Long awaited Palm Pre is here?

The long awaited Palm Pre is now available exclusively with O2 in the UK. It was worth waiting for as not only has Palm delivered a device that instantly gives the iPhone a size complex, they’ve also built an entire OS – from scratch – that kicks ass.

Small & almost perfectly formed

Open the box and there’s your Pre, looking sleek, shiny and solid. And very, very black. You’ll also notice that it’s small. Just 59x100x17mm, to be exact. Any nearby iPhoneophile is going to quickly inform you the 3.1-inch touchscreen is smaller than theirs. Punch them. Hard. Now tell them your Pre delivers the exact same 320x480 display as an iPhone, and that the 0.4inch difference is negligible. Then punch them again. Just for good measure.

Multiple apps, tons of flicking

Slide up the fascia, fire up your Pre and its greatest feature is there before you: webOS. Palm built this operating system from the ground up and it is, without argument, brilliant. Each phone function can be minimised to a floating card while you explore another function, so you can multitask with the calendar, several apps (Palm has its own limited app store), documents… even calls. The iPhone? Can’t do that. When you want rid of a card, just flick your finger up on the touchscreen (which steals all Apple’s pinch zoom and rotate tricks) to send it away. Trust us. It’s cool. There’s all the usual gubbins here as well: it’s 3G, there’s WiFi, Bluetooth – the works.

Now the rest

The QWERTY keyboard is small and compact, the camera is an 3.2MP, the 8GB memory isn’t expandable but gives enough memory for all you would need.  Although with all the multitasking the battery needs watching the one upside to this is the “Touchstone”: it’s a conductive charging dock (no wires into the phone) which you pop the Pre on and leave be. . Also, Apple is being rather mean and coding iTunes updates to ignore the Pre, which leaves a question mark over synching your music although Palm equally is releasing updates to counter this. It’s cutthroat out there. So, face facts: the Palm Pre may not kill the iPhone, but it’ll certainly shuffle alongside on the top spot.

The Palm Pre is exclusive to O2, free on an 24 month contract. Other contracts available. See www.o2.co.uk