Sloane Stephens Cox
The iPhone set the standard for smart phones, but one touchscreen slider is in hot pursuit.
Sprint's Palm Pre is being called "the most buzzed-about gadget of the year" by Paul Wagenseil of Fox News.
"Apple's got a challenger for first place among smart phones," he said in a review.
Adrian Covert, reviewer for the gadget blog Gizmodo, also touts the new phone, calling it "simply amazing" and possibly "the most important handset to be announced in two years."
The Pre is also the winner of CNET's Best in Show, Best in Category: Cell Phones & Smart Phones, and People's Voice for 2009.
What's behind all the buzz?
Like the iPhone, it has multitouch commands, an apps store, a touchscreen, Bluetooth capability and a camera. But also it has features the iPhone lacks, including a full QWERTY keyboard and MMS messaging, and you have the ability to cut and paste.
Moreover, reviewers are raving about the following unique features:
n The phone's multitasking abilities: You can keep multiple applications -- e-mail, maps, photos, Web sites and more -- open and move easily among them. Also, a bar at the bottom will notify you if you have text messages and calendar reminders so that you can continue what you're doing.
n Its Web-integration and organizational features: Pre's Palm Synergy can lump your Outlook, Google and Facebook calendars together so you can view them together. Also, applications designed for the Palm webOS platform work with other apps on the phone. For example, you can buy movie tickets and then mark the times on your calendar. Another plus: Synergy allows you to group all your conversations with one person in one chat-style view. For example, your conversation in IM can be continued with text.
Downsides of the Pre include its lack of video capability. Also, the camera, which has a flash, lacks a zoom.
The phone is expected to hit the market this month or next. Sprint will be the exclusive U.S. carrier. The price has not been released.