The T-Grid: Palm Pre vs. the Possible Next-Generation iPhone

By  |  Friday, May 22, 2009 at 11:44 am

The forty-eight hour period that begins on the morning of June 6th promises to be one of the most eventful in the history of smartphones to date. That’s when Sprint will begin selling the much-anticipated Palm Pre. And on June 8th, Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference will kick off with a keynote which most smart folks think will involve the announcement of the next-generation iPhone. Chances seem good that by late afternoon, the tech world’s biggest question will be this: Who has the hotter phone, Palm or Apple?

So it seemed like a good time to put together my first T-Grid in a while–and the first one that compares a product about which we know quite a lot (the Pre) against one that’s nothing more than a chimera of speculation so far (the next iPhone). The specs for the iPhone are based on rumors and informed guesswork, and almost certainly include both stuff that’s dead-on and stuff that will turn out to be sheer fantasy.

As usual with these T-Grids, I’m not claiming that you can use this one to determine which phone is superior. Actually, I think the most interesting differences between the two phones will relate to their software and user interfaces, and there’s no way to summarize most of that in a chart–especially when nobody’s had a chance to review the Pre, and the next iPhone remains shrouded in mystery. Still, it’s fun to start to think about how the two superphones may compare in terms of specs.

This T-Grid is a work in progress, subject to expansion and revision–and at some point, I’ll replace it with one that compares the Pre against the real next-gen iPhone:

The phones
Palm Pre
Palm Pre
Possible next-generation Apple iPhone 3G
Palm’s webOS
Apple’s iPhone OS 3.0
June 6th
Um, how about July?
U.S. carrier
$299.99 with two-year contract; $199.99 after $100 rebate; 8GB only
$199 for 16GB model or $299 for 32GB model with two-year contract
Service (Unlimited voice minutes, data, and text messages)
$100 per month
$150 per month
It’ll be Sprint-only
Yup, to AT&T
Black (16GB and 32GB); white (32GB only)
Size and weight
3.96” by 2.34” by 0.67”; 4.76 oz.
TBD, but probably not radically different than current iPhone 3G’s 4.5″ by 2.4″by 0.48″ and 4.7 oz.
Screen size, resolution, and technology
3.1″; 480 by 320; LCD
Probably 3.5″ and 480 by 320; rumors of an OLED screen are neat if true
600-MHz TI OMAP3430 CPU
An unspecified 600-MHz CPU?
Maybe, eventually
Multi-touch touchscreen and slide-out physical keyboard
Multi-touch touchscreen with on-screen keyboard
Micro USB
iPod Dock Connector
Wi-Fi and GPS
Got ’em both
Got ’em both
Headphone jack
Standard 3.5mm
Standard 3.5mm
Voice dialing
Voice recording
3 megapixels; LED flash; doesn’t do video
3.2 megapixels; no flash; no digital zoom; autofocus; does video
Quad-band GSM
Use as tethered modem?
Yes, at some point
I don’t think Palm has made any claims about battery life to date; removable
Supposedly 1.5x the life of current iPhone 3G, which would give it 7.5 hours talk time and 450 hours standby; not removable
Copy and paste?
Web browser
Webkit-based browser
WebKit-based Safari
Web searching
Yes, including Google and Wikipedia, at least
Yes, via Google or Yahoo
MobileMe, GMail, Yahoo Mail, AOL; other services supported through IMAP
Yes, hopefully with to-do list
Yes, but no to-do list that I know of
Microsoft Exchange support
Instant messaging
Yes–multiple networks supported
Yes, but through third-party apps
Office Apps
Microsoft Office-compatible viewers, but no editing; QuickOffice already available and Documents to Go in the works
Turn-by-turn navigation
Not as a standard feature
iPhone 3.0 features will help third parties enable it
Music player and Amazon music downloads; supports MP3, AAC, AAC+, AMR, QCELP, WAV
iPod player and iTunes Store; supports MP3, AAC (with or without Fairplay), WAV, Apple Lossless, AIFF, VBR formats
Video player; supports MPEG-4, H.263, and H.264 formats
iPod player, YouTube; movies through iTunes Store; supports H.264 and MPEG4 formats
Wireless synching
Not sure on all the details, but it features ambitious integration, such as putting Facebook portrait photos into your contact list
Yes, through MobileMe
Desktop synching
Not sure on details
Yes, through iTunes
Application store
Yes; number of apps at launch unknown, but presumably not tens of thousands
Yes, the iTunes App Store; tens of thousands of apps available
Any additions, corrections, speculation, rumors. or questions?

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8 Comments For This Post

  1. Jan Sandred Says:

    Palm Pre definitely is on my “next buy” list, but they need to massage their business model/dev community strategy a bit.

  2. Ed Says:

    Correction, the Pre will have turn by turn navigation for free at launch (it is always included with Sprint’s Everything phone plans).

  3. Relyt Says:

    Good stuff, but you considered “VBR” a format that iPhone’s can play. Only thing is that VBR isn’t a format! It is the bitrate encoding of a file. I’m guessing that you mean the iPhone can play MP3, AAC (with or without Fairplay), WAV, Apple Lossless, and AIFF, all with VBR or CBR.

  4. Prenatic Says:

    Palm Pre Prenatics Song

    Risin’ up, back on the street
    Did my time, took my chances
    Went the distance, now I’m back on my feet
    Just a Palm Pre and I need you Prenatics to survive

    So many times, it happens too fast
    And then Palm and Garnet changed their passion for glory
    Don’t lose your grip on the dreams of the past
    You must fight just to keep them alive

    It’s the Palm Pre eye of the tiger, it’s the cream of the cell phones fight
    Risin’ up to the challenge of our rivals
    And the First known Palm Pre Prenatic stalks his prey in the night
    And the competition watchin’ us with their eye on the tweets!

    Face to face, out in the heat
    Hangin’ tough, stayin’ hungry
    They stack the odds ’til we take to the street
    For we kill with the skill of our WebOS

    Risin’ up, straight to the top
    Have the guts, got the glory
    Went the distance, now Prenatics not gonna stop
    Just a Palm Pre and I need you Prenatics to survive

  5. Sean Says:

    Man. A song for the pre??? Get a life lol

  6. rattyuk Says:

    pretty certain the iphone has POP too

  7. prenatic Says:

    Sean, what if my life is making songs about the palm pre?


    Palm Pre another one bites the dust

    Palm Pre walks warily down the street,
    With the Qwerty pulled way down low
    Aint no sound but the sound of his MP3’s,
    WebOS Machine guns ready to go
    Are you ready, are you ready for this
    Are you hanging on the edge of your seat
    Out on the internet the Tweets rip
    To the sound of the beat

    Another cell phone bites the dust
    Another cell phone bites the dust
    And another one gone, and another one gone
    Another cell phone bites the dust
    Hey, The Palm Pre’s gonna get you too
    Another one bites the dust

    How do you think your going to get along,
    Without the Palm Pre, you’re know your gone
    ITunes took me for everything that I had,
    And made me wait two years for cut and paste!

    Are you happy, are you satisfied
    How long can you stand the heat
    Out on the internet the Tweets rip
    To the sound of the beat


    Another one bites the dust
    Another one bites the dust
    Another one bites the dust
    Another one bites the dust
    There are plenty of ways you can hurt a man
    And bring him to the ground
    You can beat him
    You can cheat him
    You can treat him bad and leave him
    When he’s down
    But The Palm Pre’s ready, yes The Palm Pre’s ready for you
    The Palm Pre’s browser beating the competition by two feet
    Out on the internet the Tweets rip
    Repeating the sound of the beat

  8. Melissa Says:

    They are going to have a hardtime in competition with the iphone…Anyways on that subject, this might be interesting for a topic…You guys should check this out, Second Voice is a service that offeres you to have 2 cell phone numbers and 2 voice mails in one phone. Take a look, thought it might be interesting with all this Iphone talk…

    i mean, by just looking at them one is obviously more attractive than the other, and to most.. that is what sells…

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