The Smart Phone wars are about to kick into high gear with Sprint's introduction of its "iPhone killer," the Palm Pre.
The Pre is exclusive for Sprint and goes on sale Saturday (6/6) for $199.99 with a two-year service agreement. You can buy the Pre at any Sprint store as well as Best Buy, Radio Shack and select Wal-Marts.
Several media reports claim that Apple's response will come Monday when it is expected to announce either a $149 or $99 iPhone, down from the current $199 8-gigabyte model.
Apple is also expected to release a new iPhone this summer as well as a new iPhone operating system that will work with existing phones.
Most smart phone companies may be playing a little catch up with the Pre.
The Pre runs on the new Palm webOS mobile operating system and features a drop-down QWERTY keyboard, unlike the totally touch screen iPhone.
Sprint also promises to deliver a phone that is equally at home handling your business or your casual conversations and usage needs.
“The argument that you need one phone for work and another phone for play, or that you have to make compromises between business and lifestyle productivity, is over,” said Dan Hesse, president and CEO of Sprint. “With Pre, compromises of the past are history.”
I can't say if that's true, but what is true is how you can save nearly $1,500 annually over two years with Sprint's simply everything plan at $99.99 per month versus plans costing nearly $50 more from AT&T and Verizon for smart phones.
The good news for consumers is that AT&T, which exclusively sells iPhone, and Verizon, which has the best network in the country, may lower prices to compete with the new product, which packs a big technological punch.
"The Pre's dynamic 'activity cards' approach to handling and navigating multiple applications is a great advance, but the core breakthrough is the integration of information across multiple applications on and off the phone," said Andy Castonguay, director of Mobile & Access Devices Research, Yankee Group. "With social networking and messaging being so important to consumers, the device’s new ‘Palm Synergy’ functionality – which gives Pre the ability to automatically pull friends' contact details, messaging addresses and personal calendars from different applications online and on the phone – will greatly simplify people's ability to communicate with their friends and colleagues the way they want."
A key feature of the Pre is "Palm Synergy," a feature that brings together your personal and professional calendar, contacts and e-mail into one centralized view, making transitions between work and personal life smooth and easy to manage.
For example, if you have the same contact listed in your Outlook, Google and Facebook accounts, Synergy recognizes that they’re the same person and links the information, presenting it to you as one listing.
Layered calendars allows you to view work and personal calendars can be seen on their own or layered together in a single view. Combined messaging lets you see all your conversations with the same person in a chat-style view, even if it started in IM and you want to reply with text messaging. You can also see who’s active in a buddy list right from contacts or e-mail, and start a new conversation with just one touch.