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Palm Pre Versus iPhone for Real Estate, Because You Asked


What’s your flavor?

In my initial article on the Palm Pre, I had decided to take a more neutral approach and not make a particular suggestion as to which of the products was better and for several reasons which I’ll expain in my summary.

Let’s Dive in

First, let’s cover what both phones do equally under perfect circumstances:

  • Touchscreen
  • Make phone calls
  • Voicemail
  • Email

What I find to be a win in the Apple category:

  • Ergonomics – Treo users would appreciate the weight of it, although the iphone is lighter than a Treo, it has metal which let’s you know you’re holding something powerful.
  • Applications Galore!  The iphone has basically every application the imagination could dream up and publish.
  • Size of screen wins hands down if that’s important to you.
  • Cool factor – until last week, everyone drooled over the iphone as it really was a bar raiser.
  • Storage space for the price – 8gigs for $99 bucks.
  • You don’t have to have Sprint.

What I find a win in the Palm Pre category:

  • It’s built by Palm- they know their consumer, and they didn’t need to reinvent the phone to start that relationship.
  • Voice and text plans are just cheaper with Sprint.
  • Intuitive enough in the first release to get basic functionality like cut/paste and screenshots meaning that your experience on your Palm phone will more closely emulate your desktop or laptop experience.
  • A real keyboard.
  • You don’t have to have AT&T.
  • Built in navigation.
  • Run background applications (a big deal for multi-tasking).
  • Removable battery (critical to our business)- swap when needed.
  • Simple credit limitations compared to AT&T.

All in all

Palm will (in my opinion) win the hand held device race in the long run, but if you need apps and the cool factor now, iphone may be your way to go. Proof is in the “where’s the” factor. Like I said earlier, Palm knows its consumer.

I’m still disjointed over Apple’s exclusion of so many possible consumers when it gave exclusivity to AT&T.  I cannot tell you how fed up I am with Apple’s need to go proprietary from every start.  Equally, Sprint has it’s consumer issues as well, but soon, if I dislike Sprint, I can switch to Verizon and still use the equipment I’m accustomed to.

The one flaw in the Palm Pre is that it has the ergonomics of a very light weight bar of soap.  When I’m holding it, I’m nervous- it’s plastic, and it’s a slide phone, leaving you to wonder how soon will the plastics wear out.

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The one flaw I find with Apple is that if dropped it’s doomed- it may be metal on the bottom, but the top is as delicate as they come.

In summary

I’m not sure you go wrong either way, but in the end, I chose the Pre, and I chose Pre because I know Palm, and Palm knows me.
[cb type=”company”]palm[/cb]
[cb type=”company”]apple[/cb]

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network. Before AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation has received the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular offline events. He does not venture into the spotlight often, rather he believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits and develops, so he gives all credit to those he's empowered.



  1. Erion Shehaj

    June 24, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    This was as objective and thorough a comparison as humanly possible. A slight correction: The $99 iPhone does not record and edit video

  2. Benn Rosales

    June 24, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Amended, thanks Erion, these are never easy to actually draft, there’s so much info to capture.

  3. Jason Sandquist

    June 24, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    I have an iphone and it has changed my life 🙂 LOL

    I’ve done the treo, blackberry, nokia, et al. they work. There really is no excuse not to have a smartphone at this stage in the game.

    The only downside with the iphone is push notification (which should be coming) but I still check the email every few minutes anyways and besides, 1/2 second reply is just creepy.

  4. RealEstate Babble

    June 25, 2009 at 1:10 am

    AgentGenius: Palm Pre Versus iPhone for Real Estate, Because You Asked Full

  5. sheilabragg

    June 25, 2009 at 1:12 am

    Palm Pre Versus iPhone for Real Estate, Because You Asked: Don\’t be stingy with your thoughts- stop by and comm..

  6. Benn Rosales

    June 25, 2009 at 1:55 am

    RT @agentgenius NEW Palm Pre Versus iPhone for Real Estate, Because You Asked

  7. Real Estate Feeds

    June 25, 2009 at 2:41 am

    Palm Pre Versus iPhone for Real Estate, Because You Asked: Don\’t be stingy with your thoughts- stop by and comm..

  8. Alan May

    June 25, 2009 at 10:35 am

    I just purchased a PRE, upgrading from a Palm 700. I really wanted an i-phone, but am a sprint customer, so it’s unavailable to me… (that gripes my grapes too).

    Thus far, it’s just okay… a little more complex than my 700, and a little smaller (good and bad)… the keys are smaller, the type on my calendar is smaller…

    but the phone is very lightweight and fits easily into a pocket (not something the 700 did well).

    If the i-phone became available for Sprint tomorrow…I’d change in a flash… but for now… this is as close as I can get.

  9. Benn Rosales

    June 25, 2009 at 11:04 am

    heh gripes a grape, hadn’t heard that one yet.

    I think the important thing to remember about both tools is that one is a PDA by palm, iphone isn’t, it was built as a phone w/web which it does really really well, and then adapted as a PDA by applications hence the missing cut/paste initially etc…

    The problem for Apple now is that Pre essentially added web side in a pretty equal way to iphone and is by default a PDA, the balls is in Apples court now.

    Pre will only get better from a pretty high position, but will never have the wow factor of iphone because iphone beat them to mobile web.

  10. Jacob

    June 25, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Benn – I’ve been a palm addict since the devices weighed 15 pounds and were bigger than most televisions! And I have to say, I got my Pre 5 days ago and would marry it if that were legal!! For me, the multitasking is a game changer. Not only is the interface beautiful, the fact that I can go from email to MLS in the web browser to chat to phone to Google mapping all at once has probably tripled my productivity already. Not to mention, since I’m running my entire real estate life on Google Apps, the seamless integration of my contacts, calendars, email, etc has eliminated a lot of useless steps that needed to be taken before in order to keep everything in sync with my phone. And it literally took about 30 seconds to get all of that set up and syncing. Brilliant.

    I’m a little bummed that Palm eliminated the ability to add additional memory cards but I’m sure the next gen will be out before I get close to filling this baby up. I also wish they had released the developer toolkit prior to the phone release. I’m definitely missing some of the apps I had running on the Centro and you certainly can’t compete with the app situation on the iPhone right now. But all in all, you would have to kill me before you could pry this thing out of my hands!

  11. Benn Rosales

    June 25, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Jacob! Awesome breakdown, and I absolutely echo everything you’ve said!

    Here’s the scoop on the storage, we’re been coveted by the whole “buy the space for this price” model apple designed. Stemming from ipod initially, it was smart, because early adopters like you and I will end up buying the next model with more storage at a greater price, but damn 8gigs is a lot to me for a pda when you tke into account cloud computing.

    Apps will come, anti-apple dev folks have been waiting for this moment, and I pretty much think the race is on.

    The only problem I see is Palm is really counting on Pre to plug the leak to iphone, if Palm can realize some sturdy growth, I firmly believe it can win in the longrun.

  12. Jacob

    June 25, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Benn – Great point about Palm going right to Apple’s “buy this space” model since of course, dorks like you and I will just go ahead and buy the next gen anyway! But I do agree, 8 gigs should do the trick for quite awhile. Especially since I’m so happy with the Pandora app I haven’t even loaded any music on the device yet!

    Again, I do totally agree with you that the apps will come. The linux developers should be able to run absolutely wild on this thing and though I haven’t tried it yet, I believe there is already support for Flash apps in the OS which is something some of my iPhone friends have complained about for awhile.

    Though I will always be a Palm loyalist, all in all this definitely begins a battle of two very good devices and two hungry companies and that means nothing but more good stuff to come for people like us!

  13. Benn Rosales

    June 25, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Jacob, what do you say to those that still allow the mls ekey to hold back their advancement?

    Does it make sense to give up many tools for one function when you could separate the two and be free?

  14. Jacob Clayton

    June 25, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Benn – Great question and though I could go on about this topic for days, I’ll try to be brief. For me, there is such a complete separation between technology and my MLS that I rarely ever use them in the same sentence! In my market there is really no way to have one device do both. As you know, the ekey only works if the lockbox used is one of the newer ones with infrared and around here those are used less often than any other so I never even bothered to go with it on the Centro or my previous Palms. Most folks around here still use the REALLY old boxes that require you to insert the Supra key hardware into the box in order to open it and obviously that won’t work with any phone. The other majority use combo lockboxes of some sort and these range from Supra combo boxes to those you can pick up at your local hardware store. I definitely pressed my MLS on this early on since it seems there should minimally be a standard even if it’s a standard based on old technology. But so far it is what it is and I just keep the stupid display key in my bag or car until I need it. I don’t know how the MLS is run in other places but I would NEVER advise anyone in Massachusetts to tie their technological advances to the MLS unless they are beholden to decade old thinking. In which case they aren’t even engaging in this conversation anyway, right?

  15. Joe Loomer

    June 25, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    @Jacob – do you use and if so do they support the Pre?

    I’m a 755p guy right now, waiting on my anniversary date to upgrade to the Pre (yes, I’m with Sprint). This awesome post – and the intuitive comments – have sealed the deal for me.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  16. Jacob Clayton

    June 25, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    Hey Joe – I don’t use but your comment got me curious so I checked out their site. Turns out you’re not the only one wondering –

    And I’ll always have a place in my heart for the 755p but when that anniversary day comes around your whole world is gonna change my friend!

  17. Dale Chumbley

    June 26, 2009 at 5:53 am

    I’ve been a 700wx user for the last 2+ years. Yesterday I became a iPhone 3GS user. I initially thought I was going to prefer the Pre over the iPhone. Once I held, typed, used each of them I knew that the iPhone was the way to go.

    A couple of the show stoppers for me on the Pre were: I hated the rubberized keys (which bummed me out since I was really hoping to like the keyboard), I opened and closed the thing more than a dozen times and I felt like this was just asking for trouble, NO VIDEO, smaller screen, HAVING to type in portrait mode only since that is the only way the keyboard orients.

    The deal makers for me as an agent on the iPhone 3GS were: 3MB photos (these things really rock!), VIDEO that equals my FlipUltra that can be instantly uploaded to YouTube, apps that will allow me to build on the fly virtual tours of homes I’m showing, homes I’m previewing for a listing, apps, more apps… ;?)

    I’ve been with Verizon for longer than I can remember. I’ve held out switching up until now. This new 3GS pushed me over the edge and so far I’m quite happy. (Interesting note: My new AT&T plan is $50 per month cheaper than my old Verizon plan & I added two new lines to this one)

  18. Matt Stigliano

    June 26, 2009 at 10:10 am

    Benn – Nice breakdown. I’m using the iPhone and love it. I’ve never used any of the Palm phones, but did use the Pilot back in the day. I think Palm will perform nicely with this phone, but I do worry about the plastic and moving parts. Phones break down too easy these days (just ask my Blackberry). Of course, one good drop with my iPhone and I’m off to the store credit card in hand.

    I’ve never been for any of the exclusive nature of phones. I think it’s a bad move on the manufacturer’s part. Imagine the market share Apple could have built if it wasn’t just AT&T when they first came out. I think just based on buzz they could have put themselves in a position that would be hard to beat. I knew plenty of people who wanted one, but couldn’t get one because they were still locked into a contract with someone else.

    Speaking of which, do you ever think we’ll see the day when phone companies will pay you to dump your carrier much like we did in the long distance wars in the past? I think the first company to really bring this to the mass market and advertise it can crush the competition. I know some people have received special deals from some companies, but someone needs to just come right and say “we’ll buy you out of your old contract.” I think it would be a cell phone game changer.

  19. Alan May

    June 26, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    still using it… and have decided I’ll probably keep it. I love the “touchstone” technology and have ordered another one for home.

    i’m having a bit of a problem with my ham-sized fingers, and I end up hanging up on incoming calls, more often than answering them.

    give me a couple of weeks.

  20. John Michailidis

    June 28, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    I love my new Pre in a way that should not be applicable to an inanimate object 😉

  21. Matthew Hardy

    June 29, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    A device that many overlook is the iPod Touch, which in my opinion is one of best portable computers money can buy (second only to the iPhone). We have many customers who, for various reasons can’t or don’t want to buy and iPhone. The iPod Touch has wi-fi connectivity, Safari browser and Mail, etc. and runs the high-end relational database program “FM Touch”, a product we enthusiastically support.

  22. D. Patrick Lewis

    June 30, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    I have owned my Palm Pre for almost a month now and I would buy it again. The ease of use and the ability to live in the cloud as well as the multitasking is awesome. Need I also mention the touchstone charger?

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