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Review round-up: Palm Pre

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The next major iPhone competitor hits store shelves this Saturday. Palm, which many thought was circling the drain last year, surprised everyone in January by unveiling a smart phone that recaptured the company's innovative spirit. It's hard to tell if the Pre will save Palm, but today's reviews says that it's on the right track.

The design

Pre is 3.9 inches high by 2.3 inches wide and two-thirds of an inch thick — shorter but thicker than the iPhone. The compact, slightly curvy design results in a screen that's a tad smaller than the iPhone's. It is by no means obvious that there is also a hidden, slide-out physical keyboard, a nod to consumers who don't fancy the iPhone's touch-screen keyboard. The Pre has a virtual dialing pad for tapping out phone calls, but there's no virtual keyboard to complement its physical equivalent. At times, I would have liked the option: You don't always want to slide out the keyboard. [via USA Today]

The multi-tasking features

Pre is strong in multi-tasking, the ability to have different applications open at the same time. On iPhone, you have to close and open applications to switch. Pre has a fun way of displaying multi-tasking. Apps look like a series of cards that sit side by side on the screen. To switch, drag a finger over each and tap on the one you need. When done, you close an app by flicking your finger up the screen to "throw" it closed. This is good fun. There is a limit however on how many apps you can have open at once. Depending on what you're using, the limit seems to vary from 8 to 12. [via Reuters]
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