Does Palm Pre have a chance against iPhone? IMO: No, but it probably doesn’t matter

At CES the product I was most excited by was the Palm Pre. After all, they had hired a bunch of people from Apple and it went further than the iPhone in many places. It had a keyboard. It has an OS that let you run multiple applications at the same time (something the iPhone doesn’t do) and did copy and paste. The OS seemed even better thought out than the iPhone was. Contacts collected data from Facebook and other social networks.

It looked like it would win in the marketplace.

But now it’s March and the tides are changing.

First, last week Apple came out with a set of APIs for the iPhone that many people missed because they were drinking at SXSW. More on those in a second.

But today stuff is leaking about a new iPhone that’s coming out.

Now I’m starting to doubt whether Palm can make it. I’m not the only one.

Lots of iPhones at iPhoneDevCamp

It’s shocking, actually, how well Apple has done with developers. Remember, I was at the first iPhone Dev Camp (included here is a picture of those who attended the first Dev Camp). Apple didn’t show up (a couple of employees did, but they weren’t even allowed to acknowledge that they worked at Apple). How did they turn developers onto the iPhone?

1. Apple sold more than 10 million phones.
2. The experience of using the iPhone got geeks excited. So excited that they put together their own DevCamps even though Apple was pretty clueless.
3. Apple turned on a store that let lots of developers build businesses that are rocking and rolling. Success pulls in even more developers.
4. Now Apple is throwing marketing dollars behind developers. I’ve seen tons of TV ads that Apple’s done. I’ve seen cool Apple ads on the web. The whole front of Apple stores right now features apps.
5. The new OS, coming this summer, lets developers do even more with their iPhones. Pandora’s CTO, Tom Conrad, talked with me at SXSW last week and he was drooling over some of the kinds of things he’s going to be able to build for the new OS and that was before he heard the rumors of the new iPhone.

Can Palm compete with this? If they do, I’ll be the most shocked blogger out there.

I think the bigger question is can Palm get enough hype to push it into a second place status and tear away market share from RIM, Microsoft, and Nokia. The answer to that one is yes.

Why? Because the Palm Pre is so much better than any other phone other than the iPhone. (The Palm is better than the iPhone, actually, but only if you don’t consider all the apps that are being built for the iPhone and only if you don’t consider the new 3.0 stuff that Apple announced last week).

I bet this is the strategy that Palm’s going for. They know not everyone will go for an iPhone. Some people hate Apple (yes, it’s true). Some can’t stand the touch keyboard. Still others still like Palm or just want to use Sprint instead of AT&T.

So, I don’t think there’s any way for Palm to really tear much market share away from the iPhone, but they can do a pretty nice business going after everyone else.

Either way, if I worked at Nokia, Microsoft, or RIM, I’d be working extra hard to figure out how to deal with Apple and Palm. They are going to make 2010 really rough for other cell phone manufacturers if things stay the way they are.

The fun thing about this industry is that in a few months everything can change in a couple of months. Hang onto your seats.

UPDATE: @ian_Wright asked “Do you think Android has a chance?” Yes, definitely. But they are fighting over #2 space too. It looks like Apple isn’t stumbling with developers like it did in the early 1990s with the Macintosh, so it’s going to be very difficult for Android to get mindshare over the iPhone. But Android can easily compete with Palm. Losers here? Nokia, RIM, and Motorola.

Also, @whurley points out that two members of the original iPhoneDevCrew have already put together http://predevcamp.org and it will be in more than 60 cities.

66 thoughts on “Does Palm Pre have a chance against iPhone? IMO: No, but it probably doesn’t matter

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  2. I am and iphone user and it is the best phone belive it or not! I Hate apples guts!!! but one i used the iphone every thing was so nice and clean the look and design says it all plus like me just jail break you iphone and you can run apps in the back ground its so sweet

  3. sprint really betting big time with the pre, but they didn’t do so well with the instinct when spent $200 million on promoting it.

    Sprint is famous for spending big bucks on advertisements, but i seriously hope they will do well, at least folks at http://www.PalmPreForum.org spent sleepless nights try to find out the lastest and greatest info about the Pre!

  4. sprint really betting big time with the pre, but they didn’t do so well with the instinct when spent $200 million on promoting it.

    Sprint is famous for spending big bucks on advertisements, but i seriously hope they will do well, at least folks at http://www.PalmPreForum.org spent sleepless nights try to find out the lastest and greatest info about the Pre!

  5. what are you talkin about.of course the Pre has a chance against the iphone. as a matter of fact it is way better.it puts the crappy iphone to the dirt!!!!!!!!

  6. what are you talkin about.of course the Pre has a chance against the iphone. as a matter of fact it is way better.it puts the crappy iphone to the dirt!!!!!!!!

  7. When you think of phones, younger generatin doesn’t even bring up the palm. I think Palm missed the boat. They fell behind to much and I don’t think they will be able to pull themselves above water.

  8. When you think of phones, younger generatin doesn’t even bring up the palm. I think Palm missed the boat. They fell behind to much and I don’t think they will be able to pull themselves above water.

  9. Christopher Coulter Says:
    March 23rd, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    Everywhere I look I see BREWified LG and Samsungs…strange that they never get mentioned…ENV2 and Voyagers everywhere.
    ————————————————————————

    I just LOVE the way Verizon cripples their phones with what they allow you do with them thanks to Brew. What a P.O.S. Brew is, and Verizon just sits back and watches while collecting their money.

  10. Christopher Coulter Says:
    March 23rd, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    Everywhere I look I see BREWified LG and Samsungs…strange that they never get mentioned…ENV2 and Voyagers everywhere.
    ————————————————————————

    I just LOVE the way Verizon cripples their phones with what they allow you do with them thanks to Brew. What a P.O.S. Brew is, and Verizon just sits back and watches while collecting their money.

  11. Since iPhone launched, I’ve been an Apple convert. I’ve always prided myself on not being an Apple fan because to me, fans of Apple are in it for the coolness factor. This was until iPhone came out.

    Then, I read about Palm Pre. I was ecstatic – a mobile phone better than iPhone? Cool! But now, iPhone 3.0 just blew away the competition with its new features. And I’ll bet that by the the time it launches, Apple would have found a way to smoothen the app development process.

    I don’t have an iPhone (the lack of MMS & forwarding features stopped me from getting one) but now, I really want one…iPhone 3.0 to be exact!

    But we all know wants and needs are quite different. What I really need is not iPhone 3.0. What I really need is my whole life and home in the one device – family and friends, entertainment and info. Oh, and the bank too.

    Rather than aim to be an iPhone killer or compete with iPhone head-to-head, mobile device makers should take a leaf out of the Japanese and S.Korean markets. These guys know how to make a mobile device and they know how to make it super cool. Any wonder then that iPhone is a big flop in uber cool Japan?

    Think about a mobile device being an e-wallet and your key to the house. There’s no need for a wallet in one pocket, a mobile device in another and housekeys in the third. Life just got a whole lot lighter.

  12. Since iPhone launched, I’ve been an Apple convert. I’ve always prided myself on not being an Apple fan because to me, fans of Apple are in it for the coolness factor. This was until iPhone came out.

    Then, I read about Palm Pre. I was ecstatic – a mobile phone better than iPhone? Cool! But now, iPhone 3.0 just blew away the competition with its new features. And I’ll bet that by the the time it launches, Apple would have found a way to smoothen the app development process.

    I don’t have an iPhone (the lack of MMS & forwarding features stopped me from getting one) but now, I really want one…iPhone 3.0 to be exact!

    But we all know wants and needs are quite different. What I really need is not iPhone 3.0. What I really need is my whole life and home in the one device – family and friends, entertainment and info. Oh, and the bank too.

    Rather than aim to be an iPhone killer or compete with iPhone head-to-head, mobile device makers should take a leaf out of the Japanese and S.Korean markets. These guys know how to make a mobile device and they know how to make it super cool. Any wonder then that iPhone is a big flop in uber cool Japan?

    Think about a mobile device being an e-wallet and your key to the house. There’s no need for a wallet in one pocket, a mobile device in another and housekeys in the third. Life just got a whole lot lighter.

  13. people are hoping a lot from palm pre which is a good phone indeed…I can say this as I have seen its videos most of the time….I agree that in the coming years if Nokia does not do anything that it will only be able to sell very low end phones and nothing else.

  14. people are hoping a lot from palm pre which is a good phone indeed…I can say this as I have seen its videos most of the time….I agree that in the coming years if Nokia does not do anything that it will only be able to sell very low end phones and nothing else.

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