Palm Pre: The Emperor’s New Phone

“Palm impressed CES attendees this year with the unveiling of a new smartphone OS and prototype hardware called the Palm Pre. Given the low expectations set for the firm, the demos drew applause. But why?” Daniel Eran Dilger asks for RoughlyDrafted.

Dilger writes, “Imagine a company announcing a new smartphone that blew away the current state of the art and ushered in a totally revamped user interface with intuitive touch control. That would merit applause. Now wait two years and duplicate the same demo, with missing functionality and lots of important details still unreleased, including the phone’s price.”

“Palm simply showed up with a copycat iPhone interface two years late. But that isn’t the most egregiously lame part of the Pre’s introduction. Imagine now a different scenario: a new phone with a radical new approach to UI and mobile software is given an open, web standards-based SDK and developers are invited to write cool new applets for the device. Everyone groans and registers a wintery volley of discontent, complaining that without a native SDK, they’d rather develop for other platforms,” Dilger writes. “That of course was the iPhone in the fall of 2007, before Apple released its Cocoa-based development tools that allowed developers to write actual apps, not just Widget-like JavaScript applets.”

“So now Palm scrambles out a demo of a Linux phone running what is essentially a Dashboard layer of browser widgets written in HTML and JavaScript, and CES pundits hail the project as a phenomenal wonderful development, even though the company hasn’t released any details on how to actually develop those supposedly wide open apps outside of a small, closed subset of developers,” Dilger writes. “This is just another gagging example of how the tech media can complain about the downsides of getting Christmas ponies from Apple while marveling at the potential of diamonds from the chunks of coal thrown at them by other tech companies.”

There’s much more in the full article – highly recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote last Thursday in response to Palm’s Pre, “Been there. Done that; and better, too. In 2007.”


  1. It’s all psychology. Apple has gone out of it’s way to show itself in a smarmy way – look at us – we’re great. Personally I love that – but I like showoffs. There’s a large percentage of people that hate showoffs. I like the new ads, though – they went a long way toward toning down Apple’s “holier than thou” ads from 1984.

  2. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Finally someone gets it. I’ve been thinking this ever since the demo. Why would anyone go gaga over such a device. I remember loving my iPhone from day one, but yearning for the day when native apps would be available. I didn’t even bother with 3rd party apps until I could install them natively as of version 2.0.

    Convenience. Performance. Functionality. Good luck with web-based anything. Anything short of native apps is a dismal failure and a patch. Perhaps the Pre implementation will be different / better, but I am supremely unimpressed.

  3. What was quoted from Dilger’s article here is difficult to refute. In other words, it may have been fanboyism, but it was certainly with a lot of merit (at least this time).

    I have no problem with Dilger’s articles. He clearly and eloquently articulates the advantages of everything Apple over the non-Apple competition, and as such provides Apple community in general a valuable service. Without Dilgers (i.e. what in the 90’s used to be called Mac Evangelists), we probably wouldn’t be exactly where we are now. They have kept spreading the word and informing the uninformed.

  4. This may be the best quote ever from Daniel:

    “This is just another gagging example of how the tech media can complain about the downsides of getting Christmas ponies from Apple while marveling at the potential of diamonds from the chunks of coal thrown at them by other tech companies.”

    So true, and hilarious as well. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

    PS – @ Jenson, you make your arguments look foolish with the over the top characterisations like “inane dribbling” etc. No one should or will take you seriously as long as you engage in that sort of ridiculousness.

  5. Great writing, Daniel Eran. I was thinking the same thing when I watched the QT of the Pre introduction:

    “Hey, didn’t Apple get railed for (initially) only having Web Apps on the iPhone.” Yes, they did.

    No wonder the Pre allows for so many “apps” to be running simultaneously — they’re just browser tabs/Dashboard Widgets.

    So, Palm’s version of the App Store is going to be like visiting the iPhone Web Apps section on Apple’s website. How…very…lame.

  6. Any psychologist will tell you, people are easily fooled because they don’t have logical, deductive minds in general, they’re emotional. 95% off all detractors who ever post here – have negative emotional feelings about Apple, MDN, or Roughly Drafted.
    (All men aren’t logical, like all women aren’t emotional, the lines cross – not calling anyone a girly-man, but I’m just saying) ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />
    Marketers use logic to deal with the public in an illogical manner.
    Watch ‘Century of the Self’ and see how simply the public is influenced. MDN cracks jokes, but they mainly cut through the fog. time after time after time. Compare Apple’s 5 year history, and products with any other company side by side, and the innovator is clearly defined. Emotional arguments aren’t results orientated so all competitors are rendered equal, which is not reality.

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