Palm Pre – Best of CES

The 2009 version of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has now left the building, so to speak. As with other shows of this nature, the economy cast a pall on the vibe throughout. The quantity of new product was down as was the degree of innovation.

There were however, a few bright spots. The brightest of these sun flares was, by consensus, the Palm Pre.

The iPhone is dead…

Well, we won’t go quite that far, but Palm’s new smartphone is the first competitor to truly take the concept a step further with enough teeth to take a bite out of Apple’s phone. The Palm Pre matches everything in the iPhone’s feature set and then adds a little frosting on top.

Can you say “full keyboard”..? Some folks simply consider this tactile feature a must have, and the Pre supplies it. And that 320 x 480 (half VGA) screen is crisp, clear and displays brilliant color. Even the user interface has been thoroughly thought-out and works seamlessly.

We like this phone.

So, Palm is back on the map of relevancy overnight, but there a couple of very basic questions remaining. How much is this little gem going to cost? No clue was given, but Palm and initial release partner Sprint had better be careful with this one. As far as a release date, we are told the first half of the year. And for the non-Sprint fans out there, is there any hope in the future for other carriers? We will just have to wait that one out, unfortunately.

Until then, from what we have seen, the Palm Pre will get an initial Connoisseur Recommended rating, provided Palm doesn’t stumble out of the gate.