Apple, Android rain on Palm's Pre parade

Rodney Gedda

Rodney Gedda is the former deputy editor of CIO and former editor of Techworld.

Could Palm have picked a worse month to launch its saviour device, the Palm Pre? If it wasn't planned that way one could be forgiven for thinking it was. Over the past fortnight there have been so many announcements relating to Android-based devices and to top it all off the week the Pre goes on sale in the US Apple lets fly with the third-generation iPhone.

Palm may have been gazumped by its up-and-coming competitors, but so far the early Pre reviews have been favourable so let's not count it out just yet.

Of course, like the iPhone and Android, the success of the Pre will depend on how well the application ecosystem thrives.

And with Optus stating it will allow its subscribers to use the iPhone 3G S as a mobile broadband modem with “tethering”, you can add carrier support to the success of a new phone as well!

Tethering is one of those applications that falls within the realm of a customer's peceived “rights”. You pay your mobile subscription fee for a set amount of voice and data access – why should that access be restricted to one device?

Thankfully, with the rise of portable USB mobile broadband devices that have “opened up the skies” so to speak to any notebook and netbook, the carriers are becoming more flexible in how the data can be used.

Imagine a fixed-line ISP saying to its customers “you can only use the data access on one PC in your house”.

Now for the other smartphone makers to follow Apple's lead and go to market with phones that support and encourage thethering so customers can get the most out of mobile broadband.

Reports from the US indicate tethering with the Palm Pre will be possible, but in light of Apple's marketing it wouldn't surprise me if any doubts about data sharing promptly disappear.

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