Internal AT&T memo calls Palm Pre inferior

A day after both AT&T and Apple touted the success of the iPhone 3G as a key source of buoyancy in the economic recession, an internal AT&T memo has surfaced that seeks to discredit one of the iPhone's chief upcoming competitors, the Palm Pre.

The document, which the Dallas Morning News confirmed as a legitimate AT&T memo, dismisses many of the features of the Pre, and essentially seeks to show that the Palm product is inferior to Apple's iPhone in almost every way. The comparison is based on public information, and such side-by-side feature and function match-ups are common practice, according to an AT&T spokesman. The document is intended for AT&T retail employees who may need to deploy the talking points to combat consumers' questions about the differences between the two smartphones.

Some of the items are legitimate: Consumers may not like the Pre's screen size, its limit of 8GB of internal memory, or its lack of GSM support (the memo states, in three different instances, that the phone doesn't include that technology's widespread roaming options). But other quibbles are clearly subjective: The AT&T memo states that the Pre's user interface has touchscreen controls that are "not intuitive."

The timing of the leak of the memo is interesting. On Apple's earnings conference call yesterday, when questioned specifically about the Pre, Apple executives declined to comment. And AT&T touted its 1.6 million iPhone activations in the first quarter as one of the key measures of its success in the wireless space. Indeed, an AT&T executive recently said the carrier is seeking to extend its exclusive grip on the iPhone in the U.S. market. Meanwhile, Sprint Nextel has been ramping up its advertisements for the Pre, and industry watchers expect the device to launch as soon as mid-May. 

For more:
- see this article
- see this Wired post
- see this Dallas Morning News post

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