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The Pre vs Android vs the iPhone June 8, 2009

Posted by stewsutton in Information Technology, Knowledge Management.
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Well the competition is really starting to heat up in the smart phone wars.  The Google phone provided a nice point of competition that offered a “completely open” approach toward the mobile platform.  In being the version-1.0 competitor to the iPhone’s “computer in my pocket / purse“, it has some rough edges.

The design engineering of the Google Android is not at the same standards as the iPhone.  It just does not feel as “solid” and “well built”.  The phone quality is not bad, but it seems closer to the design and manufacturing quality of the consumer phones costing 50% less.   One of the design “features” of the Android is also one of the user experience faults.  Because of the true multi-tasking features of the baseline operating system, the user of the Android is inclined to keep apps open and conviently switch between them.

The big downside there is the rapid consumption of the precious battery that has the Google phone users wondering how come they have to recharge during the day or radically de-tune their use of this muti-tasking feature.  So the Apple folks on the iPhone just have to go through the exit and launch sequence as they move between applications.  The iPhone battery lasts a whole day (or more) with pretty heavy use.  So it goes…

The Palm Pre offers a very different experience here.  For starters, it has a similar level of design engineering put into the physical device that it feels to be in the same quality league as the Apple iPhone.  The Pre’s keyboard is not as large as the fold-open Android keyboard, but unlike the Apple iPhone keyboard, it is NOT virtual (you get to feel the keys, their location, and a tactile feedback with each keypress).  The slide feature on the Pre that exposes the keyboard also exposes (on the backside of the Pre) a mirror.  Yes a personal mirror.  You could use this to adjust your physical appearance, but it also doubles as as a low-tech communications device for line-of-sight communications when both parties are in direct sunlight.  The real feature differentiator with the Palm Pre is the “data from the cloud” integration into a smart interface and the application switching through the metaphor of  “activity cards.”