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AT&T staff told to attack Palm Pre in memo

updated 02:05 pm EDT, Wed April 22, 2009

ATT iPhone vs Palm Points

AT&T is handing out a memo to sales staff that encourages them to counter the Palm Pre with a set of pre-made talking points promoting the iPhone. The note slipped through PreCentral points to objective data, such as the Pre's lack of music sync software, the absence of a 16GB version, and its inability to roam outside of North America. However, it also makes more questionable arguments, claiming that the multi-touch aware webOS is "not intuitive," that the App Catalog is "unproven," and that the iPhone is mostly metal and glass where the Pre is plastic.

In our experience previewing the Pre at CTIA, the phone has many of the same gestures as the iPhone, including pinching to zoom photos and websites. It also has a gesture area that allows for tasks that aren't possible on current iPhones, such as multitasking and navigating forward or backward through app views without on-screen buttons. Palm hasn't described how many apps it plans to carry on launch but intends to have looser conditions than on the iPhone's App Store. In hardware design, the iPhone uses an almost exclusively plastic back.

However legitimate, the talking points allude to a rare concern at AT&T about a perceived challenger that wasn't evident with the launch of the BlackBerry Storm at Verizon in November. The Pre is the only non-iPhone handset to have a true multi-touch interface and will also have both own app store as well as over-the-air music purchases through Amazon MP3.

by MacNN Staff



  1. slider

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No Surprise

    I remember reading a similar bit from Verizon regarding the iPhone. What that told me was that Verizon saw the iPhone as a treat then - so to follow that same logic, AT&T probably sees the Pre as a treat. The question is, does it perceive it as a treat to their iPhone market or rather to their sub-smart phone market (the cheaper models). If the cost of the Pre is what I remember seeing it as (similar to the iPhone then I'd guess the former). Of course, this could just be SOP for any potentially popular phone not carried by the company. I would expect no less.

  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I can deal with that...

    Trash-talk your competitors in order to earn sales. Isn't that the American way. All the politicians do it
    1. Background processing runs the battery down.
    2. Keys fall out after long-term use.
    3. Palm and Sprint are almost bankrupt.
    4. 60,000 native iPhone apps to nearly 0 native Pre apps.

    Good luck, Palm. You won't have a pot to piss in.

  1. carloblackmore

    Joined: Dec 1969


    plastic and UI

    While the Pre indeed has more plastic than the iPhone 3G; the biggest cosmetic change for the iPhone was the change from metal to plastic for the entire backside. So it seems like a weak argument - UNLESS this argument in the AT

  1. carloblackmore

    Joined: Dec 1969


    plastic and UI (cont.)

    While the Pre indeed has more plastic than the iPhone 3G; the biggest cosmetic change for the iPhone was the change from metal to plastic for the entire backside. So it seems like a weak argument - UNLESS this argument in the AT&T memo is a hint for the next iPhone going back to more metal?

    As for intuitive touch-screen - I have to agree with AT&T on this. Palm OS has always been an inferior UI compared to anything Apple creates. I doubt they'll fix that and do a good job of establishing an elegant UI standard. And besides the few pretty screens they've shown in advertising, I've also seen some pretty messy screenshots of other apps running on the Pre.

  1. hansmickle

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bad mouthing...

    makes me want to rush out and guy a Pre.

  1. ff11

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: plastic and UI

    I have to disagree with you here. Palm OS used to be quite nice back when the Palm Pilot was king of the PDAs (Palm III to Palm 500 series era in the 90s).

  1. MilMascaras

    Joined: Dec 1969


    S O P

    This is SOP. This is business as usual; Whenever a hot product comes out, the competitor usually puts out a Pros / Cons memo, usually for salespeople, that emphasizes the Pros of their product, and the Cons of the competitor, simply because customers are going to ask about the competitor anyways. Its no big deal, not a 'news scoop'. Slow news day on Earth Day.

  1. cyn1c

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Sprint's Pre may be made of plastic, but you get a h*** of a lot better reception in New Mexico with Sprint than you do with AT&T.

    AT&T should do less trash-talking and focus more on developing "the world's fastest network" or whatever BS they spout in their ads.

    But like the others said, why focus on progress when you can just insult your competitors.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: odo

    So you're fine with this? I'm guessing if we went back, you didn't complain or rant off on Verizon when the same memo came out about them bad-mouthing the iPhone...

    And the iPhone went plastic on the back to improve phone reception. As people with MacPros/PowerMac G5s, or the earlier PowerBook G4s, metal housings does nothing good for wireless signals.

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