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AT&T Does Battle with the Palm Pre Karishma Sundaram | , 11:51 a.m. April 22, 2009 2009-04-22

Smart phones companies are vying for market share; some more viciously than others. One of the internal documents at AT&T was leaked on the Internet recently, and the evidence was not pretty. 

AT&T is the exclusive US carrier for the iPhone; which is possibly the most popular phone model of all time. The slim design and the unique touch screen interface without the stylus made waves in the market much before the phone was even launched. 

The Palm Pre has some great features as well, and it is set to rival the iPhone in the smart phone arena. There has been a lot of hype surrounding the mobile handset’s release; to the extent that accessories for the as yet unreleased phone have been hitting trade shows. The gadgetry is no doubt impressive, but everyone is waiting to see the ultimate face-off between the two phones. 

The document leaked from AT&T lists out the specifications of both phones, side by side, in a tabular comparison format. Unsurprisingly, the company has been less than pleasant about the Palm Pre. The list compares the Palm Pre very unfavourably to the iPhone, to the extent of listing points like the mobile phone handset is only available in black, as one of its disadvantages. 

While some of the points are valid, like the limited 3D gaming experience, others are merely attacks meant to drive home a point. Some of them are exaggerated all out of proportion. 

What is plainly evident from this internal document is that AT&T obviously views the Palm Pre as a strong competitor in the smart phone arena. However, this is perhaps not the most constructive way to demonstrate the iPhone’s perceived superiority. On the other hand, it in fact displays a certain degree of insecurity, indicating that AT&T is perhaps awaiting the arrival of the iPhone with a great degree of trepidation. 

AT&T pulled a similar stunt when the Blackberry Storm was released, distributing a sheet of comparisons  to their employees, detailing exactly why the iPhone is better. The employees would then have a readymade list of cons for the Storm, while showing the iPhone in a much better light. 

Considering that AT&T released this document in the first place, it was unlikely that the company was going to play fair with the fledging competitor in the vitriolic rap sheet. So no surprises were forthcoming when the company conveniently made no mention of all the features that the Palm Pre does have, which the iPhone distinctly lacks. 

For example, a very common complaint with the iPhone is its sheer incapability of multi-tasking, which the Palm Pre can do easily. Granted the Palm Pre is thicker than the iPhone, however it also sports the button QWERTY keyboard as well, which should perhaps have been taken into consideration. The touch screen display is smaller, but saying that the phone is only available in a single colour borders on the ridiculous and infantile. 

AT&T is not getting any brownie points with this document, although it has generated quite a bit of amusement.

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