At this point, the news of Pre arriving on Verizon’s network early next year has been well-circulated. Now, some WebOS fans are holding out hope for a U.S. GSM version for an American carrier — namely AT&T.
AT&T? Since when has it been interested in WebOS?
That’s a good question. All we know is that someone tipped off PreCentral that, at the Sprint Open Developers Conference today, Palm did a demo with a GSM handset running on AT&T's network. We’re not sure if it was the QWERTZ handset from Germany (the layout of which swaps the Y and Z keys), but somehow, it’s doubtful that Palm itself couldn’t get a hold of a proper US QWERTY version of the GSM handset.
To recap, that’s a GSM Pre running on AT&T that was demoed live at (Sprint's) developers’ conference. Take that to mean what you will, guys, but just note that it’s not confirmation of the device coming to Big Blue. For now, it’s just a (really) interesting set of circumstances.
Pre ranks high, according to PC World and Popular Mechanics
But if the carrier really is interested in the handset, who could blame it? PC World just ranked the Pre at number 14 out of 100 products in its annual “PC World 100: Best Products of 2009.” The round-up evaluates items against criteria including design, functionality, performance and impact:
Palm Pre (smartphone, $150 with two-year Sprint contract): The Pre wowed us with its engaging (and fun to use) WebOS software and eye-catching hardware. Thanks to the Pre's responsive multitouch screen, its intuitive gesture-based controls, and WebOS's beautiful way of organizing information, this smartphone is a pleasure to use. The keyboard may not be perfect, but that's a minor trade-off for everything else the Pre offers.
This news came just after Popular Mechanics named it among the Top 10 Most Brilliant Products of 2009. Normally, I’m skeptical of anyone’s yearly Top 10 lists (particularly when said year isn’t even over yet). But in this case, I’m kind of happy for Palm, especially after getting a less-than-spectacular rating from JD Power’s consumer satisfaction study. (It placed #5 out of 7 — behind Apple, HTC, LG and Motorola, but ahead of BlackBerry and Samsung.)
So Pre users: Based on your own experience, does the handset deserve a top ranking, or do you side with JD Power, and consider it a mediocre device? And if it comes to AT&T, would you sign on the dotted line? Let us know what you think in the comments!