AT&T Memo Leaks: Apple iPhone 3G vs Palm Pre Showdown is On!

Our good friend, Dieter, over at has just got his hands on a leaked internal AT&T document that puts our beloved iPhone 3G into the ring up against the yet to be released Palm Pre. We are beginning to wonder what will happen first, Palm going out of business or the Pre actually being released... (Yes, we kid because we love...)

While some of the things that made the list are cold hard facts that every Palm fan will have to swallow, AT&T seems to be reaching on a few as well. Here are a some of the better ones:

  • The iPhone has a "thinner, lighter, bigger screen; metal and glass design" compared to the Pre's "plastic casing".
  • The iPhones App Store has over "25,000 Apps" while the Pre has an "Unproven App Catalog app store".
  • The iPhone sports "Global GPS; aGPS for maximum speed, accuracy and reliability even in built-up areas" while the lonely Pre "Can't receive map updates or location assist information in most of the world due to lack of GSM capability".

What also caught our eye was:

  • The Palm Pre "Touchscreen control gestures not intuitive" whereas the iPhone features "Patented Multi-Touch screen" and "Fast and responsive navigation."

If the Palm Pre cloned some of the iPhone's UI interactions, didn't AT&T just dash our chances for some lawsuit action?

What do you think? AT&T simply stating the facts or could they possibly view the Palm Pre as a legitimate threat? Now head on over to to check out the full leaked AT&T memo!


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There are 45 comments. Add yours.

sting7k says:

I'm not exactly sure what it is I'm reading. Who was this memo supposed to be seen by?

Jeremy says:

It is a leaked internal memo that is aimed towards AT&T employees.

cyberbob says:

Although I am curious about the Pre, I still think it's overhyped, as was the Storm. Plus it's on Sprint. I know the Sprint fanboys LOVE to go on and on and on and on about how Sprint is better than everyone else, but the facts speak for themselves. They loose over a million subscribers per quarter constantly. That's not happening because they are the BEST out there.
Sorry but the numbers don't lie. If Sprint were that good, people wouldn't be leaving in such large numbers.
I for one hope the Pre is a great device. Hopefully, it will continue to keep Apple and the others working hard to stay ahead. But history always shows that the next "iphone killer" is never even close. (Instinct, Storm, Voyager...)

jeffdc5 says:

Wow this reminds me of the memo put out by verizon when the g1 came out but the verizon one was more brutal. Good job att now fix the network

OmariJames says:

I want to know how many ppl are going to switch to Sprint for the Pre.

Jeremy says:

If you want a good read be sure to check out the comments that Dieter's full article is getting over there. Feel free to comment over there as well! ;)

Michael Reynaga says:

how about you release the damn phone already!! this is like the 100th showdown we have read about between these phones yet no one has any idea when the pre will actually come out.

Jeffdc5 says:

Ha I'm sure the precentral guys are happy about this.

Jeremy says:

@Michael, sorry no details on a Pre release date will be posted here, but be sure to check back for the release date of some new iPhone hardware sometime in the next few months!

Elia says:

Hi I'm sorry but I totally disagree with your post.
Firstly the so called "Memo Leaks" it's just a table which compares all the functionalities of iphone/palm pre/windows mobile and android.
It's "not official" in any ways and it outlines a lot of valuable info that you (oddly) forgot to mention.
This is the so called "memo"
As you can Clearly see the iphone (compared to the palm pre) lacks of the following:
-Full OTA Exchange Synching (I wonder how you forgot to mention this point...)
-Physical Keyboard: I challenge you to say that it's more precise, quick and intuitive to type on a screen rather then on a qwerty keyboard...
I wouldn't underestimate the fact that there're several points still unknown (tethering, office apps...) which means that (while they're are NOT on the iphone) they could be present on the upcoming Pre.
Next time guys try to be more precise in what you write and try to see the Big Picture ... not just what you want to see ;)

Jeffdc5 says:

I love how when a new smartphone is announced bloggers start saying well it's better than the iPhone. Meanwhile att alone just got a million plus more iPhone subscribers. Palm should release this phone soon they shouldn't release it anytime near the new iPhone release

tom chartrand says:

I was a palm person for years, VII, Titanium, Treo, Centro. Got tired of workarounds. Wanted a device that just worked. Doesn't matter how good something is if it's not easy to use. eg: Betamax

Jeffdc5 says:

@Elia this site did not make this chart it's just saying hey it look at this

Jeremy says:

@Elia, sorry you disagree but it is an actual memo that was sent to AT&T employees. And that's a fact. For more information please visit

Rene Ritchie says:

@Elia: your disagreeing with our post doesn't make it any less precise than my disagreeing with the premise and logic behind your retort makes you non-precise. Everyone has their own view.
I would absolutely argue that the iPhone virtual keyboard is profoundly better for me than any hardware keyboard I've ever used. That's personal opinion, not fact.
Virtual keyboards can transform languages (if I want to type in Chinese or Greek, how would you do that on a Pre keyboard?) and can transform buttons if I want, for example, video editing controls rather than letters or numbers (can't rip and replace a BlackBerry Bold keyboard).
All arguments are just that -- arguments. I'm an old school Treo 600 and 680 user, and I hope the Pre rocks, but until then, AT&T memo leaks, like the above, are just fun blog fodder. :)

The Reptile says:

I fully expect that the Pre will live up to its hype. However, it is going to be a 1.0 device meaning there will be bugs and issues like all 1.0 devices. We will quickly learn about how quickly the battery drains or how fast/slow it is in running media files and a host of other attributes that meet/exceed/under perform expectations.
With that said, there is also a lot we still don't know about 3.0. I would expect that much of this we won't know until the launch presentation in June. Even then, there will be some hidden gems that don't come into full view until Apple releases the demo video. In other words, Pre 1.0 is going to have to match iPhone 3.0. That's asking a lot from Palm and I don't think that they'll succeed at that challenge but will come close to 2.0.

iphonemilk says:

I love Rene
and i love canadians.
true story.

Steve says:

Okay, then... it's more precise, quick and intuitive to type on a screen rather than a keyboard. :roll:
(the iPhone's keypad is also QWERTY)

Dragonfly says:

To release the pre anywhere near the release of the new iPhone would be absolute suicide! Everyone and their granny knows the new iPhone is coming out this summer, if palm wanted to even give the pre a chance, they would have been far better of with a release in april (giving the pre a two month head-start to make some headway).
I do love some of the features on the pre, for example, the way notifications are handled (far, far better than the iPhone) multi-tasking, intergrated phonebook with mail, IM's and Facebook, all very nice features. I just think the timeing is all wrong, the success of the phone depends greatly on what apple has up their sleeves come WWDC 09.

Jeffdc5 says:

The integrated phonebook with mail im and facebook is not new my blackberry bold does that already. Palm should do what Microsoft did they released the xbox 360 a full year before ps3 giving it a head start and a big chance to make it, now ps3 is still playing catchup to the xbox 360 and wii. I don't find the pre all that impressive its just a iphone with keyboard in my eyes.

Faisal says:

Palm Pre also have aGPS

fassy says:

Not a big deal, even if they may be reaching on some points -- AT&T thinks that enough potential customers may ask, so they want employees to have stock pro-iPhone answers about the Pre ready. Good planning on AT &T's part. Since the iPhone is the resident 800-lb gorilla in the market the Pre needs to crack, I would be shocked if Sprint does not have a similar pro-Pre memo, with similar reaching, floating around for its employees.

Dave says:

"I don’t find the pre all that impressive its just a iphone with keyboard in my eyes."
This is exactly what I see in Pre. Plus, with Sprint's super cheap and fast data connection, I'm all for a Pre. As a comparison of price, Sprint SERO plans offer unlimited data for less than $40 bucks a month and my employer negotiated Sprint plan offers unlimited data for less than $20 bucks a month!
So if you want to have an iPhone with keyboard and save $720 bucks (or $1400) over two years, you will choose Pre.

Blake 2 says:

The Pre may be awesome but I couldn't be happier with my iPhone so why change. It has everything I need. Oh and for me, the virtual keyboard is fantastic! I guess it's not for everybody, but the last thing I want is to go back to pressing dagum keys!

Joseph says:

Sprint suck's no one will change AT&T 2 sprint but once again AT&T get 4G ASAP PLEASE
ZONE'S and then AT&T will BE NUMBER 1#

Joseph says:

Sprint suck's no one will change AT&T 2 sprint but once again AT&T get 4G ASAP PLEASE
ZONE'S and then AT&T will BE NUMBER 1#

Rocky Romero says:

@Dave Well said.
This is precisely how I would promote the Pre to people on the fence of decision.
Should work too for those with little or no knowlege of the iPhone.
Especially with those in tight financial situations.
I would have gone for it when I was with Sprint & considering the iPhone.
$720 is a big difference without really knowing the differences.
There's a battle brewing here & the Pre will survive with it's own me-too niche market.
There may be even some connectivity apps that will develop running the same on both products.
The simultaneous announcements would benefit the Pre to stay in the game.
I'm getting a grandstand seat on this one.

Jeffdc5 says:

I won't get a pre for the fact that it doesn't have a way to sync with my mac I don't want to sideload music. I like iTunes unlike most people I like easy podcast downloads I like native apps and I like having a phone from a company that isn't going out of business

JLC says:

Before the iPhone 3G came out I saw a similar flier saying that the Blackberry Bold was better then the iPhone. This was at an ATT store.

Robert says:

Palm Pre is going to be a hit also. It has many of the nice features of iPhone but its biggest differentiator is the keyboard. It is a big deal to business users who need to write emails a lot. iPhone's onscreen keyboard is good enough for casual use only. That's why I see Palm Pre picking up the market that iPhone leaves behind.

Ana says:

I had a horrible experience with Sprint- bill was incorrect for 4 months consecutively, having to deal with customer care to rectify the problem was a nightmare. As far as their CDMA network goes- never had a dropped call, 3G on my mogul was very good and a dream compared ATT’s.
ATT does see the pre as a threat, anyone with half a brain cell would. Prior to the iphone coming out competing carriers were sending memos such as this. I think it’s standard protocol for carriers to do this when they feel threatened by a device offered exclusively to rival carrier.
The pre looks awesome to me, and I hope it does well. A little competition never hurt anyone =)

Chris212 says:

@Evilhomer -
Sprint is losing subs on the Fossil of a network known to most as Nextel (IDEN), which is nothing on the scale of CDMA where Sprint actually adds subs..Just not enough to offset the people jumping from Nextel.

Steve says:

Saying that hardware keyboards are better for business users who email a lot is like saying typewriters are better for authors who write a lot. It's completely ridiculous. The more one types, the less effort a touch screen becomes.

Sean says:

Pre will run Palm legacy apps which pretty much negates the app store issue (especially when you consider the number of iPhone apps which are of limited utility)

Mike Overbo says:

I think Pre will have a stronger and more capable platform at launch than the iPhone did. AT&T has a reason to be worried; some Palm loyalists will make the switch back for the Pre. AT&T's low rate of churn will spike a bit, Sprint's high rate of churn will lessen.
Regarding hype: there's always hype at a smartphone launch. The palm platform, at launch, will be more capable in many ways than the iPhone's was, due to the strength of WebKit/KHTML and Palm's building their platform around it. The Pre hype level is nowhere near the hype that was around for the iPhone.

jasondeno says:

Why are we comparing the 3G to the Pre? Shouldn't we run vaporware against vaporware? By that I mean the 4G to the Pre?

Big Willie says:

Pre? C'mon! Seriously? Another iPhone wanna be that will get knocked the f%&k out! iPhone owns marketshare-wise not to mention the 1 billion downloads on the App Store in less than a year! There is no competition, fellas! Trust me. Mark my words, NO PHONE WILL BE ABLE TO COMPETE WITH THE IPHONE SALESWISE FOR ANOTHER 2 YEARS!

Robert says:

It is even more amusing to assume that authors type on the virtual keyboards. How many times will they have to hit the backspace key?

Chobbs says:

as many times as you would on a physical keyboard. Actually I would say less because of the intuitive software that is very good at predicting what word you meant to type if you make a mistake.
I used backspace once in this reply

Chobbs says:

I hope I never have to type on a physical keyboard ever again. They're dirty and hard to clean. They're bulky and prone to breaks. How many virtual keyboards have a missing letter or number?

ed says:

This only makes me want the Pre more. Because if this is the best the folks at AT&T can come up with, the Pre must be pretty spectacular. Oh, and they don't mention the Pre will have MMS and A2DP which are both missing on the iPhone.
By the way, I don't need or want GPS and Palm has always been a better "business" phone. Even the bulky Treo P series had better business capability than the iPhone.

Jeffdc5 says:

@ed by the time the pre is released it will have those features you mentioned.

Robert says:

You must have small fingers. Every time when I use my iPhone to reply to emails, I can't help but hitting the wrong keys and needing to go back again. Not to count the need to switch between the alphabet and the punctuation screens.
Even my friend who works at Apple agree that the virtual keyboard is not easy to type.
I don't mean to say iPhone is bad. All I am saying is Palm is smart to observe a big weak point of iPhone and come up with an alternative for a class of users who just wish a real keyboard for iPhone. Those friends of mine who get Blackberries from their companies envy my iPhone but when it comes to typing, they still think their Blackberries are better.
Imagine this. A virtual keyboard is so easy for Palm to duplicate and cost nothing to implement. Why wouldn't Palm want to do away with the physical keyboard and make Pre slimmer also?

Pre says:

Man you people talk about iphone sales like the money is going in ur pocket. Your just raving about making someone else richer. The Pre is a very good phone and will give iphone competition. but shouldn't u like that iphone lovers. If not you probably won't be getting cut and paste this year, so competitions should be good for you. Multitasking on a phone made so easy is beautiful.

Steve says:

Who assumed that authors write on virtual keyboards? Not me. Read again... I said typewriters (vs. computer keyboards).
Finger size has nothing to do with anything. You don't press the keys on the iPhone, you only need to touch them. And regardless of a finger's size, the touch screen only requires a tiny little area of the finger to touch the keys (assuming your fingers are curved on bottom like most people's).