AT&T Gears Up for Palm Pre vs. iPhone Battle

Palm has yet to announce a launch date for its much-anticipated Pre smart phone, but the blogosphere rumor mill is expecting a mid-May debut. If true, Palm's competitors are running out of time to develop counterattack strategies to persuade current and potential customers that the Pre isn't all that.

They better hurry because the Pre is bound to get oodles of free publicly upon launch, particularly if it turns out to be the iPhone killer that some industry watchers predict it will be.

It appears that AT&T Wireless, the exclusive U.S. carrier for the iPhone, isn't taking the Pre lightly. According to a report by Dieter Bohn of PreCentral.net, AT&T has sent an internal document to its employees that is essentially a pro-iPhone, anti-Pre cheat sheet. According to the document, the iPhone's advantages include:

* A metal and glass design (vs. the Pre's plastic casing)

* A slight larger screen (3.5 inches vs. the Pre's 3.1-inch display)

* Over 25,000 apps (vs. the Pre's "unproven" app store)

* Patented Multi-Touch screen (the Pre's touch screen controls are "not intuitive")

* It works overseas (the Pre lacks GSM capability and isn't a world phone)

Some good points, certainly, if a bit nit-picky in places. I doubt that many users will see a dramatic difference between the iPhone and Pre screen sizes, and it's too early to knock the intuitiveness of the Pre's touch screen-at least until we've all had a chance to check it out. Besides, the Pre has advantages of its own, including a slide-up keyboard (but no touch-screen keyboard), a removable battery, and a slight smaller size.

While the Palm Pre may not be an iPhone killer, it's certainly shaping up to be a strong challenger. The next-gen iPhone, which could arrive as early as a month after the Pre launch, will make these head-to-head comparisons even more intriguing.

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