01/08/2009, 04:04 PM
Ok, my thoughts:
The Pre and WebOS look good. I'd stop short of calling this device or the OS "revolutionary" for right now. There seems to be a little bit of "irrational exuberance" on this point. Since, as far as we can tell so far, Palm did not screw it up and disappoint as we're used to seeing them do recently, so of course, Palm diehards like us are excited. It's just nice to see a Palm launch that ISN'T a disaster for one reason or another. We'll have to see how it all works together and make sure they got it all right under the surface. It looks like a nice device, and maybe one for which I could possibly be moved into the slider camp if it works well enough one-handed.
But will this device and this OS save Palm? That might be a tall order at this point. The iPhone is a runaway hit because it has obvious, surface-visible qualities that differentiate it. Does the Pre have anything immediately visible that really sets it apart from the other stuff out there? I'm not sure it does. The mass market is shallow. The feature set of the phone appears to blow the iPhone away. But there were phones already available when the iPhone came out that blew the iPhone away, yet the iPhone became a runaway success. Why? Because the mass market is shallow and highly influenced by marketing and trends. It's not that the Pre will be competing exclusively or even necessarily primarily against the iPhone. But right now, Palm needs that kind of sales sensation. In an already terribly crowded smartphone market, I think it is too early to tell whether the Pre will be able to carve out a meaningful niche. I hope they have a hip, saavy marketing campaign ready, maybe with a few celebrities lined up to promote it.
Not sure about the name. Pre? I know most of the hardcore techies around parts such as these will say, "who cares what it is called", but for mass marketing, it matters. That's just a reality. Maybe they have a nice marketing campaign to build around that name. But it seems on the surface to be a rather lackluster moniker for a "this device must save our company" product.
But I don't want to wallow in negativity. It's a good looking device and kudos to the Palm team. Let's see if it is enough to push them back to success.