Digital Trends Podcast: iPhone 3G S vs. Palm Pre!

Digital Trends Podcast - iPhone 3G S vs. Palm Pre

I joined Leif Iverson on yesterday's Digital Trends Podcast, and since Dieter wasn't available, I was put in the untenable position of having to champion both the iPhone 3G S for TiPb and the Palm Pre for our sibling site, Somehow, I survived. (And had a lot of fun -- thanks Leif!)

Check it out, and let us know what you think about the upcoming rumble in the smartphone jungle!

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Digital Trends Podcast: iPhone 3G S vs. Palm Pre!


They already have Doom on Pre. I'm more than convinced that the Pre is a good contender. This is a great year to be a CEO of Google, Apple, and Palm. LOL

Although I'm a hard core iPhone fan (not a hard core Apple fan), I think Pre is a great phone. I still would stick with iPhone for the touch keyboard (yes I like it).

I have to agree, although I often read on the forums , this or that phone has an advantage because of a real keyboard, I like the virtual keyboard and not having to slide something up and down to type, and talk about no landscape mode on the pre

The Pre gets high marks for creating a mobile platform that is not wedded to the PC, embraces the Cloud and has an OS that is always on the web. It will force Apple to continue to innovate, not that they ever stopped. It's a nice first effort andbit should be interesting tobsee where they takenit.

I had the opportunity yesterday to play with a Pre. I currently still own the first generation iphone. I use the web a lot on my phone especially to answer questions from my children, paying my bills, google maps, comparing prices while shopping, checking library availability, email and some other apps. I am professionally very interested in medical applications. At a first look the Pre is definitely easier to handle then a Blackberry Storm that I had the chance to play with a couple of weeks ago. But the iphone was more intuitive from the beginning.
Playing with the Pre helped me determine that I will upgrade to the iphone 3Gs. Here are the reasons:

  1. The screen on the Pre is noticably smaller which makes web surfing less comfortable. It will also make gaming and business applications less comfortable to use. The iphone is also a phone but mostly enables my mobile, information craving life.
  2. Writing on the hard keyboard was uncomfortable as you have to pay much more attention on where you are pressing. The keys were way to tiny and close to each other. That is not the case with the iphone's soft keyboard as it guesses what you want to write. The vertical soft keyboard will make typing even more comfortable. The request for a hard keyboard seems to be driven from a lack of experience with a well functioning soft keyboard. It will ultimately be a hinderance for the Pre.
  3. Everybody was desperate to get the vertical keyboard on the iphone. The Pre does not have a soft keyboard and with this can not have a vertical keyboard to make writing more comfortable.
  4. I write emails in more then one language. The iphone is definitely the winner here. Though the quality of the dictionary depends on the language. It works amazingly well in English and is just ok in German.
  5. Though not complicated the user interface of the Pre is a touch less intuitive then on the iphone.
  6. The video function of the iphone 3Gs is gold if you are a parent.
  7. The iPhone 3Gs voice control is key for me. You want your phone password locked because of all the data. So while you are driving it is a pain to unlock the phone and then dial on the current iphone or PRE as you have to look at the phone as the phone number entry actually is with soft keys on both phones. Voice solves this.
  8. I see a new revolution of applications coming on the iphone integrating voice and video that will make my life easier.
  9. Though people say that the Pre is good looking it will not win a red dot award or make it into the museum of modern art.

So in my opinion the Pre is a decent multi media platform if you can not switch or do not want to switch to ATT. But its size and the physical keyboard will limit its success.

I have not seen anything on the Pre that would make me switch. However, that being said, if it had come out a year ago, when I was switching from my Treo, It would have been a very serious contender.
I am glad to see a product that may very well save Palm. Between the Pre and hopefully next generation of BB Storm, Apple will be forced to stay alert and innovative. This could definitely prove to be a win win for all.

I think you did a nice job on the podcast Rene, but the host wasn't very good. Plus, why was there sometimes a few seconds of dead air between you two talking, and other times he just talked over you? At first I thought it could be delay from the time it takes the data to get from one part of the world to another (live news reports from the other side of the world have this), but the more I listened, I don't think that's the correct conclusion.

Any phone capable of the following: multitasking and running a number of applications in the background.
Since the Iphone cannot do this it is really no different than a feature phone like the Samsung Eternity.
It is a feature phone with great gaming capabilities.

I agree with Muero in that Rene was his usual brainiac self when it came to answering questions, but the host seemed more interested in keeping to a schedule and rushing through things than actually listening to Rene's answers. Good Job Rene. Bad job Digital Trends.
Also, I'm with icebike in asking Truth what he/she considers a true smartphone. When the iPhone first came out, I might have agreed. But with mobile Outlook in the form of Exchange ActiveSync, with the ability to load all sorts of 3rd-party software, and with apps that now let you edit Word and Excel documents right on the phone, I think it is every bit the smartphone as my former Windows Mobile phone was. The only thing missing is a file structure. Certainly you wouldn't use that for your definition of smartphone??

@Truth, please stop trolling here. You're welcome to post your opinion, but since I know you know that the iPhone multitasks perfectly well -- for Apple's apps like Phone, iPod, Email, etc. -- it just doesn't allow multitasking for 3rd party apps -- it'd be appreciated if you steered yourself towards more productive exchange :)
@Muero, I didn't hear a delay on the phone, but there might have been one on his end? Not sure.

Why is there not an app or why does Apple not let you sort contacts by Company? Like the iphone but I want it to work like a PDA

Thank You Renee. Now I do understand what trolling is. so I guess, thank you too Truth!
As some of the other posters has stated. It sounds as the host was not really into having a conversation. he just wanted to hit all the topics on his list. I was actually irritated by the end of the podcast. Renee kept bringing up good points and the host seemed to dismiss them and move on rather than agree or even offer a rebuttal .

So the definition of a smart phone is murky at best. but most agree that it offers full email support and the ability to add applications, along with the support of contact list that is limited only by space. also, most have a personal organizer. built in camera's and accelerometers are other added features of smart phones. media players, internet browsers and the ability to read business documents are also mentioned.
so far as I can tell, the IPhone fits in with the smart phone definition. don't you agree?

@Rene Ritchie
Well then if it can't multitask with 3rd party apps then what good is it? I also didn't know I could multitask with 1st party apps like Calendar, stocks, Youtube, Notes, and Weather.
I'm not trolling. I am just here to keep balance your Apple/Iphone/Steve Jobs/Mac etc news slant. Remember: Bias sucks, Balance rules, and Honesty always matters.

@ Chobbs
Most feature phones have the ability to add apps
Most offer email support e.g. XpressMail
Most offer memory expandability
Most offer media players and cameras
Some have accelerometers
Most have web browsers built in or have 3rd party like Opera.
Most have personal organizers and the ability to read documents.
But most feature phones only run ONE APP at a time, thus the Iphone is for all practical purposes a really good Feature Phone.

The Iphone runs one app at a time. This is not something you can dispute.
I cannot run Pandora or AOL Radio at the same time? Can you? If you can let me know.
The reason? The E series phones, based on Symbian S60, are smartphones. The iPhone is not a smartphone. It is not meant for enterprise users. Bring on the comments :)
Apple may claim that it is a solid messaging device, that it syncs with your contacts databases and that it can view Microsoft Word and Excel files, but it doesn’t have near the enterprise integration capabilities that true smartphones offer.
It also doesn’t run third-party applications. The Safari-based “apps” that Steve Jobs said developers could create for the iPhone don’t count.
The iPhone may offer a fancy UI and other advanced interactivity, but in the end, most of the services it provides (Google Maps, music playback, video playback, SMS, mobile e-mail) are available on other, far-less-expensive feature phones.
Devices that use the Palm OS, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry OS and Symbian S60 are smartphones.
Notice on the very same wiki the Iphone is not even pictured even though it is touted as being the "best" smartphone?

I agree with icebike. it sounds as though you didn't get what you want so your spouting off definitions of what YOU think a smart phone is.
on the other hand you have that right but be careful how you put it. the way you state things so "matter-of-factly" degrades other's opinions to which everyone has a right. it is only your OPINION that "it cannot multi-task so it's not a smartphone". this phone does multi task, just not what YOU think it should. This phone in MY opinion is a smartphone even without the multi-task function. and wikipedia agrees.

So how is the Iphone any different from a feature phone like the Samsung Instinct or Eternity. Just asking?


The Iphone runs one app at a time. This is not something you can dispute.

More than once I've been listening to music or browsing the web or playing games and the Email arrival tone sounds.
Clearly the email application was running while I was doing something else.
I've also had someone push something to my calendar and had it pop up while I was talking on the phone to someone and surfing the web page they sent me via SMS.
So... Disputed.

I wonder if those were all first party apps?
A smartphone is able to run all applications in the background not just the ones created by the device manufacturer.
Now try running Pandora and your game. Try answering a text message while you are browsing the web. What do you have to do in order to answer it? Oh thats right leave the current app and open the messaging app.
Why do you think someone made a jailbreak app specifically so you could background? Perhaps, to address an inherent flaw with the Iphone...the inability to run 3rd party apps in the background.

Rene, the 2g and 3g iPhone will not be getting voice control. I think you said they would in the podcast.

feature phones are just feature phones. they come with a few features and even those are severely limited. again I know there is a huge debate out there raging about what is a smartphone and what is a feature phone. the fact is there is no clear distinction. so we are left with mere guidelines and minimum requirements. The IPhone, in my opinion, has proven to be more than a feature phone. It's features have evolved and become more numerous. not to mention the outstanding hardware that it came with. I really don't care if you call it a feature phone or a smart phone. I do care about condescending and rude comments. with that I will say no more.

I guess you have a different definition of "Smartphone" than many others. In my oppinion the iPhone way is the smartest way, with push notification etc. I have never seen a real need of multitasking beyond what the iPhone delievers. Feel free to try to change my opinion. :)

@ Chobbs
You're trying hard and I commend you but don't you think the Iphone has features that are severely limited?
It's features have evolved and become more numerous? Huh? You mean the Cr(App) Store has got even more useless apps and virtually 99% of them are worthless?
You mean it took 2 years to get copy and paste and voice control?
You mean I can still run one app at a time?
You mean that Apple still won't open up their sdk and allow for apps like a alternative browser etc?
This is not the true potential of the Iphone. Will we ever get it? Probably not because Apple wants to control everything. The Iphone is a souped up feature phone that doesn't do anything different from a phone like the Samsung Instinct, Impression, or Eternity. Well it's data plan does cost $15 more but whose counting dollars?

@ Truth ... if you hate it so much, why are you spending so much time on a site called ???
Personally, I have no interest in Nokia, and therefore spend no time on the Nokia experts site. Likewise, I have no interest in Blackberries, and therefore spend no time on
What's the line for accusing a guilty party ... Me thinkest thou doth protest too much!

I don't hate the Iphone. I think it is the best phone I have ever had but are there shortcomings and that is the fault of Apple trying to have complete control over the device. That is why I am hoping in the future someone is able to port Android to the phone.
Oh and I like this blog.

@Truth: I'm convinced...u don't own an iPhone. Anyone who has an iPhone knows that it has excellent multitasking ability. I can take a credit card payment from the credit card machine app, plus run about 9 different windows on the Internet, fedex a few packages and then upload a video to YouTube directly from my iPhone 3gs while ur lookin for a So for those reasons I know u don't have an iPhone and my iPhone 3gs and I have nothing else left to more thing i record vocals and live instruments on my iPhone, compose songs, email those samples and burn it to a disk for mastering now u tell me who wants an iPhone now. Awe yeah...I'm sending this from my