Sunday, January 11, 2009

CES '09 Palm Keynote

Now that the world is sinking into a recession, I assumed that CES wouldn't have been as exciting, so I didn't pay attention to any CES related post. Of course, I would never miss a Macworld keynote even with Steve Jobs missing, but since Bill Gates is left CES (and MS) last year, I'll have to admit that my interest in CES died a little.

I was browsing Gizmodo late one night and saw that Palm Keynote in high res. is available for download. How convenient. Why not watch it? While everyone thinks that Palm is dying a sure death, I might as well see what they're up to and see if I can come to the same conclusion since I have never owned a Palm device and know almost nothing about the company.

My first impression is that they're really trying to copy the Macworld wow factor with all the polish in the presentation. They then introduce the Pre, and bring up a lot of references to Apple and responses to Apple's previous negative comments. Long into the presentation, it seems that the Pre is a really compelling competitor to the iPhone. I 'want' to say that the Pre seems like a *very official* counterfeit version of the iPhone because they ensured that the Pre had to do many things that the iPhone can, but I have to give them credit for their "human centric designed philosphy" and new UI navigation techniques.

I also have to give them a lot of credit for the slick, smooth UI. I'm a HUGE fan of my iPod Touch's UI eye-candy-ish navigation. Unlike the BlackBerries where everything is pretty much Java (which is slower), their new "Web OS" platform seems to be able to satisfy the eye-candy hungry geeks like me.

Hm... the Pre will be released in the first half of 2009. It'll be exclusive to Sprint, so again, only available in the US (as like the iPhone originally). Sprint is relatively far behind in market share compared to Verizon and AT&T I believe, so I think that may be somewhat of a mistake on Palm's part in terms of choosing a carrier partner, but I supposed they had no choice since AT&T already had the iPhone and the Bold, and Verizon already had the Storm for a touchscreen smartphone. Another interesting thing to note is that Palm possibly chose Sprint because CDMA (and thus EVDO) coverage is massive as compared to.. say AT&T whose network is probably burning down from all those jailbroken iPhones tethering to latops on unlimited data plans.

The mobile industry is really starting to heat up. I'm quite impressed and excited. Maybe palm isn't as dead as everyone thought. It was definitely an interesting watch, especially since I must be mindful of the fact I just started a new-grad position at RIM.