Allow me to join the throng of people punching the air with delight on the news of Palms upcoming return. I was a loyal Pilot and Vx user long before I got the mobile bug, and still have happy memories of the platform... and as it happened, the very first project that FP delivered was a native Palm application. The Palm story is one of my favourites, too: a small team (7 people I believe), laser-like focus on user experience, delivering a great product that went against conventional wisdom of the time: remember that handhelds post-Newton and post-Go were considered tried-and-failed. Check out Designing Interactions for a good couple of interviews with Hawkins and Haitani.
So, the Pre interests me for lots of personal reasons, let alone fact that it's demonstrably possible, post-iPhone, for someone to launch an entirely new platform and put a new and strong-looking competitor into the market. Sure, a new platform - particularly a decent one - once more exaggerates the problems of fragmentation that plague mobile, but it seems churlish to complain about a device that seems to deliver fresh thinking, decently executed.
So, some links and commentary:
- Video of a couple of walkthroughs, universal search, a hardware hands-on, "Synergy" (unified messaging and multitasking), WebOS UI (love the gestural stuff there), and the first presentation and demo
- A hands-on review with lots of photos;
- Initial pricing appears to be low - $149?
- Palm are "definitely interesting", "simply amazing", and have "made a splash"
- Palm WebOS won't be backwards compatible, but really, who cares?
- The developer site already talks of an application framework built on web technologies, deep handset integration via JSON, and the now-obligatory on-device application store (though not with games as a priority, apparently).
And is it my imagination, or is the name Pre, and much of the marketing going along with it, a weird homage to Jeff Hawkins' (founder of Palm v1) theories on the predictive nature of our brains?