BREAKING NEWS & VIEWS
Forbes.com Tries the Palm Pre
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Palm, the maker of the hardware, and Sprint, its only U.S. carrier, will not discuss yet the number of Palm Pres sold since its summer debut. Analysts have estimated that the platform has sold little more than 400,000 units which is way off the pace of 1 to 1.5 million the year the partners had anticipated to sell this year.
Nevertheless, the Pre represents a growing and very able mobile platform. The Forbes.com app has a nondescript and text-heavy interface and clearly puts a premium on clean simplicity and efficient navigability. The brand name sits in a narrow banner atop the screen and a drop down menu gives the user direct lateral access to nearly a dozen content verticals. In each article a large “Share” button pulls up a menu of links to email, Facebook, Yahoo Buzz, Delicious, Digg and Reddit social media sites. LinkedIn is conspicuously absent, which seems odd for a an audience of executives most likely to use the business-oriented social network. The app curates each section down to about five key headlines. The MyStocks page is customizable with the indices and specific stocks you want to follow.
One of the neatest features in the Forbes.com app is a “Prepare for Offline” tool that downloads top articles and your latest stock and market data to the phone so you can review them on an airplane flight or anywhere else without connectivity.
The app has its rough spots. Too often it kicks open new browser windows that bring you to Forbes and other pages that are not optimized for mobile. The app can be sluggish even when using a Wi-Fi connection. And unlike direct competitors on other platforms like FT and Bloomberg there is a dearth of images and charts to help visualize the content. Forbes.com video is not here either.
Nit picking aside, the Forbes app is workmanlike and enjoys the benefit of streamlining. For those who want just the facts and across a wide array of the brand's topics, it fills the bill. While there is not a lot of opportunity for Forbes to communicate its brand equity and identity here (well, there is a lot of signature blue), it is serviceable.
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