The Palm Pre has been turning heads ever since it was announced a few months ago. The industry knew, not only did the iPhone need a solid competitor, but Palm, a very historic tech company, needed to pull something amazing or they would be lost in the dust.
Long before the introduction of the iPhone, palm created the Palm Pilot 1000 in 1996. The following decade Palm would basically own the mobile device industry, as they gobbled up other companies including Handspring. The devices were a hit among business-people, mothers, and even children. The use of the devices however were different than the uses today.
The original idea of a "Palm Pilot" was a PDA or Personal Digital Assistant. Generally things such as calendars, lists, notes and other programs were used on the devices. Soon enough, Palm was building a powerful mobile smartphone fan-base, but the devices were still so... 1996?
In 2001, Apple launch the iPod. At the time, the device had one purpose, and one purpose alone: To play music! People flocked to the device and it quickly became the strong owner of the portable music industry, all but killing alternatives to the MP3 player such as the MiniDisk. Soon apple would add photos, podcasts, and videos to the devices.
Continuing with innovation, in 2007 Apple announced the iPhone which did everything the iPod did, and more.. better. In fact, it's redesign led to a non-phone model, quickly steering more into the original Palm realm. These new devices would do everything a Palm device did.. except much prettier and without a stylus!
Now lets step back for a moment. The iPod. A Music device. The Palm Pilot. A Personal Data Assistant.
As Palm gets set to release their new device, we are told the iPhone will receive a strong run for it's money. That's great and all... 2 devices, now you get to choose, right? Well of course phone companies won't play fair and they still demand exclusivity for a device, so in reality you may have to change service to get the device you would like, but that's a debate for another day.
Apple just announced a huge batch of updates that bring the iPhone almost to par with what we expect from the Pre. However, will the Pre be a replacement for your iPod? Since, of course, this is where the iPhone came from and is not truely a palm "thing."
Competition leads to innovation, on the part of both of these companies. Only time will tell what will be the case.