EJM Designs Limited Blog

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Palm Pre - Story and Magnificence

Yes. I have it. And it's sweet.

Palm Pre
Palm Pre

Saturday morning, June 6th, we awoke at 6:30. Plan was to hit the Sprint store at 8, my wife, daughter, and her friend would have breakfast, and as soon as I got the phone we'd head off to Kings Island where I would twitch and fidget between roller coaster rides to poke at my new, delicious piece of technology. I'd called 2 weeks prior and the guy at the Sprint store said they weren't expecting a ton of people, saying that the phone-call interest when the Instinct came out was much more intense and there were less than 10 people at the door when they opened.

What can happen in two weeks? We showed up at the Hyde Park Sprint store at 8:05 and there were over 10 people in front of the store. Damn! I ran up while my wife, daughter, and her friend casually headed to The Hitching Post for breakfast. I got my "golden ticket," a printed sheet with plan details on it and a hand-written "18" in the upper right corner.

The first thing I found out was that they actually opened at 8am. The woman next to me asked "If you didn't know they opened at 8, how did you get here on time?" "I was coming 2 hours early," I replied. The second was that after two more people appeared and received their papers, person #3 was put on a list; I was 18/20. Whew!

With 20 people in line, 5 CSR's in store and 20-30 minutes to set up and check out customers, it wasn't too bad. We walked into the store about 10am, my wife picked out a new Blackberry so she could be a little more connected, and I went for the package deal of the fancy Pre case, (tiny) Bluetooth earpiece, car charger, and the Touchstone - a beautiful charger that looks like a giant, slightly slanted, grey Rollo with a cord you plug into the wall. You place the Pre's back against this device and magnets lock it in place. And it charges. Without wires. At an angle that allows you to watch videos or movies. Hawt.

With the Hella Everything Plan, we get the unlimited texts, unlimited data (read: internet), Sprint TV, and GPS. I hit the Google Maps program inside Kings Island. It kindly asked me if it was okay to use my GPS to locate me (which I may switch to auto), and placed the blinking blue beacon squarely in the park - not just the park, but roughly about where I was in the park.

...is a set of ear buds, a fuzzy pocket to keep the scratches off your river stone phone, and a charger for the micro USB interface. The other end of the micro is a USB, so they also include a wall socket to USB adapter. Gorsh! Ain't never seen onnathem before.

The Feel
My first thought when I held it was "it's really smaller than I thought." But after playing with it, I realized that any bigger and it would be a bit unruly. The slide up to reveal the keypad is smooth, almost effortless, but I can't imagine it happening by accident. Having come from a wider, thicker, keyboard-always-there Palm Treo 700w, the only thing I have to get used to is that I only need the keyboard popped out when I need to type. Everything else is touch. Which leads us to...

The Touch & Gestures
This rocks into the OS, so for the OS let's just say that I'm SO DAMN GLAD to be away from Windows Mobile. This is sleek and tight and quick to load.

The touchscreen is amazing. A day and a half (or half a day if you don't count Kings Island) and I've got the basics down as far as how hard to tap, push when you drag, etc. The OS is run on a card system, meaning that you open a program, tap the ONE key (how hot!?), and it reverts to a card, meaning it is a running program but reduced in size so you can open other programs, reduce them to cards, and switch between them.

The Gestures rolls into the types of movements on the screen. At the bottom of the screen, there is a "gesture area" where a swift wipe right to left from the button is "back" whether on browser or in app where original screen drops to reduced-sized card. Tapping and cursor movement is simple and the coolest is the two-finger-pull-apart/squeeze for zoom/expand - comes in super-handy on Google Maps.

The Audio
I've made a couple calls both with and without the Bluetooth headset and sound is great. I loaded the free Pandora app, signed in, and after a brief load, Billy Pilgrim appeared on my Math and Physics Club station and rocked out on the included ear buds as hard as he ever did on my laptop.

After 30 seconds, my phone goes to sleep. When I click the I/O button, it requires me to slide the lock icon up to unlock the interface. No more butt calling for me.

Picture mail! The Palm Treo 700w, for as advanced as it was, was unable to send images with text messages, or receive them. I would get a link, forcing me into my web access. I'm guessing that was a ploy to use data minutes. Now no longer.

The nice thing about the improved keypad is the "@" button is not a shift choice, along with the "." and the "," making web addresses and emails much more efficient to enter. It also has a new, gummy-rubbery polymer over the keys, so the tips of your fingers/nails will never slip, adding a great deal of precision and ridding us Palm users of a great deal of frustration (or just me).

Built-in YouTube, MP3, Sprint TV, and 8Gb of storage make this hugely more functional as a multimedia timekiller than my previous phone.

The Peeves
I use my phone as a secondary alarm clock almost every day. After updating to the 1.0.2 webOS system, I got that functionality. Unfortunately, if the alarms are turned on, every time the phone goes to sleep, the alarms appear at the bottom of the screen and must be minimized. For now I guess I have to turn them off until before bed.

I added one of my Gmail accounts and suddenly every email address I've sent an email to in the last...forever is now unnamed and included in my contacts list. I like being able to access Gmail but it would be nice to be able to NOT synch. Lots of deletes to deal with now.

The Promise
I promise I will not wear my Bluetooth earpiece when entering stores or engaging in real-world interactions. Those people irritate me. I will not be that guy/girl.

I've still many, many things to explore including the Sprint turn-by-turn GPS program, built-in facebook app, and NASCAR - really, there's a NASCAR app, but I won't be using it. Either way, many more updates from me on the tech front as I learn all the bits and pieces of this wonderful new phone.

I'm sure I missed some parts of what makes this good/bad - please hit me in the comments if you have any specific questions and I'll comment back to let you know.

Yay Palm! Good show!


  1. Thanks for the update, Eric. I've been looking longingly at the Pre for a while now -- might be the only thing which prevents me from getting an iPhone. Especially since I wouldn't have to drop my Sprint plan to do it!

  2. Agreed. Honestly the only reason I was in such hot search was that I'm heavy for the iPhone but have no desire to go AT&T - Sprint plan is pretty good. While the app list is a little lean right now, it's money waiting to be made; I'm guessing 2 weeks will make a heck of a difference on the offerings.