Need to Know: Palm Pre

Want to know what the fuss about the Palm Pre is all about? We give you the low-down.

Multi-tasking. If you want to switch between apps on the iPhone you have to press the Home button, which closes down the app, and then launch the new one. Aside from playing music while you surf, you can't really do two things at once on an iPhone.

WebOS can do true multi-tasking, so you can, for example, have a messenger program constantly running while you check your email or browse the web. You can also close the apps simply by flicking them off the screen using the nifty gesture based interface. It all makes the iPhone seem decidedly linear in its approach.

What are the downsides?

In the UK, you'll have to wait till Christmas, as it's not out until then.

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However, it might give Palm time to deal with the biggest downside so far - battery-life, which is said to have some users failing to even get though one day on a single charge. Apple said that battery drain is the reason why multi-tasking hasn't come to the iPhone yet and it certainly seems to be a problem for the Pre. However, it could be a case of early adopters using every option available at the same time, we won't know for sure until it's out in the UK and we have one for ourselves.

We also don't know the prices. O2 has a monopoly on the high-end smartphones so it might not feel it has to price it too keenly, but it's likely to have to undercut the iPhone to make an impact.

Does it support Flash

No yet, but Palm says there's no technical limitations why so if could be a case of wait and see. It could really hammer that battery life even further though.

Why is it called the Pre

We don't know. But it's catchy. Your answers on a postcard - or email at

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Want to read more background on the latest IT topics? Click here for all the tech cheatsheets in our Need to Know series.

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