A few more thoughts on the Palm Pre as June 6th nears

Posted By on June 4, 2009

As a long time Palm OS user from Palm Pilots to Handspring Visors to Samsung i500 phones (my mother is currently using it) to the latest Treos and Centros … I’m waiting … and waiting … for the new Web OS … and waiting for a new physical keyboard PDA smartphone. The Palm Pre is almost here.

After reading and listening to Walt Mossberg (WSJ link) talk about the lack of an App Store, I started to wonder why it is really such a big deal? Frankly most business users want a smartphone to handle normal business tasks and need a good contact manager, calendar, some text messaging and strong email ability.

palm pre keyboardIt would be nice to have a few fun gadgets like music and video … or even a game or two for entertainment, but that’s not necessary really. Perhaps it is because I don’t have a iPhone that I’m not all that interested in the “App Store” thing and will be just as happy to have a few good quality productivity enhancers that help handle normal business tasks.

My biggest concern is the lack of a memory card for the growing sizes of data as video, music, podcasts and mapping databases come to mind. I’m sure I’ll want to store additional programs since not everything is going to run wirelessly from the cloud and I assume that the normal OS bloat will eventually come Palm Pre’s way. Even the iPhone is now doubling their  memory … and frankly speaking as cheap as memory is nowadays, I’m shocked to only see 8GB on the Pre? (I suspect generation 2 is not all that far away?)

Thankfully I’m a Sprint (only carrier this year) customer with very good 3G coverage almost every where I regularly travel (except Europe this summer) and have been ready to retire my trusty Palm Treo 700p … although would have probably been happy with a Blackberry realizing what I use a smartphone for; that said, unlike the iPhone I be glad to able to be able to open an “flick through” multiple programs, use a physical keyboard to enter text or handle emails, replace the battery if need be and still be able to slip a smooth skipping stone looking smartphone into my pocket. Stay tuned … June 6th is coming.

Palm Pre iphone compared

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Comments

  • wm h blum

    Saw this online and thought of you.
    http://gizmodo.com/5277499/palm-pre-review

  • TEchWiz

    David Pogue of the NYTimes gave some great answers:

    * What’s the name Pre supposed to mean?

    –Palm mumbles something about the phone being so smart, it seems to know what you want before you tell it. The real answer, I suspect, is something like, “There are very few words left that aren’t already trademarked”!

    * How’s the speaker?

    –Very weak. Music is fine if you’re sitting right next to the phone (although tinny), but speakerphone is hardly worth it; you’d have a hard time hearing if you’re ambling around the kitchen.

    * How’s the screen?

    –Outstanding. Very bright, very clear, gorgeous, readable fonts. I had no trouble even in direct sunlight.

    * Can you be on a phone call and online simultaneously?

    –No, unless you’re in a Wi-Fi hot spot.

    * Can it play Flash videos?

    –Not at the moment. However, Adobe has said that it’s working on Flash for the Pre, so it’s coming soon.

    * How much is an extra battery?

    –It’s $50.

    * Can the Pre suck up my Palm OS data, like the contacts and memos I have on my elderly Palm Tungsten E2?

    –Yes, the Pre comes with a program called Palm Data Transfer Assistant. It performs a one-time, one-way transfer of your data (contacts, calendar events, tasks and memos) from Microsoft Outlook, Palm Desktop, or (on the Mac) iCal and Address Book.

    * I have all these great old Palm apps! Do I have to give them up?

    –No. For $20, you can buy (from the app store) a Classic app that runs all the old Palm OS software! It’s pretty amazing to see that old bitmapped software running on this futuristic machine.

    * Does it work overseas?

    –This Pre is a CDMA phone, so it doesn’t work in any of the 200 countries that use the GSM network (like Europe). So the bottom line is: it’s pretty much the U.S. only. (There’s a small handful of other CDMA countries.)

    However, if Palm’s history with its Treo phones is any indication, GSM versions of the Pre will be coming soon. Indeed, the Pre is only the first of many phones that run the new Web OS.

    * Does it have speed dial?

    –Yes, fantastic… you can use any letter key for any contact. For example, hold down the M key to dial Mom.

    * Can you make your own ringtones?

    –Yes. Any MP3 file can be a ringtone.

    * How Mac-compatible is the Pre?

    –Very. It syncs music, photos and videos with your existing iTunes program (Mac or Windows). It syncs e-mail, calendar, address book and to-do lists with Google, which isn’t platform-specific. It shows up on the Mac desktop as a hard drive, so you can drag-and-drop files onto it (Word, Excel, PDF, music, photos, video and so on).

    * Does the Pre’s calendar sync with iCal on the Mac?

    — I don’t know of a direct way, but you can sync iCal with Google Calendar, using a program called BusySync (www.busysync.com). And the Pre syncs with Google Calendar! Works great.

    * Do all apps rotate on the screen when you turn the phone 90 degrees?

    –No, I’m pretty sure it’s only the Web browser, photo and e-mail programs. As on the iPhone, videos always play in landscape mode.

    * Is there a family plan?

    –Yes. And it’s MUCH cheaper than AT&T (or Verizon, for that matter). For example, Sprint’s unlimited voice-and-data family plan is $190 a month. AT&T and Verizon charge $270 a month for the same thing. Over the two-year contract, Sprint will save you an insane $1,910!

    * How’s the Internet speed?

    — Sprint’s 3G Internet data network is really great. It’s snappy (several reviewers have measured it against the iPhone and found it to be faster) and has excellent coverage.

    * Is there a self-portrait mirror?

    –Yes. When you slide open the keyboard, you reveal a formerly hidden panel where Palm cleverly installed a mirror, just above the camera lens.

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.