The Palm PPC – the Hotspot in your Pocket.
It has to be the mob mentality: everyone loves the iPhone, a product, that while it is as polished as can be,  admittedly doesn’t use the kind of signal tracking and voice call technology you’d find on even cheaper phones;  and on the other hand there are competing products like the Palm PPC smartphones that come with an overall finesse and honest-to-goodness desire to please, not to mention affordable price tags and features the iPhone doesn’t. And no one knows it exists. Let’s look at two new Palm products on the market, the Palm Pre Plus and the Palm Pixi Plus, two wonders of American manufacturing that really deserve more love.

The Palm Pre Plus only costs $150, when you get it with a two-year contract. It has a tiny wonderfully smooth slide-out keyboard, and it has the shape and feel of a little polished stone. The Palm Pixi Plus(and that name is too cute for its own good) goes for just $100 with a two-year contract, and it’s what they call a candy bar phone, with a keyboard that appears right under the screen. For the $50 you save on this one, you do without some luxuries – it has the cruder camera, and it is slower – the one essential they haven’t touched, is WiFi connectivity. But the Pixi Plus really is as thin as its namesake, and as pleasing as a real pixie (one imagines).

The Palm PPC Web OS is a wonderful product that would be nice to see on competing smartphones that have its surefooted ease – like, say the Blackberry. Palm’s operating system is so pretty and so intuitive, you’d be hard-pressed to see how the iPhone is better. One of the best things about it is the way it can perform more than one task at a time. Do you want to listen to Internet radio as you read through your e-mail? No problem. And the iPhone isn’t the only one with that special toy called a multi-touch screen, you know.

It is what they call a fully loaded product too. You get WiFi, Bluetooth, a simple switch to turn the ringer off – just everything you want. And of course, Palm’s Web OS does multitasking with e-mail accounts and address books like no one else. You can look up your records with Google, Yahoo and Outlook all on the same screen. Of course there is a catch (isn’t there always).

The battery life isn’t all that great on any Palm PPC. There aren’t that many apps available for it at this time – barely a thousand, but Palm is trying to quickly catch up here. Of course 1000 doesn’t look very good next to the iPhone’s 120,000. But ar least, Palm’s thousand are all really great ones, and they expect the number of high-quality apps they have available to double every year.

There is one way in which these two Palm PPC products will outdo the iPhone any day: it can turn into a WiFi hotspot with one touch.

If you need to work on your laptop, you don’t need to carry around a pen drive-sized device or a data card or anything. Your phone is your hot spot. And your phone is in your pocket. That saves you $50 right away, and you and your friends can connect to the hotspot in your pocket any time.

The iPhone can do that too, if you wish to illegally hack into it; but the Palm PPC does this right out of the box, without any fussing about. There is just no other phone that does this fuss free. So what if it costs an extra $40?