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Study: Palm Pre Cool, BlackBerry Not So Much

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In just over four months, the Palm Pre is making progress in mindshare, second only to the iPhone 3GS, says a study out today.

While the iPhone and its apps are nothing less than a cultural touchstone, it appears that the Palm Pre is also getting some of those warm-fuzzy feelings consumers attach to Apple's handsets. What's more, the Pre is beating out BlackBerry Curve and Storm and Android G1 in the cool quotient.

"Palm has seemingly demonstrated that other brands can successfully launch smartphones that not only match the iPhone's glow, but can stand alone in their own right," says the [report](http://podcasts.aolcdn.com/engadget/files/August2009MDPSignatureSmartphones.pdf), "Signature Smartphones: Gaining Mindshare in Order to Gain Market Share," by consultant group Interpret LLC.

The top three factors consumers weigh when deciding which smartphone to buy are, in order, how "smart," "hip/cool" and "productive" it makes them appear to be, according to the study, which does not indicate how many people were polled.

Proving marketers should never underestimate a consumer's need to project a flattering image, the study says people are willing to pay more for smartphones that, in their minds, do so.

"It appears the most highly publicized signature smartphones are no longer expected to simply accomplish advanced tasks, but they must also project three key attributes of their owners to others," says the study. "Consumers are so pressed to portray these traits that they are demonstrating a willingness to accept phones that accomplish this undertaking at a higher price tag."

While the Pre is faring well in terms of how consumers perceive the Palm brand, placing second to the iPhone 3GS, RIM's BlackBerry is still not in the V.I.P tent of cool, ays the report.

"Interest in projecting a hip or cool image was so prominent (at 48 percent) that it is crucial that vendors put more focus in connecting with this sentiment in their marketing collateral and campaigns. Although RIM has focused on exceptional e-mail functionality with its BlackBerry portfolio and Google has emphasized its advanced operating system with the Android OS, they have not leveraged these capabilities in such a way to necessarily embody 'coolness' with the general public."

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