Palm Pre Teardown

June 6, 2009 Hardware, Site News — Kyle Wiens

We took apart the Palm Pre. Here are our first impressions:

  • We love the feel of holding the Pre in our hands. In its closed position, it feels much more comfortable to hold than the iPhone.
  • Palm’s new WebOS software is impressively smooth! We love how natural it feels to swipe between applications and multitask with Web, Twitter, AIM, and Pandora.
  • Users preferring physical keyboards will be satisfied, but iPhone veterans may be left disappointed at the lack of a software keyboard option.
  • Revealing the keyboard feels awkward and interrupts the smooth WebOS experience. Try before you buy, because this keyboard could be enough to deter picky users.
  • Some parts of the software feel rushed. For example, the app store describes the price of free apps as “$Try now.” It looks like an overeager programmer hardcoded that dollar sign. While certainly not a showstopper, we hope Palm gets a chance to tidy up the little things like this soon.
  • We were the first in line for the Pre. Definitely not as much initial hype as when the iPhone was released.
  • We tested out Sprint’s 3G EVDO network on the road home and didn’t notice any interruptions. Uploads and downloads were fast, and Pandora’s application ran like a champ.
  • A prepaid plastic recycling envelope is included in the box, making it easy to recycle your newly obsolete phone.
  • The Pre is “Inspired by and designed in California,” while the iPhone is merely “Designed by Apple in California.”
  • The Pre’s battery capacity is 1150 mAh, exactly the same as the iPhone 3G, though the Pre is reported to have slightly worse battery life due to its background process capability. The battery is user-replaceable, something the iPhone lacks severely.
  • The Palm Pre is the first phone using Texas Instrument’s new OMAP3 (Open Media Applications Processor) platform.
  • The processor is a 600 MHz ARM Cortex A8 + PowerVR SGX 530 GPU + 430MHz C64x+ DSP + ISP (Image Signal Processor)
  • The Pre is definitely not an easy phone to service. There are lots of fragile and tricky tabs that will make putting the phone back together challenging.
  • Users preferring physical keyboards will be satisfied, but iPhone veterans may be left disappointed at the lack of a software keyboard option.
  • The Pre is definitely thicker compared to the iPhone (17mm vs 12mm). Not only does this allow the engineers more flexibility in designing the physical layout of components, but it also makes the Pre conform really well to our palm.

We’ll post more notes on the hardware soon.

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