Palm Pre vs. iPhone 3GS vs. Windows Mobile 6.5

Well, here we are for the comparison of Industry’s best Smartphone Mobile platforms, iPhone with Palm Pre and Windows Mobile. (who cares about symbian?) We are not considering Android yet, in future, that will be included.

We will do a direct Feature to feature comparison between iPhone 3G S, Palm Pre and the Windows Phones powered with Windows Mobile 6.5 will help you decide who wins:

iPhone 3G S
(OS 3.1.2)
Palm Pre Windows Phones 6.5
Display Resolution 320×480 320×480 Up to 800×480 in some models
Processor 600Mhz 600Mhz 100 – 450Mhz (mostly)
Display Capacitive Capacitive Resistive
Accelerometer Yes Yes Yes
3G, GPS Yes Yes Yes
WiFi, MMS Yes Yes Yes
Cloud-Sync Service MobileMe Palm Profile My Phone
Applications Store App Store, Cydia, Icy App Catalog Marketplace for Mobile
Applications around 60,000 less than 200 20,000+
Multitasking No (jailbreak only) Yes Yes
Multi-touch Yes Yes No
OS Updates Yes Yes No
Camera 3 MP, AutoFocus 3 MP Up to 5 MP in some models
Video Recording Yes, with editing No Yes
Cut/Copy/Paste Yes Yes Yes
Physical Keyboard No Yes Yes
Virtual Keyboard Yes No Yes
Changeable Battery No Yes Yes
Storage Up to 32GB 8GB 16GB with expansion slot

Lets go and compare them feature by feature.

Inbuilt Search. The first feature people wondered about was the Pre’s “Universal search” function. This is a single search bar that allows keyword hunts in “web and user’s applications, contacts, and dialing information,” as well as web pages. iPhone 3.0 brings Spotlight, almost directly from OS X it seems, to the iPhone, with searching within Calendar items, iPod tracks, Notes, contacts, web pages, email headers (but not message bodies) and applications. This last is pretty powerful, since the Spotlight UI is accessed quickly by a gesture from the home page, letting you navigate to an App easily if you had, say, 100 apps installed. Lastly, Windows mobile has no search feature except for Contacts, mail that too not accessible from desktop in single click.

Multi-Tasking. What some call multitasking, Palm calls “multiple activities,” Apple calls it background-running apps. In the press event to announce the Pre, Palm splashed this feature as a direct snub at Apple–the current iPhone firmware forbids it. Even Apple’s “push notification” feature, a half-way house for background apps, was mentioned months ago, then disappeared totally. But iPhone 3.0 will bring push notifications, and Apple was careful to explain why there’s no background app-running: battery life. Apple’s said it had tested running background apps on BlackBerrys, Windows Mobile devices and so on, and in every case “stand-by time dropped by 80% or more.” That’s a deliberate snub right back at Palm, especially since Apple qualified it by saying an IM app running push only reduced the iPhone’s stand-by time by 23%. Though Jailbroken App “Backgrounder” actually run apps in background, but it’s not officially supported by iPhone. Coming to Windows Mobile, It can always run multiple programs simultaneously. The switching between applications is through standard menu. switching is pretty decent in speed.

Navigation. Palm’s Pre has full GPS navigation functions, with turn-by-turn directions. But it’s an extra, App from Sprint Navigation. The current iPhone specifically excludes turn-by-turn navigation, effectively shutting off full GPS functions. Firmware 3.0, however, does allow it, with a single condition: “bring your own maps.” That’s pretty much an open door for third party developers  to get in on the iPhone nav goodness. WM has large no. of good navigation softwares. You will see lots of applications it their market place that let you do turn-by-turn navigation.

Calendar and Syncing. The Pre uses Palm’s Synergy to link up Outlook, Google and even Facebook calendars to one location, whereas iPhone 2.0’s Calendar app is more than a little limited–you can’t even invite meeting requests from the phone. The new firmware 3.0 adds support for Exchange, CalDAV and .ics formats for subscribing to different calendars, and it’ll let you create meeting invitations. CalDAV is supported by Google Calendar, Yahoo Calendar beta and others, making it a now potentially fully-synchronized Calendar app. The WM 6.5 undoubtedly supports this one by default. The integration with Exchange is homegrown so pretty good.

Camera. The Pre has a 3-megapixel digital camera with an LED flash light  The iPhone’s 3-megapixels seems slick with Auto-Focus ( and Tap to focus). In WM you get wide range of hardwares to choose from. You can get cameras from 2-5MP over standard HTC devices.

Video Recording: With iPhone 3GS, official video recording comes to iPhone though it was possible with jailbreaking earlier too. Also, it exposes a good video editing and upload on the fly. Pre has no application yet to do a video record. It might be supported in future via firmware upgrade. All WM have inbuilt video recorder though the quality depends from vendor to vendor. And there is none that can edit videos in practical. Few will feature HD 720p recording too.

Bluetooth Stereo A2DP. The Pre, iPhone 3GS has A2DP (even iPhone 3G, iPhone 2G doesn’t).As far as WM is concerned, you get that in all the phones. Even the base models will have them.

Copy and Paste. The Pre has it and iPhone 2.0 doesn’t, but iPhone 3.0 has a fantastic copy-paste function that lets you copy text almost from anywhere to anywhere, and if you do soemthing wrong, it has a neat “shake to undo” trick.  WM has fair support of copy and paste though not as extensible as the one on iPhone 3.0.

On-Screen Keyboard: Palm Pre  doesnt have it and iPhone has industry’s best onscreen keyboard implementations. Auto-landscape make them slick and easy to use with bare finger. On WM, most on-screen keyboards are glitchy and tiny. They need stylus most of them and the result, low words per minute.

Hardware Keyboard: Here WM and Palm Pre are clear winners, both of them have Hardware keyboard. Since iPhone has fair on-screen keyboards, need of hardware platform is never felt that amplified.

Battery: Palm Pre has average battery life. iPhone 3G S promises to improve battery life over last iPhone 3G making it the best battery juice device. Again, WM environment is all dependent, but one of them gives better battery than 3G S.

Processor and Graphics: iPhone 3G S and Palm PRe use the same ARM cotex processor underclocked to 600Mhz though capable of 750Mhz. WM ranges from 100Mhz to 450Mhz, not as powerful as the former hardware platforms. Graphics wise, undoubtedly 3G S kicks out both Pre and WM 6 devices. 3G S’s support for OpenGL with accelearted graphics capability is designed for serious handheld gaming. Infact, it will pose a threat to PSP, Nintendo DS.

Applications: Windows mobile is fairly mature mobile platform with various no. of applications. But the recent last 2years buzz of iPhone has kicked every one out. It has whooping 60k+ applications to choose from (Jailbroken applications included). There is a lot utilities and apps to choose from. Palm Pre being new to the market with SDK just out, has very few applications, though scenario should change in the near future.

Gaming: Clearly iPhone 3GS > Palm Pre  >>> WM 6.5

While looking on the Youtube, I have found these little comparison videos between iPhone, Palm Pre and HTC Touch HD running Windows Mobile 6.5 which are worth checking out:

The Bottom line is that the competition between iPhone, Palm Pre, and Windows Phones is good for us the consumers as this is what keeps Apple, Palm, Google and Microsoft on their toes and on top of their game. The competition brings the best out of them and innovation is a virtue.

What is the best, is totally upto the kind of user we are targeting. A developer, power user might like iPhone than anything else. A business user with low app demands might choose WM. It’s all on the personal preference. If you are like me, I would rate iPhone 3GS as the best all rounder phone.

Sources: Redmonpie, precentral, iphoneblog,palm

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