The Palm Pre is still one of the most foward-thinking phones 9 years after it launched

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.


If you haven't noticed of late, the latest iterations of iOS and Android heavily leverage gestures with their user interfaces – something that a now defunct mobile platform was known for notoriously implementing. It's almost unbelievable to know that the Palm Pre was launched almost 9 years ago, which in the smartphone industry is a really, really long time. Looking back at what it helped to establish, there's no denying that it was simply one of those phones that was too ahead of its time.

One look at the Palm Pre when it first came onto the scene, its polished stone resemblance was a sight to behold back in 2009 – more so when it featured a portrait sliding QWERTY keyboard. For Palm, it was its most radically designed smartphone, setting itself apart not only from Palm's line of devices, but from all smartphones in general. Even more impressive, the Palm Pre featured wireless charging, which is a feature that only recently became akin to mostly high-end smartphones nowadays.

While the phone's specs weren't ground-breaking for a smartphone during its time, it's memorable for the software that Palm meticulously developed. Palm's webOS was something truly different! And it's really ironic how iOS and Android today adopted many of webOS' signature looks and features. The cards view we get in both mobile operating systems was something that webOS brought along back when it was introduced in 2009. Moreover, webOS heavily leveraged a ton of finger gestures for users to navigate around the platform. From the swipe up gesture that "minimized" apps into their card view, to swiping away to close those apps, a lot is owed to the fundamental principles of webOS.


Above all, though, the Palm Pre was ahead of its time thanks to its "Synergy" groundwork – something that intelligently populated the correct information with your contacts. Essentially, Synergy helped to merge your data from all your services, whether they were email, instant messaging, or just general address book information, Synergy just took the hassle of managing all of that on our own. There was also the universal search that webOS offered, which is yet another staple feature in today's smartphones.

However, we do recall how Palm was trying to sell us the vision of the future with Synergy – how a personal digital assistant of sorts could intelligently aid us. It reminds us of all the talk we have now about artificial intelligence. Palm sold us on the idea of how one day webOS can detect that you've snoozed your alarm too many times and automatically send text messages to the folks you're scheduled to meet up with – to tell them that you're going to be late. And that's all accomplished with Synergy's potential capabilities!

As we all know, we never got to that point with webOS, which is a shame because the platform was undeniably ahead of its time. Quite frankly, it's still unbelievable that the Palm Pre was released 9 years ago. Just think about the possibilities if webOS somehow managed to survive and thrive. Then again, today's mobile platforms have clearly adopted many of webOS' features, which shows why the Palm Pre is a testament in being regarded as one of the most revolutionary phones ever to be imagined.

Related phones

Pre
  • Display 3.1" 320 x 480 pixels
  • Camera 3 MP
  • Storage 8 GB
  • Battery 1150 mAh(5.00h talk time)

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30 Comments

1. Sparkxster

Posts: 1240; Member since: Mar 31, 2017

Palm Pre. My first smartphone. It was truly ahead of the curve with the cards and gestures that we use today on our smartphones. It was a great phone and it was a great experience using it.

4. cleatglitch

Posts: 165; Member since: May 25, 2013

still hav my wife's palm pre...it was a great anniversary gift...she loved it

8. sgodsell

Posts: 7514; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The thing is the Palm pre gestures are still different to iPhone X gestures. Just like the gestures on Android P are different to iPhone or Palm pre. The most important thing to take away is the UI and how well it supports gestures. Since everyone is looking for the highest screen to body ratio, then all physical buttons, finger print scanners, are now gone from the front of the smartphones. iOS and iPhone X only give you a gestures option. Android P gives users two options. The new gestures, or business as usual with the regular navigation buttons. It's up to the user to decide what they prefer.

9. sgodsell

Posts: 7514; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Gestures are okay, but the more options, the better.

2. Venom

Posts: 3778; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Ah webOS, an OS that ended too soon. I still remember when they had the fire sale for the webOS tablets. I wish webOS existed once more in Android.

13. bucknassty

Posts: 1365; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

We only can hope and wish... i still have my hp tablet... although the hard drive failed

3. GreenMan

Posts: 2698; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

I still can't believe Apple copied this poor fellow's gestures 1:1, literally! I personally think its the THIRD most important phone in the history of cellphones; after The iPhone OG and the grampa Nokia 3310. Oh well, G'Day!

26. BlackhawkFlys

Posts: 927; Member since: May 07, 2014

Even though I hate Apple, they did great copying those gestures. Gestures are always fun. I wish Android had copied them sooner. I wish someone had invested some real money in WebOS gave incentives to developers to make apps for WebOS. HP should have open sourced the OS made deals with Samsung HTC etc. It would have been a better platform than Android by now.

5. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3163; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

The King is dead, long live the King! Another forgotten "feature" webOS gave us was the rich homebrew community that exists to this day. Because of the fine work of these people, webOS devices can run today with the ability to use exchange email, Gmail and many other services we take for granted today.

6. AustinPaul

Posts: 155; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

When I got mine, it was the best new phone experience I ever had. It felt so great in the hand, fun to use, and performed really well. Keyboard was not great for me.

7. warrenellis93

Posts: 556; Member since: Jul 21, 2011

My first touchscreen was the palm pre, it had a lot of lag but still I was so happy to have it.

11. Venom

Posts: 3778; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

The thing lagged like pouring molasses. I blame the terrible internals.

10. palmguy

Posts: 986; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

Paaaaaaaaaalm! :'( R.I.P. webOS

14. bucknassty

Posts: 1365; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

BRING IT BACK

12. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I loved my Pre, but the iPhone had me locked in.

15. mrraider602

Posts: 36; Member since: Mar 27, 2013

Got mine first day it came out back when I was still with sprint. I was the 12th person in line at the sprint store! lol Loved it.. even more so when I home-brewed it and overclocked it! Was a whole new experience after that! I still have it and power it on once in a while.

16. tedkord

Posts: 17452; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

WebOS was awesome. I can't forgive Palm or HP for mishandling it so badly.

17. fyah_king unregistered

So, that's the original copy cat of the iPhone x gestures. Iphone are so innovative!!!!

18. audibot

Posts: 666; Member since: Jan 26, 2017

greatest phone in history .

19. Rager722 unregistered

Lets not forget that Blackberry 10 did it after Palm and iOS is a copy of both.

25. Venom

Posts: 3778; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

And where is BlackBerry 10 at now? Dead because it couldn't compete against the behemoths ios and Android.

20. Charley1G

Posts: 4; Member since: Dec 04, 2012

I still use the Pre3 4g as my backup phone. It was unlocked & connected easily to Tmobile.It was always able to connect to the Touch pad. When I talk on it people say it sounds great. Do love it & webOS.

24. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3163; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

I'm curious, does your Pre3 receive MMS on T-Mobile? I've tried editing the carrierdb. files and it just doesn't work. The Pre2 worked only on 2.1 but the .json files were broken after 2.2.

28. Charley1G

Posts: 4; Member since: Dec 04, 2012

Yes. I just tested it & replied back to my main Phone.

21. shnibz

Posts: 513; Member since: Sep 18, 2011

Got my wife one when she left her awful Samsung Epic in a cab in Vegas. What a great phone the Pre was!!

22. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

I had the palm pre.. hated that little phone.. screen was plastic and scratched easy. Also the track that the phone slid up on wasnt a tight fit so it wiggled.

23. mike2959

Posts: 697; Member since: Oct 08, 2011

Gestures. That’s the buzzword for 2018. Gestures. I “gestured” my phone, but it wouldn’t respond. My “gestures” are not work correctly. I “gestured” you, but you didn’t respond. I hate “gesturing” my boss. My wife loves to “gesture”. Your girlfriend “gestured” me last night. Why don’t you “gesture” off!

27. Gavii2000

Posts: 21; Member since: Sep 23, 2013

Palm Pre was an awesome phone and it had an accessory called touchstone which was a wireless charger in 2009. Palm was way-way ahead of competition. Best phone i ever had. Palm made a very big mistake to sell it to HP. HP killed the brand in a very short time.

29. tokuzumi

Posts: 1946; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

WebOS was a great OS, but Palm's hardware did nothing to help the adoption of WebOS. I was so excited when the Pre was announced. I had plans to get one when it came out. My buddy got one, and as soon as I saw it and put it in my hand, I was so bummed. It looked horrible. He also had all kinds of problems with it. After seeing the Pre, I went with the HTC Hero, and I've been an Android guy ever since.

30. Se7enMonk3ys12

Posts: 1; Member since: May 28, 2019

Huawei... Bring back webOS

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