The Number One argument against the iPhone is it's tied to AT&T, unquestionably the worst major player in the U.S. wireless market. Yes, they have rollover minutes, but that's all they have going for them. There's no question in my mind that if I had to pick a GSM carrier, I'd go with T-Mobile.
There's a lot not to like about the iPhone itself, which has less to do with the technology than Apple's obnoxious "control freak" attitude toward third-party applications and application developers — not to mention the enormous barriers to entry for anyone who actually wants to join their bleating flocks.
Until this month, the "obvious" alternative was to pursue something Linux-based, but there really aren't any good choices ... yet. Yes, there is an Android product out there, but it's still "crippled." I don't consider OpenMoko stable enough. No ALP-based products have been announced.
Then there's Symbian, which is going open source. Unfortunately, Symbian's development tools require an unreasonable hardware/software configuration (Windoze-only, boo!).
Which leads us to this month's Big Announcement: the Palm Pre. Everyone who's seen it describes it as an "iPhone killer." We've heard that before, but it might actually be true this time. They've had plenty of time to look at the iPhone's shortcomings, and not repeat Apple's mistakes. Plus, after the Foleo fiasco, they're highly motivated to knock one out of the park.
Unfortunately, pretty much everything about the Pre is shrouded in secrecy. Palm says it runs a new OS — why? One of the reassuring things about the iPhone is that it doesn't use something unproven: it's basically running a stripped-down version of Mac OS X.
Palm now has a browser based on WebKit — the same underlying technology used by the iPhone's Mobile Safari and Google's Chrome — so it can't be that weird at the API level. They're touting the ability to create "web apps" — the same line of crap Steve Jobs offered up when he introduced the iPhone. Supposedly, they'll be doing something to mollify Palm OS developers, but just what that will be remains unannounced.
Will the Pre implement PACE? A little over two years ago, Palm paid ACCESS $44M for a perpetual license that allows them to meld Palm OS Garnet with other technologies in future devices. The ability to run existing Palm OS applications would instantly stomp the iPhone into the ground. On the other hand, that might be enough to pursuade Apple to lift their opposition to StyleTap. (Seriously, though, Apple should work with ACCESS to get GVM on the iPhone.)