CTIAttack of the iClones: Palm Pre Apps Walkthrough Video

Dieter managed to score an awesome video walkthrough of the Palm Pre's app launching functionality and a look at some of the apps themselves. We've joked about how the Palm Pre, supervised by the guy who helped build the iPhone, developed by engineers who helped program the iPhone, felt more like a branch of the iPhone sometimes than a linear descendant of PalmOS.

Turns out we were wrong. To be joking. You swipe horizontally to switch Home Screens, just like the iPhone (though you can scroll down vertically as well to jam more apps on each screen). You hold your finger down and then move to reposition apps, just like the iPhone (though they don't do the jiggle dance). They even seem to be a little bit laggy and slow to launch at times, just like iPhone 2.0 was! (Though these are widgets, not native apps, so that's really more of a concern at this point).

Also announced today was something that sounds an awful lot like Push Notification Services for the Pre.

Palm, I love ya. I had PDA's going back to the Visor, smartphones going back to the 600. You left me, I didn't leave you, remember? So now I found a new phone, and seriously, dressing up just like it isn't the way to win me back. You gotta be yourself, the new you not a new version of it.

Don't get me wrong, I really dig your Synergy, that touchstone charger, and that awesome alert system. Gold. But Apple didn't make that first big iPhone splash by holding up something that worked like a BlackBerry or a Treo. They didn't show off a Nokia-style experience. They made something new and instantly iconic. Copying the iPhone's UI and interactions to this degree isn't recognizing that Apple nailed the multi-touch paradigm for all time. It's not surrendering the default behavior. It's just copying Apple's experience when you should be creating the next generation Palm experience.

Maybe you should have stuck with Palm leadership, engineers, and innovation?

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 56 comments. Add yours.

Jeremy says:

I've been hearing nothing but good things about this phone... {Heavy sarcasim...} ;)

Darren Buckner says:

I have heard that apps for the Pre are built using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. If true, is this an attempt to get MANY developers on board with a minimal learning curve?

iAirmanshirk says:

@ darren, not necessarily... basic HTML/CSS doesnt tell you how to access API's and stuff. All this will do is limit the devices apps to crap pretty much.
This webapp phone is set to fail. Palm OS = POS

Mike Roberts says:

The HTML/JavaScript solution to Pre development is actually really well designed. You can check out an introduction to developing for the Palm Pre on the O'Reilly site, it looks to be a very nice workflow.

anon says:

oh come on "You hold your finger down and then move to reposition apps, just like the iPhone"
wtf else would you do? what do you do on a computer click an icon and hold it then move it, wow apple sure is innovative

Rene Ritchie says:

How about categories like PalmOS had? How about a more advanced managing system like that iPhone concept video from YouTube? I'm nowhere near as smart as anyone at Palm or Apple and even I suspect "er... do what they did" isn't the answer in a space as ripe for continued development as Mobile.
WIMP/GUI this isn't.

anon says:

do what they did? allowing you to put what icons where you want on what screen? you can do that on linux and switch between them, iphone and pre you "swipe" to the side to switch in between, its a touch screen, how else would you suggest switching between them? its not "doing what they did" its just logical

striatic says:

innovation is important, but it isn't always the most important thing.
taking something good and working to perfect it is also important. not that i'm saying the pre is perfect, but it does seem to possess a sense of refinement that the iphone does not.

xwarhammerx says:

I dig this phone...I miss a physical keyboard. I don't know, as of late I have slightly been in a bla mood with my iphone egg (white 16 gig.). And my AT&T coverage has been sub par to lacking lately...egh, whatever another day another week, another week another year of cell phone tech. I like the pre, deal's with it.

melwan says:

These apps loading times suck big time. Even in this video, the guy is "waiting" for the phone. If I am willing to wait around until my phone responds, I would grab WM lol

OmariJames says:

Apple did set the tone / trend for touch screen UI. Until apple creates something new, all these phones will look the same , UI wise.

Bigpadabuu says:

OMG, im gonna throw up, apple is not """"ing perfect and Iphone either, even 3.0 with MMS, 2 years later but its okay cause it makes guys like you happy!

frog says:

Laggy, useless, apps. Different accounts needed for Apps and Music.
Looking less and less attractive every day!

oneAwake says:

The demonstrator did not know how to use the screen, he obviously is used to pressure sensitive screens, Winmo devices. The Pre is capacitive, he does not need to press on the screen. Doing so, slows everything down a bit.

Trevor says:

Did anyone else notice how the whole device wobbled around when he typed. Give me the iPhone's virtual keyboard any day.
And yes, the Pre looks slow. I was a bit baffled by the way Dieter kept saying "wow" because I actually thought the thing looked like a pain in the backside.

Dragonfly says:

To be perfectly honest the pre seems to be one step ahead of the iPhone everytime I see it. The fact that it has almost all the of pluses of the iPhone and none of it's weaknes makes this phone very attractive.
Being able to run apps in the background is very big avantage over the iPhone's lack of multitasking. Their is a case against palm for a little bit of the "me too" syndrome, but none the less it does have a lot of things that apple can learn from, for example multitasking, their implimentation of notifications, the unified & synergised messaging system etc. Until apple decide to bring exposè+multitasking and all the pre's afore mentioned features, the ore will continue to show up the iPhones weaknesses.

Steve says:

"Hey, is that a Palm Pre in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?"
This thing is a fat, bulky piece 'o sh!t! :lol:

Terry says:

I have to say I am impressed by the Pre. I hope Apple takes some of the ideas of the Pre and puts it into the iPhone.

Adam Y says:

My experience has been that background apps do indeed eat battery life. Why doesn't anyone acknowledge this? Everyone heralds this as a feature of the Pre, but no one in the media/general public has used this device in a capacity meaningful to test battery life.
Is anyone on record disputing Apple's claims of severely diminished battery life with background apps enabled? See Gruber's latest posting on complexity for a decent point or two on this subject.

cyberbob says:

@Adam: Exactly why I gave up WM devices. Running apps in the background eat battery and memory. And it's not hard to loose track of how many you have open. Most of the time you don't realize it until the phone is so bogged down that you miss important phone calls.
Everyone has a big hard on for this Pre but this is a copy of the iPhone. Yes, Palms had touchscreens in the past. Resistive. They never had anything like the iPhone. In all the Treo's I've ever owned, I never was able to "swipe" screens or drag applications to new areas of a screen. Some of you iPhone haters are stating that "it's only logical to do it that way... how else would you do it".... Well, it's Apples logic and innovation that made it happen. NOT PALM.
And all this excitement over "web apps" has me confused. Isn't that what the original iPhone had before the App Store? I think the web apps were okay, but nothing like what Apple and the 3rd party app developers are producing now.
On top of that, Palm went with the bottom of the barrel when it comes to providers...

Jellotime91 says:

Mobile exposé please apple :) thatwould fix the multitasking/app managemet issue.
For organisation, mobile finder would be nice with the option to not show a shortcut to every single app on the home screens as you can now find them via spotlight.
Apple can learn from the prw but honestly, that keyboard is too small. The iphone's virtual keyboard is bigger. That's pathetic.

Rocky Romero says:

Love the innovation..
There will be a day when I have multiple iPhones just as I have multiple PCs to compensate for speed, storage & flexibility.
I'm pleased with my iphone & occassionally I will play with the iPhone that my wife has for the variety of apps on it.
Same game, different era.

Doug says:

No offense, why do some iPhone owners get so defensive that a phone looks to be better than the current iPhone thats 2 YEARS OLD.
Its progression. Let it go, apple will have something new for you soon enough...but for now, the Pre is the most talked about gadget these days.
Good work Palm.

Daniel says:

The whole article is so far-fetched and if not completely fallacious!
John Rubenstein resigned from Apple WAY before the iPhone was put into motion, before joining Palm in late 2008. Rubenstein helped design and manage THE IPOD, not the iPhone, in his last years at Apple. Some of the software engineers were integral in creating software for the iPhone, before leaving Apple soon before the iPhone launched in 2007.
Then the author tries to say Pre copied iPhone's UI! He says, "You swipe horizontally to switch Home Screens, just like the iPhone (though you can scroll down vertically as well to jam more apps on each screen). You hold your finger down and then move to reposition apps, just like the iPhone (though they don’t do the jiggle dance)." Nice try! The author is referring to Pre's LAUNCHER screen, but calls it the "home" screen, purposely, no doubt. Pre's launcher screen is clearly NOT its home screen!! But if you want to equate Pre's launcher to iPhone's entire UI, I guess you could! Pre's "home" screen consists of LIVE, OPEN, APPLICATION CARDS, for truely simultaneously running apps! You can keep these "cards" open all the time; you never have to hit a "home" button to go from app to app; you can simply long swipe in the gesture area to go from live app to live app, or hit the center button to go to the live app card view! THIS IS NOTHING LIKE IPHONE'S UI!! Pre's UI is a whole another world away from iPhone's! The only reason an iPhone user would say that the Pre "felt more like a branch of the iPhone sometimes than a linear descendant of PalmOS" is because they haven't used past Palm devices much (which were made before iPhone), they are completely disregarding the QWERTY keyboard utility and navigation, and completely disregarding Pre's gesture area, true multitasking, and SYNERGY!
Give Palm their credit for creating a completely new OS, UI, and device hardware, and inductive-wireless charging.

Daniel says:

@ Doug
Well said! No wonder the Palm Pre won Engadget's Most Anticipated Device of 2009 Award.

oneAwake says:

Wobbly screen?... What the hell are you talking about? Funny how people see things which aren't there.
Many folks complain the iphone is too wide when they "try" to talk on it. Do yourself a favor and search the dimensions of the Pre.

Ana says:

looks pretty sex*y.
yes, definitely anticipated. it is nice to see a non-apple product get a cult like following! =)

Daniel says:

It just amazes me how Apple users call other touchscreen phones "iClones", when Apple did not create the first touchscreen phone! I believe the Palm Pilot was the first touchscreen phone, in the US, that is. In fact, Apple copied many of Palm's and other manufacturer's software designs and patents in creating the iPhone. But everyone completely ignores that because of it's popularity.

Chelini says:

I can't wait for the palm pre. Not only is it smaller than the iPhone with roughly the same screen size, but it also includes things that apple didn't. It is forcing apple to create the 3.0 firmware to stay in the game, bit even with the update, iPhones will still not have adobe flash player 10 like the pre. Also turn by turn nav. Most of apples " updates" have already been created by 3rd party developers, and were available on jailbroken iphones, so all apple did was basically steal someone else ideas.

AnteL0pe says:

The streaming video stuff is pretty cool. The Cards interface is nice, though I just wonder about background apps and battery life. I don't want to have to manage that sort of thing, I'd hate to forget I left something running only to find out an hour later when my battery is dead.
Icon moving is pretty standard, but I wonder if we all think that because that's what we're used to with the iPhone. It certainly isn't anything like previous Palm OSs.

AnteL0pe says:

@Daniel I don't think people ignore that Apple evolved the PalmOS and Treo into something modern. Someone had to, Palm wasn't doing it.
I was a die hard Treo 650 user. All I wanted was for Palm to update their OS and give me a rockin PalmOS based, GSM phone. They failed to deliver for years. Apple finally came out with something that was everything I was hoping for and more. It was an easy call to jump from the Treo 650 to the original iPhone.

Mike M says:

The pre didn't "force" apple to make 3.0. It was scheduled way ahead of time. 1.0 came out in the summer of 2007, 2.0 in the summer of 2008, now 3.0 is this summer. Wanna take a guess when 4.0 will hit? (hint: it'll be warm outside)

Daniel says:

@ Mike M
Are you gonna make a point by spelling out when the iPhone OS's come out? I laugh to even call them different OS's b/c they are really just firmware updates that add a little more of what the old OS should have already done (i.e. copy and paste, 3rd party push, device search). How odd that Apple announces these features as "Pre-like features" on March 16th when it unveiled "iPhone 3.0"!

Daniel says:

Correction, a reporter for Diggnation used the "Pre-like features" phrase on March 14th.

Chelini says:

I'm just saying, it's rather odd that apple releases only features that are going to be available on the pre rather than outdoing it. A prime example is the fact that on a jailbroken iPhone, you have the ability to use the iPhones built in camera as a video recorder, and also digital zoom when taking pics, but apple didn't add that into there update. Apple is trying to keep a lock on their customers by only upgrading to meet the necessary standards of their competion.

Chelini says:

Just another note, one of the bigger plusses of the pre is the one thing the iPhone may never have. A removeable battery. That alone is enough for some people to consider pre over iphone. And the fact that they are using a whole new method of charging the phone. Amazing

Vincent says:

Woah woah woah...Palm copying the iPhone? I must be in kool-aid land here, I thought it was iPhone copied Palm with the icon launcher. This whole Drag and arrange apps as you want...Yup, PalmOS has it too with ZLauncher..oh and don't forget that press left or right on the d-pad, the pages of apps turn left or right. Sorry if i spiked the kool-aid a lil too hard there.

Daniel says:

@ Vincent
The kool-aid is now truth serum.
Well done.

oneAwake says:

Another point for those who say (because Apple said so at the announcement of 3.0) running background app's and multitasking will drain the battery. The Palm Pre uses a Texas Instruments (TI) ARM Cortex A8-based OMAP 3 processor, boot/load times are much quicker, thus reducing battery drain, it is 3 times faster than the ARM11 core. The fast CPU is the reason the Pre can multitask without draining the battery.

Matt says:

Please get off iPhone's dick for one second and recognized what the Pre has accomplished here. Granted Apple might be on the forefront of innovation with capacitative touchscreen phone and slick UI. Palm has taken Apple's cue and eventually beat them at their own game: USABILITY. The calendar is better, the interface now supports multitasking which the iPhone desperately needs, and also Synergy makes keeping tabs on people ever less frustrating than the iPhone.
Pre wins.

Matt says:

To add to my previous post, tactile feedback when typing makes tapping out messages a lot easier and totally eliminates the guessing game involved with the iPhone, there's a reason it's called a "virtual keypad". Nothing beats the real thing, so let's be real here. Your blog is too biased towards the iPhone to make an objective report. Which, at the end of the day, makes you a whiny fanboy.

Mafoo says:

Just looks like an updated Newton OS with dashboard widgets.
They have done a nice job but i think the over emphasis on web based apps is a bit silly - people will want to be able to access some kind of native toolkit; and its current functionality seems similar to the web apps released for the v1 iPhone OS (providing JS handles for hardware and device functions), which weren't terribly popular or good.

Steve says:

Do myself a favor and check out the Pre? Uhh, no thanks... I have an iPhone. :roll:

Jeffdc5 says:

You guys come to a iPhone blog and expect us to be all gaga for the web app phone. Take it easy folks these are just phones.

Jay says:

You're totally, right. They've cloned minuscule, common sense UI elements from the iPhone.
Because they'd rather being spending their time developing other important features. Lots of things the iPhone team copied:
Cut and paste, just like the Pre
Universal search, just like the Pre
MMS, just like the Pre
Sure, it uses a capacative screen so some basic gestures are just the only way to do certain things without them being awkward.
On the other hand a platform built to work with the web in with much more flexible framework is going to be an interesting new competition for the iphone

Terry Tate says:

iclone, really? Seems to me like they took more from Googles Android.
-Universal search
-Universal notification manager
-slide up task launcher(Though the task launcher has always been in Palm OS, the way its implemented is certainly a nod to the Android OS)
-customizable home screen
-Amazon over the air downloads (a feature that just recently came to the iphone)
-Copy& paste
-GPS location based services (though a bit evolved called synergy on the pre)
-The ability to have the phone sync with web services and use the information there to automatically set up your contact lists.
The only things I can see that were directly copied from the iphone are the pinch to zoom( which was first seen on the Microsoft Surface ), that spring back thing it does when you reach the bottom of a window and the way it ignores left and right movement when scrolling vertically and viesi versa. Swipes, gestures, app stores and various other "iphone first" were around on other smart phones first.

Cobra says:

An important correction for the iphone people here:
The pre apps aren't "web apps" or "widgets", they run natively. They just happen to use web-type languages, because pretty much everyone knows how to build them. They are every bit as native as anything running on any iphone.

Andrea says:

Pre apps ( for now at least ) are local web apps ( HTML and Javascript ), iPhone applications are compiled. They DON'T are every bit as native as anything running on any iPhone.

Daniel says:

The Palm videos has demonstrated that all the apps, be it that they are web-apps, made so far for the Pre are just as sophisticated and smooth as any non-web app you would find on the iPhone... discounting games of course, because Palm has demonstrated any games yet.
The Pre will so include Flash Player technology, making the development of subsequent 3rd party apps that much more robust and dynamic.
So you can't really diss 'web-apps' because they are easier to produce and appear to be just as refined as any other mobile app.

Cobra says:

That's a pretty fine distinction that I don't think means anything to the people I was responding to, and one that is generally irrelevant when you're talking about running on a cell phone. What I'm saying is that a "web app" isn't a "web app" if it isn't delivered over the web and doesn't have to interact with the web. It's not at all the same thing as the web apps that iphone used at one time, which were really just browser windows with different buttons.

Steve says:

Who cares what the apps are... it's still a big fat bulky phone with klunky removable and sliding parts. Blahhh!

antonioj says:

Adam Y, backround processes eat battery in an un-optimized OS, like WM...or Iphone OS...on Symbian, there´s no problem at all

Daniel says:

@ Steve
The Pre is actually smaller than the iPhone in all dimensions except being 2 mm deeper. The curve slider is the farthest thing from "klunky" I have ever seeen - I don't understand where you are getting that description.
I actually I do know where, your iPhone worshiping convoluted mind!

Rene Ritchie says:

Pre Apps are precisely widgets, they're localized WebApps running off the device pulling data from local storage and the cloud. This is the same as the iPhone's weather widget or OS X's dashboard widgets.
They do obviously have hooks into the device for phone access, etc. but they're not compiled code and they don't run as close to the metal.
This means they can look great and run great to a certain extent, but won't ever have the same true performance until Palm Pre releases a native SDK, like Apple did for the iPhone.
(And they likely will at some point, even if just for them game developers ;) )

Russ says:

I find it funny that posters are bickering between the two. It might look great on paper and in a controlled environment but until the Pre actually comes out and gets some real world usage, I'm going to hold off on ditching my iPhone. The proof is in the day to day.

Palm Pre Apps says:

What remains to be seen is how the Pre's app catalog will stand up against Apple's appstore. Until then it's probably better to not make a judgement call. If Palm's assertion about the ease with which you can develop for the Pre is true, then there may be a big leap in the app offerings - which may act as a differentiator for the Pre (instead of the UI).