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It was like two weeks in one. The first half had a lot of interesting news pop up. Then came CES and the air of excitement surrounding Palm's trio of announcements. Our own Dieter Bohn had feet on the floor in Vegas, providing wall-to-wall coverage. Lots of good news too!


 

The above is a mere glimpse of what happened at the back end.  So let's rewind and talk about the first half of the week:

 

Bloomberg Elevation Partners story.  There was a story talking about the investment Elevation Partners made in Palm  ("This is a marathon...").

“We haven’t taken money off the table because we see a huge market opportunity here,” said Fred Anderson, who co- founded Menlo Park, California-based Elevation with Roger McNamee and U2’s Bono. “This is a marathon.”

Shootout from Wirefresh: Pre vs. iPhone 3GS.

"It was an epic fight but neither contender had a big enough punch to blow away the other according to our judges, with the final score being 3 rounds to the iPhone, three rounds to the Palm Pre and the remaining four drawn.

...both these handsets are superbly capable devices and, in our opinion, represent the best two smartphones available right now."

Note:  To coincide with the Smartphone Round Robin that is currently taking place, CrackBerry Kevin did a post where he broke down the hierarchy of needs which is a really helpful way of thinking about smartphones.

 ComputerWorld Post - Ten Fixes Needed for the Palm Pre.  Sharon Machlis wrote a post where she listed 10 fixes needed for the Palm Pre. One was the calendar ("makes me crazy!!).

Palm's Problem is Sprint.  A post by John Paczkowski at Digital Daily
mentioned a research note from Morgan Stanley (MS) analyst Ehud Gelblum that says the end of Palm’s carrier exclusivity with Sprint can’t come soon enough.

TiVo's Stats -- Palm Pre Wins.  According to the results of TiVo's First Annual "Battle of the Consumer Electronics Brands at CES," in the category of Smartphone/PDA Devices: BlackBerry vs. Palm Pre, the winner was Palm Pre.

  • While BlackBerry aired a higher percentage of its overall spots in the coveted first pod position, Palm Pre spots that ran in the first pod position actually experienced 20% less fast-forwarding in timeshifted mode than BlackBerry spots.
  • Palm Pre commercials had less fast-forwarding in timeshifted mode than BlackBerry spots among households with income greater than $150,000.
  • Approximately 97% of Palm Pre's spots were :15s and had 30% less fast-forwarding in timeshifted mode than its :30s.

The evaluation criteria was based on which brands' advertising resonated best with target consumers, as evidenced by their propensity to watch, or fast-forward, through the spots during timeshifted viewing.

A Few Reactions to Palm's CES announcements:

Phil Goldstein of FierceWireless wrote,"I think the odds are stacked against Palm, and it will have to execute perfectly on a number of different levels (and receive large marketing support) for it to have a chance at success."

Also from FierceWireless:  "Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Palm's announcement with Verizon was news that the company would offer a downloadable application for its forthcoming Pre Plus and Pixi Plus that would essentially turn them into mobile WiFi hotspots. The app, to be available through Palm's App Catalog, will allow the devices to broadcast a WiFi signal to up to five other devices, and backhaul the connection through Verizon Wireless' network."

Roger Cheng, Dow Jones Newswires.  Palm makes last stand with Verizon Wireless, AT&T support.  He quotes Roger Entner, an analyst at research firm Nielsen Co., who said, "Now it's time to put up or shut up for the company."

What's Tweetin' -- The following are some of the hottest topics being tweeted about this week.

Foursquare available for the Pre. Location-sharing app/service Foursquare is now available for Palm (Pre and Pixi users, too. With this move, Foursquare sings along four of the hottest platforms – iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and now webOS.

Buzz about the number of Palm Devices ordered.  A Boy Genius Report post stated that Verizon ordered 400k palm devices.

AT&T to Launch Palm Devices.

BillShrink's TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) Discussion.

Thursday -- PC Advisor Awards: Palm beats iPhone Shocker!  Voted for by PC Advisor editors and expert contributors, Best Smartphone  is the Palm Pre. The runners up were: Apple iPhone 3GS, BlackBerry Curve 8520, HTC Hero and Nokia N97.  PC Advisor judges said the Palm Pre was "the smallest, neatest 3G smartphone around."

"This is a fantastic, well-connected phone first and foremost; the fact that it's also a desirable gadget is a bonus. Touch-sensitive controls and the ability to run four or five applications at once make the most of its 3.1in display and nippy processor."

Bonnie Cha takes Pre Plus on a Test Drive.  CNET's tech reporter offered her impressions of the new Pre Plus and Pixi Plus:

...Overall, we think these are two solid smartphones for Verizon's lineup.

...The Palm Pre Plus is the more exciting of the two devices. The design enhancements are small but noticeable. The QWERTY keyboard is still small but there's a bit more travel space and better tactile feedback, so the typing experience is improved. Also, the phone felt like it had a more solid build; the included inductive back cover certainly helps.

...What really blew us away was the 3D gaming experience on the Pre Plus. We played EA's Need for Speed Undercover on the smartphone and thought the graphics looked great.

...Video recording is simple enough... The ability to edit is a great. The functionality is pretty basic but dead simple...

3D Games Rule... X-Plane: New Heights in webOS 3D Gaming

Whew, what a week!  Anyway, that's a wrap!