Gadgets – Palm Pre-Empted

The Palm Pre has achieved something very important for our culture: their ads featuring Tamara Hope are a cutting indictment of psychopharamcology, showing the terrible modulation of moods created by Xanax.

OK, so Hope probably didn’t pop anti-depressants. But Palm probably is.

Palm can spin the numbers all they want, but the truth is, you can get a Pre for $80 at the moment from Wal-Mart. It came out in, oh, let’s see here, June at a price of $200. As a general rule, successful products don’t drop 60% in price by four months after they’ve launched. This usually means demand is rather, ah, low.

True, it could just be that you have to sign up for Sprint, probably the only sad sack in the cellular industry right now. Sprint pretty consistently loses a million customers a quarter in an industry that’s still rapidly expanding, even when the competitors are, well, AT&T with their absolutely superb service, where they drop 30% of calls in freakin’ New York City. Great job there, AT&T. You guys remember you’re not a monopoly anymore, right?

Then again, the iPhone sells like gangbusters, even though AT&T has a crappy network for both calls and data, and had no idea the iPhone was going to destroy their network and make them cry. Bulletproof prediction: once the AT&T contract runs out, Apple is going to see other people. Whether AT&T just cries like an emo or becomes a psycho possessive boyfriend (once they lose iPhone exclusivity, they lose as many customers as can jump ship) remains to be seen.

So, clearly, beyond Palm having no idea how to produce an exciting advertisment, there’s got to be more at work.

Having tried out the Pre, I’ve got a pretty good guess: the software really is everything its been hyped to be and a six-pack of mead, but the hardware is just absolute shit. The phone itself is kind of ugly, the whole thing feels flimsy, and you find yourself wondering why, precisely, in a phone so advanced you still have a sliding keypad, especially when said sliding keypad harbors a razor-sharp edge.

More to the point, as great as the software is, there’s nothing killer about it, nothing that anybody other than an exceptionally boring person would actually care about. If I were going to jump carriers to a crappy network, why would I do it for this phone that’s so obviously a pale imitator of another phone? This isn’t some change in the way phones are used. The Pre’s ultimately nothing more than a well-programmed knockoff.

So, yeah, of course the price sank like a rock. Until somebody beats Apple to the next big thing, the iPhone’s still the king.

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One Response to “Gadgets – Palm Pre-Empted”

  1. black hattitude Says:

    hello,

    Thank you for the great quality of your blog, each time i come here, i’m amazed.

    black hattitude.

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