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Palm Pre vs. iPhone 3G: Which do you want?

CNET offers a side-by-side comparison of the Palm Pre and the iPhone 3G with iPhone OS 3.0 smartphones.

The CTIA 2009 spring show is just a few days away, and there are sure to be new product announcements. HTC, Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, LG--they'll all be there. However, there's one company in particular that's at the forefront of my mind, and it would be Palm. I'm sure you can guess why.

Palm Pre
Palm Pre, where are you? Corinne Schulze/CNET

Both Palm and Sprint will be in Las Vegas for the show, but the companies don't have any news conferences or major events scheduled--just an invite-only VIP Lounge where they'll have the Palm Pre on display.

I really hope we'll learn some new information at CTIA (ahem, pricing, release date), since we clearly didn't during their last Webcast. However, I fear it'll be more of the same and we'll come home none the wiser. Part of me also thinks that they'll wait till the last possible moment (June) to deliver on their "first half of 2009" promise, but I hope I'm wrong.

Palm and Sprint are running into dangerous territory right now. We said at CES 2009 that it was risky for the companies to announce the smartphone (though smart in many ways) back in January and they had to careful to deliver on their promise and not delay the phone.

On the one hand, I commend Palm for better communication with the public whether it be through its blog or Twitter feed, but there's comes a point where the canned responses get old and things like the Webcast look like a stalling method or shameless self-promotion. I think it's pretty safe to say, we're at that point, and the masses are getting restless.

Also, with the new iPhone OS 3.0 and all its new features, the Pre has lost some of its competitive edge. (The chart below gives you a side-by-side comparison of the basic features of the two smartphones.) Plus, there's a chance we could see a new iPhone at WWDC in early June and that could certainly steal some of the Pre's thunder.

Am I still excited for the Palm Pre? Absolutely, 100 percent, but I can still be annoyed by the lack of information. What about you guys? How do you feel about the Pre's chances? Are you still interested? Do the new features of iPhone OS 3.0 and the possibility of a new iPhone sway your decision at all? Let me know your thoughts; I'd love to hear them!

  Palm Pre Apple iPhone 3G (with OS 3.0)
Dimensions 3.9 inches by 2.3 inches by 0.6 inch; 4.7 ounces

4.5 inches by 2.4 inches by 0.48 inch; 4.7 ounces
Screen size 3.1 inches; 480x320 pixels

3.5 inches; 480x320 pixels
Navigation Touch screen; gesture area; multitouch gesture support; slide-out QWERTY keyboard

Touch screen; Home button; multitouch gesture support; onscreen keyboard with landscape support
Camera 3 megapixels; LED flash; no video recording planned at launch

2 megapixels; no video recording
Connectivity Dual-band CDMA; EV-DO Rev. A; Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 2.1 with support for tethering and A2DP Quad-band GSM; tri-band UMTS/HSDPA; Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 2.0 with support for A2DP and peer-to-peer networking, no tethering yet

Accelerometer Yes Yes

Proximity sensor

Yes Yes

GPS Yes Yes

Maps Turn-by-turn directions via Sprint Navigation (TeleNav)

Turn-by-turn directions through third-party apps (presumably in development)
Memory 8GB; no expansion slot

8GB or 16GB; no expansion slot

POP3/IMAP; Microsoft Outlook with direct push POP3/IMAP; Microsoft Outlook with direct push
Multimedia messaging Yes Yes

Synergy: Brings together Outlook, Google, and Facebook calendars and contacts; removes duplicate entries CalDAV adds support for Yahoo and Google shared calendars in addition to Exchange
Search Universal search: Searches contacts, apps, Web

Spotlight: Searches e-mail headers, contacts, calendar, notes, iPod tracks, applications, and Web
Multitasking Deck of Cards feature lets you run and switch between multiple applications at once

No background applications; Push notification sends badges, audio alerts, and text message alerts
Flash support Palm has committed to Adobe's Open Screen Project and promised to bring Flash 10 Player to its Web OS devices by the end of the year, but won't ship on the Pre at launch

Music store Amazon MP3 store

iTunes Store
Application Store Pre App Store iTunes App Store


Yes Yes
3.5mm headset jack

Yes Yes
Removable battery

Yes No
Price TBA $199 with two-year contract for 8GB model; $299 with two-year contract for 16GB model; also available unlocked

Data plan Simply Everything Plan: $99.99 per month for unlimited everything (data, messaging, voice); Everything Data Plan: $69.99 per month for 450 minutes, unlimited data and messaging, $99.99 per month for 900 minutes; Family and business plans also available $30 per month for unlimited consumer data plan; $45 per month for unlimited business data plan; $99.99 per month for unlimited voice; $79.99 per month for 1350 minutes with rollover, $59.99 per month for 900 minutes, $39.99 per month for 450 minutes; $5 per month for 200 text messages, $15 per month for 1,500 text messages, $20 per month for unlimited text messages