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Review: Palm Pre Smartphone Mostly Pleases

Palm needs the Pre to be a smash. There is a lot to like about the handset, but the iPhone, RIM's Blackberry line, and a coming crop of Android devices pose serious obstacles.
Apps Catalog

The Pre is loaded with a beta version of Palm's forthcoming application catalog. It works in very similar fashion to the stores we've seen from Apple, Google, and Research In Motion. A lot of the apps available include those from Pandora, the AP, AccuWeather, Fandango, New York Times, and others. Each application has a star rating (1 to 5) as well as user reviews.

Applications download and install in mere seconds and are automatically added to the main menu. The beta version of the site has not been populated with too many applications, but more are on the way.

Odds and Ends

Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth are all included. Each works as well as you'd expect them to. The Wi-Fi was speedy for browsing, the GPS worked great with both Sprint Navigation and Google Maps for mapping out directions, and the Bluetooth works well with both mono and stereo headsets.

Conclusion

The Pre from Palm gets most things right. The hardware itself isn't great, but it isn't terrible either. The design is pretty, but could have been executed slightly better. The display is excellent, though the QWERTY keyboard my frustrate some. As for managing user contact data, it gets everything right. Synergy is excellent, a model for the industry. Messaging needs are well in hand. Multimedia capabilities are taken care of in good order, with only the lack of video capture standing out.

The Pre itself may leave some disappointed, but webOS has a future. I'm already looking forward to the next smartphone from Palm to run webOS.


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