something else?
When Palm designed the Pre, I think they were on to something. It may not have the largest screen available, but its the most pocketable powerful device on the market currently, and it actually is rather pleasing aesthetically.
I eagerly await more webOS form factors to come out (which has already been rumored on the web), but until then I’m glad they didn’t mess up the Pre.
Now, my final question to the PRPRPR $team$ $was$ $about$ $the$ $interesting$ $choice$ $of$ $Verizon$ $as$ $launch$ $partner$. $The$ $original$ $Pre$ $and$ $Centro$ $before$ $that$ $were$ $launched$ $first$ $with$ $Sprint$, $and$ $it$ $was$ $rumored$ $that$ $Sprint$ $and$ $Palm$ $have$ $some$ $kind$ $of$ $working$ $relationship$ $going$ $on$. $So$, $why$ $the$ $jump$ $to$ $Verizon$?
They didn’t have much information to share with me, other than it will be on all major carriers pretty soon (sit back, Sprint fans with original Pre’s).
I have a theory, however. One of the failings of the original Pre was marketing.
Verizon has shown that it knows how to market a product with their series of Droid ads. Some argue that Verizon brought Android out of the obscurity of the G1, and helped create a branding to oppose the iPhone. Meanwhile, when the Pre Plus was released on Verizon, they were busy pushing their “exclusive” Droids, and not really caring much about little old Palm (some Verizon Reps even tried to say that the Pre was more like a girls’ smartphone, and the Droid with its raw power was a manly phone. Seriously??).
I’m wondering if Palm and Verizon worked something out in which the big red V would push and market the Pre 2 as an exclusive device, something Sprint seemed unable to do properly.
Either way, Palm made it very clear that they will not be exclusive to Verizon for very long.