You Won't See The Palm Pre On Me

I was emailing with Ken Berger over the weekend. He went to the Palm Pre launch event on Friday (here's Ken's take on the phone) and was wondering why I had not mentioned it yet on this blog.

I am quite excited by the Palm Pre. It's a touch screen phone with a keyboard. It shows what the user experience might be if there were a keyboard version of the iPhone. It's got a brand new mobile web operating system that is supposed to be very solid. It is worthy competition for RIM and Apple and should drive those two smartphone leaders to deliver even better phones.

So I asked Ken if I could get an unlocked Pre to run on T-Mobile. He responded:

joking, right?
It's a CDMA phone only– no GSM radio at all.
Besides that, Sprint and Verizon phones have no SIM to swap out.

I responded:

i had no idea

i've never used a palm phone and i've never been on sprint

i think i am just going to ignore this phone for now

it's useless to me

I'm not going to used a closed device like that, no matter how good the device and OS is. You won't be seeing a Palm Pre on me.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Comments (Archived):

  1. Jerry Paffendorf

    you are the modern

    1. fredwilson

      the modern?

      1. ShanaC

        Driving me crazy- but where does the term “The Modern” come from? I keep trying to reference it, and all I get is a movie “We Moderns” I highly doubt it is from there. Does anyone here knowHow are you The Modern? There must be some strict definition of this that I am totally missing, and hence totally missing the joke.</dorkiness>

        1. fredwilson

          Me too

  2. Miss Xu

    shocking. In this day / age / geography that companies are still making products so US centric. Ability to swap out SIMs are a must have for me. I don’t love my iPhone but now that it’s jailbroken, I’m up + running in most countries (including the US) with a pre-paid SIM + cheap data plan.

    1. fredwilson

      as i was writing that post, i was also listening and buying music and thishappened to me…the internet is a global system and attempts to be “national” are sofrustrating

      1. Louis Berlan

        One day we will have worldwide telcos – pay one company, get unlimited data + voice everywhere in the world.Until then, they’re making way too much cash in fees and options to do it.

        1. fredwilson

          A global telco is a dream. Skype?

          1. Farhan Lalji

            or Goog with it’s voice product. Wifi/max – whatever – is just a better solution then mobile signal.

          2. ShanaC

            Not in favor, I would rather see the two in competition.Personal preference for a drive to the bottom. There is a reason we don’t have a Ma Bell anymore…

          3. Prokofy

            So just have one global telco, Google, and have Google for everything else, too, including world government? Um, sounds like a plan..

          4. Farhan Lalji

            No but we have web companies that act as global telco’s I would much rather have one number internationally where I can have my voicemail transcribed and do IM all in one go, think Yahoo! Google, Skype even Microsoft rather then AT&T, Verizon, T-mobile, O2, Vodafone, Orange etc.

          5. ShanaC

            That still is competition.What you don’t want is too much of everyone acting in tandem. You can get market problems if the information of how they are acting in tandem isn’t transparent.

      2. iamronen

        the internet can be very global but isn’t really that… maybe it’s global in the USA …I can identify two forces hindering it from becoming a global system – political regimes and money… in your example you happened to encounter the money force… this is what it’s like most of the time if you live outside the USA!We live in interesting times… will new “money-forces” evolve beyond some primitive forces to facilitate true globalization? Would you be open to massive redistribution of financial potential? Would your investors?Perception can often twist the perceived into something more familiar and comforting…

      3. kidmercury

        no worries boss, virtual currencies will make the nation-state obsolete and the platform the new top dog up in this piecewe gotta get @ev to roll out tweetbucks, break us past the nation-state and monetize the whole twitter ecosystem at the same time

        1. fredwilson

          patience my friend

          1. ShanaC

            I realize that like you, I do not believe that money is anything but information, or at the very least linked to information.(I like Joseph Stiglitz…)A) We are nearly at that point, the vast majority exchanges are denominated in either Euros, Dollars, Yen or Yuan. You effectively could make a global currency out of these four.B) This could be very politically destabilizing. How would you get the right BEYs to the right people? How would you denominate correctly? Poor in Zimbawbe means something different than Poor in the UK, and this would correlate with the cash in hand (and the cash in digital hand, that each would carry.C) How would you set up digitally in areas that don’t have good digital penetration (Parts of the Himalayas… You still need hard cash out there, even if in the US, as Joe Stiglitz pointed out in the 80s, cash was becoming superfluous, and that debt and cash could become easily confused for that very reason.D) I like to pretend that I am not a nice Jewish girl and that I am secretly a criminal on my nights off. Cash is very useful when I am fighting corrupting cops way out here in neverland. ;-)That being said: As there is more and more cell phone usuage world wide, and as we get more digital- I think the movement towards a BEY currency is logical. Like all currency roll-outs, this is going to be slow and will take time to adjust (can’t cause a panic here….) Just don’t look before you leap.

  3. Guest

    I had not realized that either. It is astounding that in this day and age that the first thought of anyone working in the tech, comms, socmed space is not “How can we make this available to as many people as possible?”It’s not just about tech. Imagine taking any product to your local city, town or village market and tell customers that since most of you aren’t signed up with x, y or z you can’t have it.I know automobile companies are not a good example of how to run a business but how much worse would it be if only certain drivers were allowed to drive certain cars on certain roads.I just think with cutting edge technology there should be some cutting edge marketing.

    1. Prokofy

      But all cell phones make you sign up for these plans in the U.S, it’s annoying. They don’t have that in Europe.

  4. Gilly

    Android is up there too know?

  5. Farhan Lalji

    Mobile operators just don’t get it. They’re still swapping long term customer satisfaction for short term revenue. Locking in customers sucks, but it’s such an old process. I’m interested to see if Google Voice/Skype changes the model with more and more wifi locations, who needs a mobile? Just use an ipod in a wifi hotspot. If the networks/manufacturers don’t figure out how to give consumers what they want they’ll vote with their feet.

    1. Mark Essel

      I’m tuned into your wavelength/hopeful vision farhanlalji

    2. David Esrati

      Couldn’t agree more with farhanlalji- the operators won’t be able to keep up with the technology. Pervasive wifi accessibility will be the end of their industry, much the same as expensive gas was the death of GM and Chrysler. The bigger they are, the harder they fall.Your reasons for not accepting the Pre are rather weak Fred, although to a global traveler, they are sound. We will see the best innovation in cell tech just as WiFi kills it.The pace of change is too fast for the big telcos to adapt.The bigger they are, the harder they will fall.The reality is- they are currently just a commodity vendor, selling bandwidth.The only real innovators so far are Apple and Android- who have built communities and integrated their products as lifestyle products.I’ve written about this often at for this forum.

      1. fredwilson

        I can’t believe you don’t think rim is an innovator.

        1. David Esrati

          Hi Fred- RIM was an innovator- with push e-mail. Other than that- no apps, no community, no ability to extend or enhance the service. Plus- the system reliability issues don’t make for a solid platform.Yes, you were addicted to your crackberry- but it had nothing to do with what RIM built in- it was addiction to email.Hope you understand.Thanks for asking.

          1. Aaron Klein

            No offense, David, but I’m with Fred on this. Two years of trying, and Apple STILL can’t beat BlackBerry e-mail. (This applies more to power users and mobile professionals than your average consumer, but I’m an ex-iPhone user because of the keyboard and the server-based e-mail.)If I were to send an e-mail with a 6MB attachment to a BlackBerry and an iPhone, it would take 64KB of bandwidth to forward it from the BlackBerry, and 12MB of bandwidth (6 down, 6 up) to forward it from the iPhone.I also don’t get where people get the idea that there are no apps on BlackBerry. That’s totally wrong.The BlackBerry is an open platform and I can put any app on it without AT&T or BlackBerry’s approval. I have the following installed now: Yahoo Messenger, Google Maps, MSN Messenger, Facebook, MySpace, TwitterBerry, Opera Browser, YouVersion, Google Sync, SugarSync, Qik and various games.Apple has some great technology, but let’s not go overboard. RIM has been and continues to be a great innovator. The BlackBerry OS needs a refresh, but the fundamentals are right.

          2. David Esrati

            Aaron,Mea Culpa- I stand corrected. I know some people can’t stand Apple’s virtual keyboard too- but, having come from a Treo-with chicklets- all of them leave me wanting what I had with a Psion Revo or MX5- which had a real keyboard.However- locking into a stock keyboard doesn’t allow the same flexibility that the iPhone allows. I’ve used a Curve- and find it’s interface painful- like an IBM Thinkpads joystick nav of old- clunky.I place a bet that the next version of the iphone software due next week will solve the push issues, or at least close the gap.

          3. Aaron Klein

            You’re correct — the Curve is a little clunkier. My BlackBerry Bold’s navigation has been very simple and elegant. The keys are a great size, and they’re sort of curved in a “V” shape that is very comfortable for my hands. It’s been the best smartphone I’ve ever had.I’m not sure I agree that iPhone 3.0 fixes the e-mail issue. I think it’s a matter of architecture.The BlackBerry architecture is very bandwidth-efficient, with servers in the NOC pushing e-mail in 32KB spurts to the device.The result is a seamless experience. Your phone chirps, you pick it up, the e-mail is there, no downloading required to read. As you’re reading down the e-mail, it starts loading the next 32KB, which takes a second or two, since it is pre-loaded at the central BlackBerry NOC server that your phone has an open connection too.The iPhone, by comparison, is like running Outlook over a very slow internet connection. It just goes out and connects to your different mail servers to get lists of messages. When you tap a message, you have to wait while it reconnects to that server and the message downloads.It is true that iPhone 2.0 added push, but it’s what I’d call “cheap push” like Windows Mobile…it just pushes the list of messages to the phone. You still have to connect to the mail server and wait while it downloads the actual message to start reading. And if your 3G signal blips while that’s happening…I had e-mails refuse to download at that point and say “the server cannot be reached” for hours.Apple has repeatedly mocked the NOC infrastructure calling it a single point of failure. That’s fair to say, but I’d rather have the BlackBerry experience 360 days of the year than the iPhone’s slow experience 365.I also want to couch all of this by saying that the iPhone beats the BlackBerry hands down on the ease of use and simplicity of UI, the web browsing, the iPod and even the simple usability of the phone. But no phone that I’ve tried — Windows Mobile, iPhone or anything else — has come close to the BlackBerry on e-mail.I wrote a more detailed review on this subject here, if you’re interested:

          4. fredwilson

            You should write copy for rim. You’ve articulated very well why nothing compares to a bberry for me

          5. Aaron Klein

            Thanks.Here’s another example of why this works so much better. When you move a message to a folder using BlackBerry, the message gets moved on the phone, and the phone queues up a command to the NOC telling it to move that message in your inbox. If your connection blips or you’re out of range, the command will go through as soon as the BlackBerry reconnects.In contrast, when you move a message on the iPhone, it tries to connect to the server and send the move command to your mail server. If it goes through, iPhone then re-asks for the now-shorter message list and your message disappears on the phone. But if iPhone can’t reach the mail server, it just undoes your command and the messages pop back into your inbox. It’s just annoying. Amazing that Apple hasn’t figured out how to make this work better.

          6. fredwilson

            And blackberry allows apps to be downloaded directly from the web. Apple forces devs to use the itunes store which is clunky

          7. ShanaC

            Hate to break it you- but that is a form of lock in.The most controversial part of the apps world right now are “off label apps” that are not approved by Apple; they are often downloaded from the web- but it seems that it isn’t a huge amount of people are not bothering. Further, it seems that you need to Jailbreak the phone first.What I would do to separate the apple software from the hardware sometimes…. issues like these….

  6. jenslapinski

    So, if you are a US businessman using this phone, and you travel with it to the UK, you can’t use it?I would be interested in understanding what markets Palm is targeting with this phone. It doesn’t seem to be executives…

  7. jasontrost

    The iPhone isn’t exactly an open device either. The phone is locked to the carrier that you purchased the phone with so SIM swapping isn’t that useful. Tethering is blocked. Bluetooth is blocked. File sharing is blocked. VOIP over 3G is blocked. I love the UI interaction on the iPhone but I’m tempted to switch to the G phone b/c platforms and software should be open. I should be able to install whatever app I want without having to jailbreak it.

    1. fredwilson

      i agree. i’ve jailbroken two iphones and run them on t-mobile. at least that works, sort of.but i’m on RIMM because their phones are easy to unlock and run on whatever network i choose

      1. Prokofy

        This sounds like a male geek macho cultural thing to me, Fred, the feeling of saying, wow, I jailbroke this closed phone!What are these networks you use or APIs you use that you couldn’t get on this “closed” phone?The average user doesn’t need to “jailbreak” and vandalize a product to use it. They don’t need ultra-connectivity or widgets. I mean, how often are you going to sit and balance your books noodling on a phone?What sounds good to me about the Palm Pre is the keyboard and ease of use.Proprietary hardware and software are the ways in which value is sustained. If you vandalize these things, you aren’t liberating everything for teh ppl, you are merely transferring wealth to legions of widgeteers, who are a class lobby for jailbreaking. Who ultimately profits? Not the consumer.

        1. fredwilson

          its vandalism to you and a political act to me

          1. ShanaC

            You sure you are not an Artist Fred?

          2. fredwilson

            I’m pretty sure about that

          3. Prokofy

            That’s what Abbie Hoffman would say, I guess, if not Lenin.I’m glad you’re acknowledging that it *is* political and not merely “technological”.

          4. GraemeHein

            This is far too much telco kool aid guzzling.It’s Leninist to use a device that you purchased in the manner that you wish to?Your entire thread lacks perspective and an understanding of technology, business models, and what creates value for businesses and consumers.

          5. Prokofy

            No, I’m just an ordinary consumer, not some telco kool-aid guzzler, tekkies often look for the evil hand of evil telcos everywhere, even as they remain blandly uncritical of Google, which removes a lot more of their freedoms and value than telcos.There’s a meme that “using a device” means you absolutely must bang on it with a hammer and crack it open. This is an affluent male/engineering/Silicon Valley meme that isn’t shared by most consumers, who respect the notion that companies have to have proprietary hardware and software to stay in business.Most people don’t have that many toys, such as to have a felt need to hack, slash, jailbreak.The most standard snarky rebuttal to any criticism of the sort I make is “I want to be able to copy my songs on some other device and they won’t let me” or “I want to be able to use any network I feel like.”But most people don’t have multiple listening devices beyond their i-Pod, and can’t pay for all the two-year contracts of all the networks and server access.Get a grip, you are in a bubble. Most of the problem with the user adaptation comes from this heavily-ideological arrogance that refuses not only to see what ordinary people live like, but that their own take on how they “should” be using technology is based in a discredited and unworkable collectivist worldview.Most people feel no need to “jailbreak” their cell phones. Most people don’t have to have a zillion APIs running ontheir cell phone because the use their laptops for most of these applications.In fact, what’s Leninist is the California ideology, which leads nowhere, except to a constant refrain where we’re supposed to pretend to work (providing endless content on all these services for free) and you pretend to pay us (monetarize the services for a pittance, like Google Adsense).In fact I have a very healthy sense of business, which is why I pointedly ask who is going to pay for all these servers, and why do so few get all the value sucked to their advantage out of the cloud?Unless you’re one of the lucky few widgeteers to moneterize your little API, or a very high A-lister blogger, you can’t moneterize these services. That’s a problem, if we’re all going to be living wired and on line much more — as we are doing.One of the most idiotic and hackened phrases to come out of the Valley is this meme of “creating value”. What that usually means is “how I pitch my consulting services” or “some big IT project”. It isn’t creating ordinary, useful value for *people*. It’s like Lenin — pretending to be for the people, and really in fact benefitting a corrupt and oppressive few.

          6. fredwilson

            Everything is political. That’s why I talk politics on this blog and wear mine on my sleeve. Those in business who try to hide their politics or keep them off their blogs are doing themselves and us a dis-service

  8. vincentvw

    I assume that in October, when the Pre arrives here in Europe, that there will be a Sim-slot in it as well. Because I’ve never heard of the no-sim phone over here.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith


  9. tlow

    “I’m not going to used a closed device like that, no matter how good the device and OS is. You won’t be seeing a Palm Pre on me.”But how is this any different from the iPhone, which is locked to ATT (at least in the US)?I just feel like this prejudice is misplaced, and not equally applied. Ok. Perhaps you don’t like the fact that its only going to be on a network that you don’t use… I’d like to see some better criticisms. I could find out in approximately 10 seconds which networks pre was being released for. Its not even opinion, its a statement of fact.

    1. Farhan Lalji

      Not sure if you read Fred’s earlier posts but he’s been equally critical about Apple and the iPhone on this topic. Actually on second thought think Palm’s getting off light.

      1. fredwilson

        yup. but at least i can jailbreak an iphone and run it on t-mobileits not about t-mobileits about me controlling what network i want to use, not the device manufacturer

        1. Farhan Lalji

          True but if the palm picks up traction someone will figure out how to jailbreak it as well.

  10. gerry campbell

    Back to hoping for an iphone mini keyboard for me. Will somebody make one please? Like the old thumb board for the palm 5

    1. fredwilson

      i’d love rim to come out with a blackberry keyboard for the new iphone which supports third party devices

      1. gerry campbell

        right. Snap it on the bottom. Or, better yet, isn’t that what Bluetooth is about? Try hooking your bluetooth apple kbd up to your iPhone… no dice.

      2. kenberger

        They could do it today if they wanted. The iPhone in my pocket (and in other developers’) already sports OS3.0. As announced an hour ago at the WWDC, h/w accessories can now control apps via the dock connector or Bluetooth.

        1. fredwilson

          I had read that a few days ago. Its on my wishlist now

  11. ErikSchwartz

    Historically Palm has always made CDMA and GSM versions of their handsets. There will be a GSM version along.I think Sprint’s exclusivity on the handset is pretty short.

    1. Ben Thomas

      I believe you are correct. I am hearing 6 months until it’s on Verizon.

  12. Charlotte kim

    I think people need to remember that ultimately the idea of having different and competing technologies was the grand plan of the FCC to prevent another monopoly like Ma Bell. It actually used to be worse, in that no single carrier could cover beyond an established calling area. So now the device manufacturers are burdened with having to support two different technologies, and unlike Europe and Asia, carriers manage the distribution of hardware (cell phones) NOT the manufacturers (Apple, Palm, BB, etc.). One of the only ways carriers are able to differentiate (other than lowering prices) is by luring people with a device. The the OEMs are usually put into exclusivity contracts in order to get their devices distributed or sold. Having only one standard technology for mobile coverage would be great for convenience, but theoretically could lay the seeds for creating a monster. The answer is limit carriers to selling service and let OEMs sell to consumers independently. Carriers can still be a channel, but the OEMs can then make any device that they want and sell it to whomever they want. OR even better– have a quad band (or would be quint band) phone that can still fit in one’s pocket.

    1. ShanaC

      I agree, but other areas have extensive and healthy competitive coverage (for the most part) without having this problem of one technology. This is how other areas have multiple carriers running around and compete on services. I lived in Israel for a year. There were multiple carriers. everyone used GSM. The only place I noticed problems was one tiny area of the Biqua (the Jordan Valley) on the bus on my way up to, errr, religious seminary. One of the more common stereotype figures I saw was the guy who had multiple phones to take advantage of different serveries provided by different carriers. Was wierd from an American’s perspective. Also their billing cycle was very different.So yes, clearly you can make a lot of money doing this. My phone bills were higher there too. But I make the same amount of calls. We definitely can and should move off the system we are on now.

  13. Mark Essel

    Who’s building an open phone architecture (can ride on any mobile carrier services)? Does such a smart phone exist, even in the planning stages? I’d buy it, especially if they didn’t restrict skype to wifi only, hint hint.

    1. fredwilson

      this came up yesterday in the convo about open platformsandroid’s sw is the closest in terms of open sourceon the hardware side, its slim pickings but there are some efforts

      1. kenberger

        Re Android, the Google Ion (HTC Magic) is right now out in the wild, unlocked, and running on GSM networks such as T-Mo. It’s an excellent improvement over the G1, though still not nearly an FPhone.…For my open source phone needs, I guess I’d use a Bugphone (use some Buglabs modules with Android).

    2. David O'Neill

      Just to clarify, most GSM phones can work on any GSM carrier. There are some caveats to that statement but as a rule of thumb it’s true. There’s nothing technical to stop you putting any GSM SIM in any GSM except that certain mobile network operators (carriers) cripple the functionality to force people to stay locked to them.They also tend to cripple, where possible, the various Open OS devices out there. Windows Mobile, S60/Symbian, Android devices should work on all carriers without too much trouble.I personally think Palm have made a mistake here. In my experience it’s harder to go from CDMA to GSM than the other way.

      1. fredwilson

        I’m with you. That is the essential point of my post

  14. BmoreWire

    yea, nationalizing cell phone technology is really annoying. I’ve been to europe twice with my iphone and tried playing by at&t’s rules and ended up getting slapped with a $500 data bill…..also one time, though I called ahead and asked them to turn it on, was stranded in ireland and had to call at&t from a phone booth to get them to turn ireleand on.

  15. andreas

    Absolutely agree Fred!As much as I lust after The Pre and/or an iPhone (being the Gadget lover and Apple fanboy that I am) there is something to be said about open (source) systems/approaches (not to mention the handsets being locked down.)I, for one have relegated my Blackberry to playing second fiddle and have promoted the G1 (HTC Dream in OZ to my primary communication device. There is something about this whole Open Handset Alliance Approach that feels good to me.I know, the handset is “ugly” and has some shortcomings but 18 more Android handsets are said to be announced by the end of this year.Just imagine switching from one handset to another at whim in the future; it’s set up instantly as you punch in your username and password. This draws on similarities to those netbook/tablet-with-connection-to-the-cloud-scenarios. I think that’s no coincidence.

    1. fredwilson

      I’m rooting for android. I tried the G1 but couldn’t make it work for me

  16. Adam

    LOL, theres a sprint ad in your RSS feed right now. At least its for a BB Curve and not a Pre.

    1. fredwilson

      someone is going to build a “sentiment” analyzer to prevent such things, but for now its always good for a laugh

      1. GraemeHein

        Great point – news articles seem to have very hilarious ads for dating sites. Article decrying malevolent Russian influence in the “near abroad” gets you russian wife ads. Article on terrorism in Pakistan and dangers of jihadist takeover of a nuclear state gets you muslim marriage sites. Political articles get you ads for dating the side that is eviscerated in the text.Word count really doesn’t convey sentiment and makes for some exceptionally useless ad impressions. From my limited involvement in the problem, my impression is that better ads would require a substantial leap in AI. If you could target ads according to sentiment you could have natural language interaction with all sorts of programs.The good thing is that there’s real money available to solve the problem and real money being lost. Much more of a driver than all of our movie/tv/literature driven fantasies of interacting with robots/computers.

        1. ShanaC

          Behold the difference between machine language and human language.We the human are imprecise- because we have nuance.Machines (right now) have no nuance- but they are precise.

      2. greghills

        Brands will often target their ads to run alongside relevant conversations, so its no surprise a Sprint ad showed up. Some companies, like ADISN, are already building out the technology to create dynamic ads that where the product, product offer, or call to action changes depending on the content of the page.I think Sprint should have run an ad on this post, promoting the Palm Pre, specifically the handset and OS, features which Fred praised in his post. Isn’t that better than having the brand avoid the conversation entirely? Brands have no choice but to engage the detractors and display advertising is a very scalable way to do so.

        1. fredwilson

          Yes, but since we can now dynamically create ads to match the content why not “GSM pre coming soon, pre-order one now”

          1. Aaron Klein

            Methinks that has something to do with how much Sprint paid to Palm for the exclusivity.Obviously, the economics of the cell phone market are driving the exclusive deals and the locked phones.Not sure if Apple ever feels they can make good enough margin on a $199 iPhone if AT&T isn’t paying them $400 to lock in the $1600 in wireless revenue.

  17. Stu

    Could the iPhone itself not also be considered a “closed device”?

    1. fredwilson

      yes, but it least it can be jailbroken and run on other gsm nets

      1. harpos_blues

        Fred,Like yesterday, I am replying to your post from my Palm Pre. In case you haven’t guessed I’m one of those “special needs”/ disabled people; I’m also rather gadget happy. I’m also an active contributor to a couple of Free/Libre Open Source (FLOSS) projects.Obviously, my requirements for handset may be different than yours. I don’t travel much internationally or domestic US anymore, it’s just too tiring, and my recovery time has increased dramatically as I’ve aged… That’s just a fact of life.My primary requirement in a smartphone handset, especially the touch/gesture phones is that the handset be able to accommodate my widely varying capabilities with fine & hand/eye motor control. Secondary, but also important, is the speed of the carriers data network.I was never able to use the iPhone’s gesture keyboard with any level of practical facility. The rocker switches on some Blackberry models were problematic, but not impossible. I’ve never had substantial problem with any Palm/Handspring device, though I could never get the hang of Graffiti.I’m loving the Palm Pre. Today I woke up with noticeable tremors in my hands (this happens occasionally, just part of my life). Perfect opportunity to “field test” the Pre for accesibility; it’s passed with flying colors thus far.On the data network speed/coverage: Sprint is still the best in the US, and I’ve used all the public carriers, as well as some private/proprietary networks.I am a hardcore Apple fan girl since the mid-1980s. I’m an even bigger UNIX fan girl, again since the 80s. Apple +UNIX is the best combination for accesibility– until the iPhone.Just my .02.P.S. Disqus needs a “preview post” mode :)Just my .02

        1. fredwilson

          Then god bless palm. You made me feel good about them with this comment

          1. harpos_blues

            This handset is the sh–; for real. I am partcpating in three separate instant message conversations on different networks, while responding to your reply.

          2. Ben Thomas

            I agree. It’s a really neat device. You iPhoners are just p*ssed because there’s something out there that’s better. Neener Neener.

          3. fredwilson

            And what about us rimmers?

          4. fredwilson

            When they come up with a gsm version I can unlock, I’ll check it out. Sounds great

  18. paramendra

    A principled stand. 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      it’s a weakness of minei get very principled about certain things

      1. paramendra

        I see it as strength. Don’t let the fads get you.:-)

  19. yuvalararat

    I had no idea too. but this is the usual route to get a GSM phone, palm moved in that direction as it did with its first phone, it is easier to debug against just one country then with the whole world. later when they believe they are stable it will go to the GSM networks. it also prevents the early piracy and traffic of the devices to other countries.

    1. kenberger

      Well-explained: I was just about to write that. That’s exactly the path this platform and probably phone will go. And barring any major snafus (which can’t be ruled out given the company’s back-to-startup-level finances), could happen faster than iPhone’s or Google’s multi-carrier expansion plans (although some new GPhones are already trickling out).*Then* the jailbreak/unlock games can commence.

  20. kenberger

    Yep. Closed is the new… closed.Figured that’s where our discussion would go.An FPhone, this phone ain’t:

    1. fredwilson

      ah, the Fphone. i figured everyone had forgotten about that

  21. davidshore

    There’s no GSM radio on the Palm Pre, yet. But if history repeats, they’ll bring out a GSM version later.Palm did this with all the Treos in the past (which also had a touch screen and keyboard BTW). It used to drive me nuts because I would have to wait months for a new model to work with my carrier which I wont change, since they have grandfathered an unlimited voice and data plan for a flat fee since 2003. But the GSM and CDMA models are quite different, even in weight. I’ve always wondered why it took so long to release the models for the other radios and in the end this just gives RIM and Apple time to cover their new features.

  22. backpackzacattack

    Here’s the question – why is this phone useless to you? It’s a lot more useful to me than a T-mobile phone would be due to their lack of data coverage in the USA. It’s a lot more cost-effective from a business perspective than an AT&T phone due to the massive savings in data tariffs on the plans. If I had an Iphone on AT&T I would cancel and switch to sprint to use this phone due to the superior 3G coverage and more cost-effective plan options. Unless you are a global traveller that is regularly out of the USA it is irrelevant. The GSM version of the Pre is expected to come out next year. Locked vs unlocked has nothing to do with having an open development platform. It’s a linux-based phone catering to web-standards, arguably more so than the IPhone.

    1. fredwilson

      if its locked, its not open. that’s my opinion. i will not use a locked phone. period.

      1. Jauder Ho

        There is going to be a GSM version. At the very least there is a prototype running around.See

        1. fredwilson

          I’d be happy to use that

          1. Jauder Ho

            FWIW, I put down some first impressions and notes. help you decide. Personally, I held off the iPhone due to the lack of a keyboard and I’ve been a Treo user for many years and IMO this is a good attempt. There are obviously some rough edges and it remains to be seen how quickly they will iterate to fix things that come up. I think that will be key as well as the App Catalog in the long run.

          2. fredwilson


  23. Dan D

    Wouldn’t you consider most phone’s closed devices then? Isn’t the iphone still locked into a GSM network (for now at least). Do you feel the same way about it? Seems like its just a difference in the technologies used rather than a method of forcing people to use one carrier.

  24. juandissimo

    The pomegranate is still the only mobile I’ve seen in quite sometime that I’m really interested in.http://www.pomegranatephone

  25. Aaron Klein

    The lack of a SIM isn’t the problem. You’re just dealing with two different technologies. SIM cards are for GSM networks, which are run by ATT and T-Mobile.Verizon and Sprint run on CDMA, which use ESN and IMEI numbers to point phone numbers to the network. The last time I was with Verizon (admittedly a while ago), you could call them and give them any unlocked CDMA phone’s ESN and IMEI, and they would point your telephone number to ring that phone.So that being said, the Pre is identical to the iPhone. If a hacker jailbreaks and unlocks it, you just call Verizon and tell them the ESN/IMEI, and you’ve accomplished the same thing.I’m with you — on a BlackBerry Bold. I have a trip to Ethiopia coming up, bought a SIM card. Called ATT and they promptly unlocked the phone. Much happier being on a truly open platform without having to resort to jailbreaking.But the bottom line is that the iPhone and Pre are two peas in a pod re: openness.

    1. Vladimir Vukicevic

      I agree with you Aaron. Just because the iPhone is easier to jailbreak doesn’t make it any more open. The intent of the iPhone was to keep it closed, as was the intent of the Palm Pre.The Palm Pre is able to defend its intent in a better way because CDMA technology creates a greater wall of closed protection.I’ve worked in this field for a few years now and it’s pretty clear to everyone that one of the main reasons that the U.S. mobile market lags behind Asia and parts of Europe is because of the closed and protective nature of the mobile networks. The networks still maintain quite a bit of power – especially those networks that run on the CDMA technology. The networks are also very much tied to landline income still which creates internal conflicts of interest – which just slow down mobile innovation and openness even more.It’s basically a miracle that the iPhone has been able to do what it has in giving power to the consumer when it comes to mobile downloads – otherwise we’d still be surfing the Internet on slow mobile connections and downloading crappy apps via the likes of the AT&T Media Net.As far as the Palm Pre goes, it has a lot of other problems besides its closed nature – like being on the horribly perceived Sprint Network – something I recently wrote about – and which Palm needs to tackle before its fruit dies on the vine.

      1. Aaron Klein

        My perception of the Sprint network has actually been growing. They have some professional management now, have greatly improved customer service, and have invested a ton in the network. It remains to be seen if they can come back and be a viable competitor.

    2. fredwilson

      I know. But there is something about the sim card. No need to write down numbers or call anyone. The little things matter a lot

      1. Aaron Klein

        Not disagreeing with you, but Qualcomm (inventors of CDMA) would. And I just don’t know that it’s fair to stick the “closed” label on any device built for CDMA.You could have a completely unlocked CDMA device that runs on any CDMA network of your choice, and despite the lack of a SIM, it’s still more open than a GSM BlackBerry when you first take it out of the box (don’t know about you, but had to call AT&T to unlock mine).That being said, you’re dead right that the SIM is easier, and that’s why the world has gone to GSM. The Pre will come out for GSM networks soon, and it will still be a locked device with the same amount of openness as iPhone. The question is, will a hacker jailbreak it?

        1. Vladimir Vukicevic

          CDMA has traditionally been less open especially that up to now many CDMA phones have run on the terrible BREW software platform – which has served as an additional gate between application developers and the end consumers.As far as Sprint goes – I think that perceptions may be getting better but are still quite bad. I still associate the brand with terrible coverage and the strange iDEN-based Nextel system (with the walkie-talkie like usage). Sprint has a long way to go before it earns my trust and I think that hurts the Palm Pre’s chances of widespread success.

        2. fredwilson

          Yes, I’m certain of it

    1. fredwilson

      I saw it. Don’t care much if its true. They don’t have my bank account info

  26. Andrew Rhomberg

    O2 in the UK are launching the Palm PRE and it is a GSM phone, not a CMDA handset.Again the agreement between O2 and Palm is “exclusive”, just like the O2 agreement with Apple for the iPhone, but “unlocking” GSM phones is easy.Why are so many agreements exclusive?Manufacturers with a new phone like to receive a big buy commitment from a carrier, which they can only get, if the contract is exclusive. A carrier may guarantee to buy several millions of an exclusive phone. However, if it is non-exclusive they will only gurantee a few thousands to tens of thousands of units.Carphone Warehouse, which is a large independent European phone retailer and not a carrier, behaves the same way, so this is not carrier specific. In my experience with Best Buy and other big retailers on both sides of the Atlantic, the principle is universal for all types of hardware (phones, games consoles, consumer elctronics…..).

    1. fredwilson

      So we rely on hackers to beat this system. And beat it we will.

  27. Ben Thomas

    I’ve had a Palm Pre since Saturday. The thing that bugs me is the Google-dependence of the thing. Everything relies on Google, Facebook or Exchange, with the preference being on Google. I don’t love the idea of my entire life being Googlized including my contacts, phone calls, current location etc. As for the portability of the device, I can take it Verizon if I want. Big Deal. I just got OFF Verizon. I had a BB 8210 World Edition. Ugly things BB’s. Ugly. The problem with portability isn’t the technology – it’s this country’s mad obsession with locking everyone into their darned phone. Afraid of a little competition are we ?

    1. fredwilson

      No twitter love for the pre? Bummer

  28. rafer

    for anyone who was questioning the difference between how unlockable GSM and CDMA are, read this:

    1. fredwilson


  29. mbldev

    I have an additional perspective on all of this. The idea of the Palm WebOS is definitely innovative and interesting. But as a mobile developer I can tell you that I don’t think they will ever get enough momentum to really do much. Meaning that there are so many applications for windows mobile and other’s such as Java based apps and iPhone apps that they will likely get lost in the crowd. I have seen some of the best ideas never get off the ground. They came to market too late and with only so many developers they will just not get their attention at this point. So the issue of it being a closed solution or otherwise certainly doesn’t help the Pre, but in the end it won’t likely matter because of the above mentioned reasons and the hardware reviews have been horrible. If that isn’t enough, just go to the store and put one in your hand and you will understand the reviews.

    1. fredwilson

      You live and die these days by developer adoption. Great point

  30. kenberger

    *Sounds* great, in theory. So did the idea of the “CLEC” in the telecom world, which ensued to become a complete and utter disaster.

  31. fredwilson

    T-mobile is the closest. They support the iphone on their network, for example

  32. kenberger

    I remember ATT did a very brief publicity drive in Dec. 2007 about having an open network “welcoming” others’ devices on their networks right after Verizon had done the same, and around when Android was unveiled. Nothing had changed of course– the ability to SIM-swap is merely a fact of GSM that the rest of the world is accustomed to. And I can’t say they lied.I get to test a ton of oddball and beta demo GSM phones, and can’t remember when my T-mo sim worked but not my ATT at least for VOICE– for data, it can be more of a crap shoot to get the right provisioning with the right protocols and stacks and other irritating mysteries, but that can be very true hopping around GSM carriers around the world, not just the US ones.So I haven’t quite understood the perception that T-Mo USA is any more open than ATT. Maybe others have, and I’ll learn.