Why The Palm Pre Will be Better Than The iPhone, And Why It Will Never Beat The iPhone

March 27, 2009

Since the appearance of the iPhone, there has been an endless slew of iPhone imitators. The phrase “iPhone killer” was coined, a true testament to the power of the iPhone. None of those phones have come close to beating the iPhone for a variety of reasons, mostly because they were simply inferior devices. There is an upcoming contender however, the Palm Pre, which looks to be even better than the iPhone. Let me boil it down to a couple of points here.

The Hardware

  • It has a qwerty keyboard. Though this doesn’t differentiate the Pre from the various other iPhone competitors, it is a major selling point, and something that makes it superior to the iPhone.
  • It has  removable battery. That’s right, you won’t have to go back to the store to get your phone physically worked on just because the battery is getting old.
  • The “Touchstone”. Put simply, this is the first commercial use of wireless charging I’ve ever seen. You place your Pre on the Touchstone, where it sticks thanks to magnets. The phone is then charged wirelessly through the surface. Pretty cool
  • “The Gesture Area”. The bottom part of the phone is a black surface which essentially acts as the multitouch mousepad for your phone. While the screen itself is still a fully responsive touchscreen (supposedly moreso than the iPhone’s), the gesture area allows you to control just about everything with one hand. This is especially helpful when dealing with things at the top of the screen.

The Software

  • The Pre’s webOS is “absurdly slick”, performing zooms, transitions and fades with zero lag or stutter.
  • All applications can be open and running simultaneously. You’ll never have that slowdown when switching between applications because the Pre is fully capable of running them all at once.
  • “Cards”. When you want to switch applications, the interface zooms out to a deck of “cards”. Unlike the iPhone, these aren’t just thumbnail snapshots of the application, these are actually fully interactive live applications which can be individually flipped and manipulated.

  • Content Aggregation. The Pre uses their “synergy” software to basically compile your contact information from a number of sources. It can recognize and grab all the contact information about the same person from sources like facebook, gmail, and outlook, combining them into an infostack for that person. It does all this while cutting out any duplicate information. If this technology works they way they say it does, you’ll never have to enter any new contact information into your phone.
  • They use this same aggregation technology to pool instant messaging programs together. You can have a consistently threaded conversation which moves through sms, aim, gtalk and plenty of other services.
  • Universal search. The Pre has a search function which will initially search through all your applications, and if it doesn’t find anything there based on your terms, will sift through default sites like Google and Wikipedia.
  • Supereasy App Development. All of the applications for the Pre will be coded in CSS, XML, and Javascript, making it possible for anyone who knows their way around coding to develop applications. Palm is also giving developers access to all the application layers, so apps can integrate with things like calling, custom content, and notifications.

Why It Won’t Win

So as far as the technology goes, it looks to me that the Pre is the first legitimate challenger to the iPhone. It has an answer to all the iPhone’s key selling points, and it has a few new selling points of its own. But unfortunately, the Pre is not going to “beat” the iPhone. It doesn’t matter if it’s a technically superior device. The iPhone will not be taken down by a single competing device because the iPhone is a part of Apple. This is the genius of Apple. They’ve created an impenetrable “Apple Universe.” There’s iTunes, the premier online music service, which works only with iPods and the iPhone. ITunes, iPods, and iPhones are all designed to integrate wonderfully with Mac computers. If you wanted to, you could rent a movie exclusively from iTunes, then stream it exclusively through your Apple Tv, directly to your television set. Or your Apple Cinema Display. Almost all of these products are exclusive to Apple, and they allow for very little competitor penetration.

The second, and equally powerful weapon Apple has under its belt is its chic factor. Apple products are constantly growing in popularity because they’ve established themself as the “cool” technology company. You’ve seen the “Buy a mac” ads with Justin Long and John Hodgman. Mac’s are cool and young while PC’s are outdated and boring. A macbook is the cool laptop to be carrying around, and the iPhone is an equally cool device. The Palm Pre could be better in every respect on paper, but it could never beat the iPhone. The Pre is just a phone, the iPhone is a whole company.





Cool Internet Tools

March 25, 2009



The image above is the result of a cool new internet tool when applied to our blog. Wordle.net uses either inputted text or a quick site analysis to create an awesome visual representation of your site’s keywords. Each visualization is fully customizable, allowing you to change colors, fonts, layout, and more. Though there are plenty of wordcloud widgets out there (WordPress has a few itself) Wordle by far presents the most visually appealing wordcloud I’ve ever seen. Here’s the description from their site.

“Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.”

Cutting Edge Technology: The Sixth Sense

March 23, 2009

In the 80’s, the idea of “virtual reality” was all the rage. Virtual reality was supposed to be a simulated version of the real world, or an imaginary one, which one could experience as if it were reality. With an innovative combination of existing technologies, Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry have created a way to project your computer onto reality. Here we have the ultimate portable computer, and an interesting look at an extreme direction technology could be going. Every day the internet and personal computers are getting more ingrained in our day to day lives. The ubiquity of smart-phones and the emergence of ultra-portable laptops is only the beginning.

Description:This demo — from Pattie Maes’ lab at MIT, spearheaded by Pranav Mistry — was the buzz of TED. It’s a wearable device with a projector that paves the way for profound interaction with our environment. Imagine “Minority Report” and then some.

Simpler Cheap Gadgets

March 20, 2009

Why is the success of smaller, cheaper, easier-to-use devices upon us?

Simple: we are generally all short of time, money and patience!

Witness the success of the Netbook Computer which is now outselling laptops worldwide. The Netbook grew out of the desire to provide inexpensive computers to poor nations. the original goal was to hit a $100 price point. Flash forward and with the advent of the Intel Atom Processor, these little 6 x 10 inch computers travel light and let you do most executive and Internet tasks with ease and cost only $300 to $400. I love my HP mini because it comes with an almost full size keyboard and great screen.

Also, I recently needed to replace my broken older generation Video Cam for family videos, etc. In this economy, why spend $600 to $1000 for any device? The pictured Flip Video is incredibly cool and simple. It records 60 minutes onto its built in Flash memory, then flips out a USB plug to go right into your PC forupload to your favorite sharing sites all for $125. I love it! Simple – Cheap – Easy.

New, Cool, and Useful Sites

March 20, 2009

Cutting Costs the Internet Way

Skype – the Video Phone finally arrives. I saw the original at the 1965 Worlds Fair GE Pavilion. Only took 40 years to get here. We now speak with our employees, customers, family and friends free and quality exceeds my landline!

AskSunday – get a real(human being) personal assistant for $40 per month. Delegate all those little tasks!

Speed Up Your PC/Laptop – why do our machines get slower and slower? Because Windows and other programs generate tons of unnecessary files – “Digital Plaque.” CCleaner automatically get rid of all that junk and hence speeds up your computer.

Just Amazing:
Siftables – the new face of computing.

Got an Idea?:
Ponoko – have somebody make it for you!

Keep It Short:
Bit.ly – shorten and track URLs(Internet Addresses) when you include them in your Emails and other communications.

Pathfinder Newsletter

March 20, 2009

Twitter Your Way To Success

As I said last month, I still strongly believe we are entering the greatest period of opportunity in our lifetimes this year. This month begins a series on how to take advantage of it.As I said last month, I still strongly believe we are entering the greatest period of opportunity in our lifetimes this year. This month begins a series on how to take advantage of it.

As background, you have to understand that there is a new tsunami of Internet activity unlike any I have seen since I began this business in 1995. What is it and where does it come from?

Social Interaction is driving everything! Sites from Match.com to Facebook are drawng the most activity. The real power of these sites and the category killers like Google and Ebay are when the technology enables something that never happened before. We call that the ‘Digital Advantage.’ For example, Ebay brought a worldwide audience to see and buy that old piece of junk(or in my case kitchen cabinets for $1500) that you were going to throw in the garbage anyway.

So what’s the new Killer Application of Social Interaction? It my opinion, it’s Twitter.com It allows thousand/millions of people worldwide to converse globally instantly in short – max. 140 character bursts. It starts with some of that original early Internet feeling of you help me, I’ll help you but morphs into much more. The paragigm is different. It pushes you to be more creative and more observant.

OK that’s nice, but how do I make money? At first, it’s not obvious, because it looks like people are just chatting away, but here are some more direct examples:

  1. Frequent reference to and mention of your web site – GoodEater
  2. A Backgound that pitches you – DanTanner
  3. Large Number of Followers. This company makes 90% of its Sales from Twitter! Boxee
  4. A great Video from The Founder: Evan’s Video

Want to find out more about how to make this work for you…

Call me – let’s talk about it.

Oh and do sign up and Follow Me…You’ll see the commercial strategy evolve for us at Twitter over the next few weeks: My Twitter

Here’s a good ‘How to Get Started’ from my friend Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos: START

The Internet Evolution Revolution

March 19, 2009

Let’s take a moment to discuss evolution. In a very real sense, the evolution we experience today is entirely different than that which is taught in Biology textbooks. Evolution itself is telescoping. Originally we experienced physical evolution which took effect over huge spans of time. However as humanity has eliminated most physical threats and technology has become preeminent in our lives, the face of human evolution has changed drastically. Our culture is experiencing generational social evolution at an unprecedented rate. This evolution can be tracked along a series of major inventions all the way back to the Industrial Revolution. The cotton gin transformed agriculture. Around 50 years later, mechanization completely redefined industry and production. Another 50-70 years later, the invention of the radio changed the American family dynamic – something which was changed even further by the television in another 20 or 30 years. All these inventions were huge catalysts of social and cultural change, not to mention other equally important inventions, like that of the light bulb, or the motion picture, the telephone, the railroad, the car, or the airplane.

For reference I’ve attached an article from the wall street journal which contains an incredibly information dense graph cataloguing the consumer penetration of technologies since 1920. http://www.karlhartig.com/chart/techhouse.pdf

If you take a look at the right side of the graph, you’ll see much smaller gaps of time between the inclusions of new technologies into the lives of consumers. This technological inundation is the boon of the “Information Age”, the designation given to the social evolution of the past 30 years. The Information Age was created as a result of, and continues to be defined by the advent of the biggest modern technological catalyst this generation, the personal computer. First we saw the generation who invented the computer, who never quite acclimated to its existence in their everyday lives. Now, the generation which was born with the computer already in place is rising into adulthood. This is the generation that can type with more than its index fingers. As President Obama technologically overhauls the Whitehouse, all with his Blackberry close at hand, we see how this new technology is finally recognized as the major social revolution that it is. The Whitehouse seems to be the final building in America to accept the Internet: ironic that the minds in the United States military were the ones to invent it.

To a new generation, computers and the Internet are like a sixth sense, a way of taking in tremendous amounts of information to be processed later, or not at all. In its original iterations, the Internet was a mode of communication, and soon was seen as the new frontier for business. In a way, the Internet is the ultimate form of transportation. Where the automobile and the steamboat and the airplane globalized the world, bringing people and industries closer together, the internet brings them face to face. It only makes sense that our first inclination was to use this new technology to try to sell to one another. However the user-base and therefore the function of the internet are changing again. The Internet is becoming a social, rather than consumer tool. This began with forums and boards for social discourse and evolved into the social websites we see today, most notably Facebook, and lesser so, Myspace. Sites like Twitter, which are just now gaining the publics interest, are simply new modes of public expression. I recently was in an Apple Store and overheard a conversation between a salesman and a girl looking to buy a laptop. He asked her, “Well, what do you usually use your computer for?” To which she answered, “Facebook” This is pretty representative of a large contingent of Internet users. To them, the Internet is almost entirely a social tool, otherwise useful for occasional surfing, watching a few videos, and maybe buying a thing or two when necessary. This is the “new Internet”.

So the question facing any person running a business is how to take advantage of this “new Internet”. Throughout history, as all new technologies emerge, technologies which become major parts of the social consciousness, those who take advantage of those technologies in the correct way are usually enormously successful. This is mostly because the new technology gives them access to a market to which they and their competitors had never before had access. For the most part, many have missed the very early stages of the Internet. As is inherent with the information age, the plane of the Internet has transformed extremely rapidly, and continues to transform. You may have missed the opportunity to start sites like Google, Amazon, and EBay. But people are still finding new ways to use the Internet, to reach the newest generation. Pathfinder, as an Internet consulting group, essentially seeks ways to allow a company, your company, to reach its audience while keeping pace with the changing face of the Internet. We seek to stay ahead of the curve, discovering new technologies and ideas and employing them in an attempt to keep our clients on the forefront of this social revolution. We help our clients sell to their customers using the multifaceted tools of the Internet. It’s not enough to just have a website anymore. Pathfinder Consulting will help you become a part of the “new Internet”, and by doing so, you’ll have a chance to reach the millions of consumers who live through the Internet. Society, technology, and the world are in a constant state of flux, they are ever-evolving. Pathfinder can be your key to this changing world. Evolve with us.

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