The Pre, which goes on sale Saturday, is an elegant, joyous, multitouch smartphone; it’s the iPhone remixed. That’s no surprise, really; its primary mastermind was Jon Rubinstein, who joined Palm after working with Steve Jobs of Apple, on and off, for 16 years. Once at Palm, he hired 250 engineers from Apple and elsewhere, and challenged them to out-iPhone the iPhone.
That the Pre even comes close to succeeding is astonishing. As so many awful “iPhone killers” have demonstrated, most efforts to replicate the iPhone result in hideous designed-by-committee messes.
He dings it for battery life, but says poor Sprint reception at his house may be the reason. No performance comparisons to the iPhone, though (I’m interested in side-by-side web page rendering tests), and he says some apps take “8 or 9 seconds” to launch.