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Summary:

The buzz surrounding the Palm Pre has been nice to watch as it’s not that often we geeks get to see a lot of folks get as excited about a gadget as we do, far too often. The excitement is growing as the Pre launch nears, […]

Palm Pre browser

Palm Pre browser

The buzz surrounding the Palm Pre has been nice to watch as it’s not that often we geeks get to see a lot of folks get as excited about a gadget as we do, far too often. The excitement is growing as the Pre launch nears, and in the meantime I’ve been giving a lot of thought about what the Pre must do to have a chance in a crowded smartphone market. I wanted to narrow it down to the one thing the Pre must get right — and that is provide a good web-browsing experience.

I came to that conclusion by analyzing how Apple has achieved success with the iPhone. I know the iPhone does a lot of different things well and the touch interface as implemented goes a long way to making the iPhone a nice phone. However the more I thought about it the more I realized that if the iPhone Safari browser wasn’t as good as it is then the iPhone would not be as popular as it has become. Frankly, there have been many phones prior to the iPhone that did a lot of the things the iPhone does well, but none of them came close to providing as great a browsing experience. Safari does a very good job at making browsing the web on the iPhone much like it does on a full computer.

The Palm Pre must give as good a browsing experience or better as the iPhone or it may fall short in the consumer space. The nice interface and fancy synergy is good and all, but what will be the most apparent to prospective customers is how the web works on the phone. If the Pre browser is a very good one then the Pre will do well as a web device in the pocket, otherwise it’s just another phone. And not as good a one as the iPhone at that. It seems to me that Palm realizes this quite clearly and the preliminary views I’ve seen of the browser look pretty darn good. Let’s hope it meets expectations. We discovered a while back that the Pre browser at the very least seems to be fast, here’s a demo to refresh your memory:

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  1. GoodThings2Life Saturday, May 23, 2009

    I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a big Palm fan, but I do hope that they’ll succeed if only for the sake of taking Apple down a peg or two.

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  2. I agree 100%, James. The browser experience will make or break the Pre. And if it turns out to be as good as it seems to be, I’m getting one.

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  3. I’m dreaming of a Palm Pre in my hands before Christmas
    Just like the other phones that multi-task you know
    Where the Synergy glistens,
    and to Amazon’s MP3 children listen
    To hear clear 3G calls in the snow

    I’m dreaming of a Palm Pre in my hands before Christmas
    With every Twitter Tweet I write
    May your days be merry and bright
    And may all of you get a Palm Pre on June 6th Night

    I’m dreaming of a Palm Pre in my hands before Christmas
    With every Twitter Tweet I write
    May your days be merry and bright
    And may all of you get a Palm Pre on June 6th Night

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    1. PalmPreHappy Saturday, May 23, 2009

      lmao.loved the song

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    2. *clap clap*

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  4. I think there’s SO much more to the Pre (and the iPhone too, for that matter) than just the web browser. While the browser may be the first thing people (especially those new to “smart” phones) think to look for (personally, I’d argue that email is probably even MORE important to many folks), once they actually start using the device I suspect a lot of other features will become even more important.

    It could be a third party app (like Pandora), local search (getting a phone number or map to a restaurant), or it could be (in the case of the Pre) the seamless wireless synchronization [Synergy] of calendar and contact information from Exchange, Google, and Facebook, and the utter joy of knowing that from now on, whenever your friends change their email address or cell phone number, you will never again have to worry about updating it yourself.

    That kind of stuff makes a difference to users every day, regardless of how much they happen to use the web browser… :-)

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  5. Will the Palm Pre be able to Beam contacts like the Treo?

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  6. Steve,

    I agree that email and other apps are important, but to most non-corporate folks, the browser is key. I love my Blackberry Curve for lots of uses, but the browser is weak, and that’s a daily irritation. I think James’ point here is that while all the other bells and whistles on the Pre may be cool, if the browser isn’t as good — or at least nearly as good — as the iPhone, the Pre could be in trouble.

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    1. Well, according to “PedroTheGoat” (http://forums.precentral.net/palm-pre/181400-goats-palm-pre-review.html), the browser is “WOWOWOWOWIE! FAST! Precentral loaded as fast as it did on my netbook! … Everything loaded JUST like you would see it on your desktop, with the exception of flash of course. I visited Palm.com, Precentral, ESPN mobile, and BGR. BGR was the most complicated page, it took less than 10 seconds to load. PreCentral took about 6 seconds. AMAZING, the accelerometer works beautifully with the browser. The Pre’s browser IS faster than the iPhone’s. …All data was done through network and not with Wi Fi. The Browser was the most impressive thing on the phone.” :-)

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    2. PreCentral’s comprehensive review, posted this evening, says:

      “This is the best mobile browser I’ve ever used.”

      http://www.precentral.net/palm-pre-review

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  7. Hopefully the production Pre browser has better zoom logic than on the demo video…

    With a workable web browser and custom sites you can do a lot – as seen by the iPhone. Without a browser at least as good as the iPhone the Pre is going to struggle long term if the if the person making the choice is not on Sprint, or can switch networks.

    Unfortunately I’m locked into Verizon, which somewhat limits my smartphone phone choice. Also, my company only supporting a limited number of Windows Mobile devices for email services.

    I’m thinking of getting a MiFi and a dumb phone to replace the smartphone, and then I can use any number of devices PC/Netbook/PocketPCs/N800/etc with a better web experience than I can get on my current Q9.

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  8. i agree 100% with you too. The only thing which made me sell my ipod touch and not buy iPhone was the lack of flash videos in safari browser. The day apple brings full flash web video then im buying. Else gimme a palm pre at anytime as it supports flash.

    Is it so hard to put flash for iphone? Heck even the cheapest phones from nokia can use flash by installing skyfire which is free and has awesome desktop like page rendering tech.

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  9. “The One Thing the Palm Pre Must Do To Succeed: Good Web Browsing”

    My how things have changed… I will go Old School for now and suggest that the one thing the Palm Pre must do to survive, is offer all day use, as a good phone, on only ONE charge.

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    1. I agree that any phone must be a good phone to succeed. That’s a given.

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  10. got mine!!! my WONDERFUL hubby didnt want me there by myself & my 8 yr old did NOT want to get up at 5 am & go, so he went by himself. I was surprised cuz he told me Monday he was soooo sick of hearing me talk about that effin phone!! lol – he got there at 6am there were 2 cars in the lot but nobody in line.
    at 7:30 i told him to go start the line – sure enough a few more people followed. Our BB had 10 & I (technically my husband) was first in line.
    BB rep came out at 9 and gave “line tix” and started the paperwork.
    The first one they tried to activate was defective so sorry to the person who was #10 and didnt get a pre!!
    I got mine and will be playing with it for the rest of the day (at least)!!!! Talk more at http://www.PalmPreForum.org see ya there.

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