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SEATTLE (AP) — When Apple Inc. launched an updated iPhone at its annual gathering of software developers last June, its biggest competitor was the iPhone that Apple had introduced the year before.
That won’t be the case at this year’s conference, which opens Monday. Now the next version of Apple’s touch-screen phone has to outdo a slew of rival gadgets — including one that comes out this weekend — that emulate or improve on some of the iPhone’s best features.

Much is riding on Apple’s ability to appear well ahead of its competitors. Apple’s shares have jumped 73 percent since March — even in the absence of revered CEO Steve Jobs, who is on medical leave — largely because of high expectations for the iPhone. Just two years after entering the fray, Apple enjoys a 19.5 percent share of the smart phone market, according to IDC, and investors are betting on a continued run of success.

“Apple, from a practical standpoint, has consistently tried to stay one to two years ahead of the competition on both the hardware and software levels,” said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies and longtime Apple analyst. – Read More


There are some tweets happening on the web that are coming from a mysterious new Twitter client called “Tweed”. The Twitter link directs to PivotalLabs, who also happen to be development partner for the Palm webOS platform.

It’s not clear if Tweed will be available on the Palm Pre or for purchase through App Catalog. We’re not including the link to the Twitter account to respect the privacy of this individual, but it certainly appears to us that Tweed will be the first ever Twitter app for webOS and the Palm Pre.

What are you looking for in the new Twitter app on the Palm Pre? Let us know in the comments.

Palm Pre CES interview with Ed Colligan; talks webOS, synergy

We immediately earmarked the Palm Pre as a serious threat to the iPhone when we saw it at CES in January.

Now those credentials will finally be put to the test, with the much-anticipated touchscreen smartphone released in the US this Saturday. Given Palm’s flagging fortunes and the strength of the smartphone market, the $299 Pre may be vital to the company’s survival.

The Pre wowed Las Vegas show-goers at CES in January, with features like its Synergy multitasking system drawing praise. Users can monitor multiple email and social networking accounts via their contacts list, rather than having to access each individually, only needing to log in once.

The Pre also allows switching between windows and programs without losing or saving information.

Other features

It also features a 3.1in touchscreen, slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and a 3MP camera plus Wi-Fi, and GPS. However, the 8GB storage capacity is limited compared to its rivals, especially considering the widely mooted new iPhone is expected to boast 32GB memory.

Apple is expected to reveal details of the new iPhone just two days after the Pre hits the shelves at its Worldwide Developer’s Conference in San Francisco.  – read more

itunes and palm pre

itunes and palm pre

ITunes 8.2 is out, accompanied by the usual cryptic release notes from Apple:

Version 8.2 now supports iPhone or iPod touch with the iPhone 3.0 Software Update and also includes many accessibility improvements and bug fixes.

Thanks, Apple. What it doesn’t say is “Version 8.2 breaks compatibility with competitor’s cellphones which pretend to be iPods.” Like, say, the Palm Pre.

We have absolutely no evidence that this update will stop the Pre “synchroniz[ing] seamlessly with iTunes”, but that isn’t the point. The fact is that it could break compatibility. This is fine in a free, third party hack, but Palm is a proper, grown up company which promises this syncing functionality as a feature of its new hardware. Let me ask you something: If you owned a Pre, how would you feel about iTunes updates? Would you hold off, just in case it broke things? Would you go ahead, but call up Palm when things go wrong? – read more

palm-pre grid

palm-pre grid

An early Palm Pre review today suggests Palm has mostly achieved its goal with its device but that hardware may be the limitation. Using a phone that may have pre-production firmware, BGR says webOS is a “great” first start and particularly praises the web browser, which is particularly quick and stable. The examination also compliments the quality of the multi-touch screen and notes that it’s.

Palm Pre - Functions

Palm Pre - Functions

Regarding the Pre iTunes sync, Palm’s Jon Rubinstein said that the device will merely be “pulling” DRM-free iTunes content out of iTunes – thereby implying that the CDs and iTunes Plus content will be ripped by the users themselves.

How Apple would react to the Pre’s apparent infringement of its monopoly is anybody’s guess! Apple might go in for breach of patent suit; or decide to play dirty, with the modus operandi of stopping the Pre in its tracks; or perhaps simply ignore it with magnanimity; or else come up with an iTunes update at the earliest!

Meanwhile, referring to Pre’s Twitter affiliation, Rubinstein said that Twitter can be considered a rightful part of the universal search feature. And, about the GSM-friendly version of the Pre for Europe, Rubinstein reiterated that it would be made available “in a few months.”

The Palm Pre finally has a confirmed US launch date and price tag attached to it. Apple iPhone killer or complete flop – we’ll finally see what the hype is all about.

New Palm Pre

New Palm Pre

Keeping their promise of a “first half of 2009” launch date, Sprint and Palm announced that the long-awaited Pre will arrive in shops on June 6 for $200 (about £130) with a two-year contract. The phone will be sold in the US at Sprint, Best Buy, Radio Shack and some Wal-Mart outlets.

It’s been a long and slightly frustrating journey, however. At CES, hands-on time was heavily restricted with the Pre, which was baffling. Sure, the Pre’s ergonomic hardware looks sexy and its webOS software seems mighty efficient, but how can we judge without actually touching the thing? Then there were the numerous “leaked” launch date rumours and Sprint and Palm’s refusal to comment on any of them – these leaks are beginning to feel de-rigeur for any high-profile product launch.

Sprint and Palm’s overprotectiveness, combined with their tight-lipped stance on pricing and availability has raised some suspicions – including my own – about whether the CES announcement was a bit, well premature (pun intended). It isn’t a question of whether the world is ready for the Pre, but vice versa. Do Palm and Sprint know what they’re doing?

The decision to launch the Pre just two days before Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference is risky, but understandable. Clearly, it will distract from the chatter about Apple’s third-generation iPhone software and hardware. Much is known about the iPhone OS 3.0 software by now, but nothing concrete is known about the hardware. Apple may announce the third-generation iPhone hardware at WWDC.

The pro here is that the Pre launch could overshadow whatever Apple has up its sleeve. But it could also delay launch day sales, as consumers may hold off on buying a Pre until Apple’s announcement. One has to wonder, too, whether Palm and Sprint felt rushed to make this date. It would be a huge letdown if the Pre’s debut was marred by firmware bugs like the initial release of the RIM BlackBerry Storm.

I have high hopes, though, as both a journalist and a consumer. The iPhone and BlackBerry-centric smartphone world desperately needs to be shaken up. Google Android isn’t quite there yet, but I think the Pre (and the subsequent webOS devices) has what it takes. And despite my limited hands-on time, I can’t forget the silky operation of webOS. From the deck of cards model for managing multitasking to the Synergy email and IM interfaces, webOS might be one of the best-designed, user-friendly smartphone platforms out there. June 6 can’t come fast enough.