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Palm Pre breaks the rules, but can it break into the market?

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Palm, the mobile device powerhouse of the 90s, took home best-in-show at the just-ended International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with a new smartphone that boasts a touchscreen, hidden qwerty keyboard, and a new operating system and syncing scheme.

The inevitable comparisons to the smartphone field's other major players sprang up immediately, and Gizmodo's "In a nutshell: Palm Pre vs. iPhone vs. G1" rose to the top. It gave the advantage to the Pre for its multitasking, built-in physical keyboard, and upgraded camera. Also a plus for the Pre is a removable battery, something the iPhone lacks.


Most impressive, at least from early analysis, is the new WebOS and the different tack it takes in handling syncing. Four years in the making, instead of needing to be tethered to a computer as a home base, it seamlessly interfaces with the web for syncing contacts, emails, and content across platforms. As Ars Technica explains, with the Pre's "Synergy" system, there's no need to sync or save data – it's handled on the fly with whatever cloud-based system a user wants to interact with.

Herein lies the most important difference between the WebOS and Apple's iPhone OS: the iPhone was originally designed under the assumption that the canonical source of a user's data (contacts, calendar, music, tasks, etc.) is a Mac. Palm's WebOS, in contrast, presumes that cloud-based services are the canonical source for your data....

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