Sunday, August 02, 2009

Palm Pre and a few warts...

I indulged in a Palm Pre a few days ago. I had been waiting to get an Android phone, but I figure it will be at least two years until we see anything Android from Sprint, so locking myself into a two year agreement with the Pre seems like a reasonable compromise.

So far, I really like it, it is beautiful and has a lot of potential. I am still getting used to how things work and I cannot wait to get an SSH client on it and figure out how to tether it.

One thing I did not notice in any of the reviews is that there are a few fairly glaring bugs and annoyances that I will try to detail here:
  • The biggest annoyance is migrating calendar and contacts with the migration tool (I used the Mac OSX version). I started from my old Treo 680 and sync'd it one last time to iCal and AddressBook. After running the sync tool to move things over to the Pre, none of the street addresses get migrated and fax numbers occasionally get mixed up and duplicated. I had to go through my entire address book and manually enter the street addresses. Although very time consuming, I feel that it was a good exercise because it gave me a chance to clean up my address book. Something that I have not done in years apparently... A lesser annoyance is that all day calendar events with no specific time (like an anniversary) show up on the Pre as timed events lasting the entire day. I had to go in and manually change the setting to "All Day".
  • When updating the calendar, it takes an unusual amount of time for the change to actually appear on the calendar. It feels like there is a refresh bug of some sort that keeps the old calendar information on the screen *JUST* until the point at which you are unsure if the change took, and then *poof* the screen updates. Rather strange...
  • The text messaging app does not show character count. This is rather a pain when twitting because there is a 140 character limit... less than the text messaging limit...
  • It would appear as if certain apps cannot be deleted unless I root my pre. I will be doing that eventually, but with the limit of three launcher pages, it would be nice to be able to tidy things up a bit.
  • Call me pathological, but I would like an easy way to migrate over my phone calling history. The Treo was great about keeping a permanent record that would follow you from phone to phone. This does not appear to be the case with the Pre.

I think there are a few other things, but this is all I have for now. For comparison, if I were to list everything I *LIKE* about the Pre, I would be typing all night long. Other than not knowing how many characters in a text message, the rest of the issues can be worked around or are simply not that important...

1 comment:

Phil said...

I've been ignoring mobile devices lately, avoiding the temptation of spending money on them, kind of wanting an iPhone, really wanting not to do business with AT&T, and sticking with my Treo 650.

A few days ago, though, a friend got me interested in the Pre. I'm not crazy about the fact that anything which is to be available via Palm's application repository must be written in Javascript, but it seems like Palm has something pretty good going.

You'd probably be interested in this description of installing software from the Optware repository on the Pre. I'd never heard of Optware before, but it's described there as:

"Optware is the result of years of work from the project, which was originally built around hacking Linux-running NAS hardware like the Linkysys NSLU2. It's a Linux package repository chock-full of apps like web servers, compiler toolchains and even things like Asterix (an open-source PBX platform). As mentioned in the introduction, you can now install these 1700+ packages onto the Pre, essentially turning the device into a full-fledged Linux computer. The best part? It's been rigged so that all of this can be done without getting in the way of webOS. There's no GUI for these apps as of yet - that will have to wait until the public release of the SDK - but they all work just fine via the command line."