Is Palm's "Pre" An iPhone Killer?

It could be a summer blockbuster -- the battle of the smart phones.

"I know the iPhone was like the leading phone on the market. This makes me feel a little updated," says Anthony Tate, a Sprint customer.

The challenger: palm's pre, launched this weekend with the aim of clawing back market share from the current champions: Apple's iPhone and Research in Motion's Blackberry, reports CBS News science and technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg.

"This is our first smart phone and of course we're going to be wowed by it. Better than the iPhone," said Bill Aguilar, a Sprint customer.

The Pre generated a lot of buzz at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. And so far, reviews have been good. Sprint says the phone has already sold out at a number of locations around the country.

Eli Rabinowich got the last one at a New York store.

"Great reviews, supposedly, great operating system. This is the iPhone killer," gloated Rabinowich.

Pre's monthly service starts at $70; iPhone's AT&T unlimited plan at $100 a month.

Both the Pre and the iPhone cost $200 with a two-year contract. But the Pre's initial monthly service fee, which includes unlimited internet and text messaging, is $70 dollars. iPhone's comparable plan runs $100.

Pre has the usual features: GPS, high-speed internet, a good camera. What's new is its physical keypad and its ability to keep several programs open at once -- something the iPhone can't do.

"You can be in the middle of using the Internet, minimize that to pull up a phone call, minimize that to then look up your address book, and never have to close any of the applications,'' said Robert Collis, a Sprint customer.

One possible problem with the Pre: its limited applications -- or apps -- the free or nearly free programs you can download for it. And with a lead of some 20 million devices, you can't count the iPhone out.

"I didn't cancel my iPhone, but I'm a gadget kind of person so we'll see which one is more fun and which one's more useful,'' said Ravi Rajmane, a Sprint customer.

Does Steve Jobs have a surprise for us tomorrow? A lot of mystery always surronds Apple product introductions. Indeed, we're expecting a new iPhone Monday that may include a compass feature and video.

But the real surprise will be if Steve Jobs shows up after being on medical leave for several months. He's not scheduled to be there, but with Apple and Jobs, anything is possible. Regardless, his appearance -- or not -- is expected to affect the Apple stock.


CNET's Natali Del Conte demonstrates features of the Palm Pre

  • Daniel Sieberg

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