Palm Pre Plus shines with productivity apps, mobile Wi-Fi

The Palm Pre has gotten an update and landed on Verizon. See the two features that make it stand out for business users, and learn the drawbacks.

Now that I've tested the Palm Pre Plus it's time to share my thoughts about it from a business and IT perspective. As usual, we'll talk about the pros and cons of the device and where it fits in for business.

You can watch the video or read the full text of this episode below the video window.

The original Palm Pre was one of the most widely-anticipated technology products of 2009. Palm had spent almost two years redesigning its mobile operating system, the webOS, as well as the new hardware for the Pre.

However, after making a big splash at CES 2009, the Palm Pre launch six months later in June was only a moderate success. Part of the problem was the quality of the new Palm hardware and part of it was that the

Pre was limited to the Sprint network.

Palm is now trying to up its game with the Palm Pre Plus on Verizon. Of course, there's a lot of competition in the smartphone market with the iPhone, Android phones, and BlackBerry.

So, let's take a quick look at the best features as well as the drawbacks of the Palm Pre Plus and see how it measures up from a business perspective.

The positives

  1. Productivity apps: The one place where the Palm webOS really outshines iPhone and Android is in productivity apps. Email is easy to read, navigate, and customize. The Calendar app is more full-featured. And, unlike iPhone and Android, webOS actually syncs Tasks from Exchange.
  2. Mobile Hotspot: The one big feature that the Palm Pre Plus has over other smartphone is its Mobile Hotspot app. This basically turns the Pre into a MiFi, allowing you to share its Internet connection with up to five other devices via Wi-Fi.
  3. The Verizon network: Now that it's on Verizon, the Pre has access to the most widespread and reliable 3G broadband in the U.S.
  4. Intuitive interface: The Palm Pre has a little bit more of a learning curve than Android or iPhone, but it's still very easy to use - much easier than BlackBerry or Windows Mobile.

The drawbacks

  1. Hardware design: For a high-end smartphone, the Palm Pre feels cheap and not very durable. The screen is too small and the slide-out keyboard is functional but not very comfortable to use. The hardware on the Google Nexus One, the iPhone 3GS, and even the BlackBerry Tour blow the Palm Pre Plus away.
  2. Needs more applications: While the iPhone and Android have tens of thousands of mobile apps, the Palm webOS has a few hundred. It needs to ramp up mobile app development and quick.
  3. It's a little sluggish: The Palm Pre Plus is not nearly as snappy at opening applications and executing quick tasks as the Nexus One or the iPhone 3GS. While it's more responsive than the original Pre, the performance of the Pre Plus is still a little bit laggy at times.


If you're looking for a smartphone to primarily run productivity apps connected to Microsoft Exchange, the Palm Pre Plus can be a really nice choice. The Mobile Hotspot feature is also a great feature, and it's unique to the Pre Plus at this point. However, if you want a full-featured smartphone to do more heavy lifting and run lots of different apps then you should probably look at an Android phone or an iPhone.


Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.

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