EJM Designs Limited Blog

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

RIP Palm Pre: Jun 2009 - Nov 2010

Palm Pre

I loved you, Palm Pre. Yes, I took the chance and early-adopted and was aglow in your wonder from the first moment I purchased you. And while your OS sometimes faltered, I stood by you. And when iPhones and Androids mocked your lacking app catalogue, I fought for you. But, Palm Pre, you failed me.

Say NO to Crack

The Palm Pre has one fatal flaw that is shared with any and all touchscreen phones: crack the screen in a way that disables the ability to touch control the phone and the phone is not only dead to use, it is dead to transferring anything via USB and dead to a Sprint rep pulling your contacts from it.

Palm Pre, because of its particular shape, is especially prone to cracking.

Personally, I had my phone, not in a case, but in my pocket with a pen - I think that's how it started. Apparently an angled lean produced a slight crack in the face near the charger port on the right. It was sad, but not catastrophic. But basic use can turn a small blip into a monster, like a windshield splitting.

The crack spread towards the single button over a couple months. In the other direction it spread to crack the rest of the charger port and the piece holding in the port plug was disabled; it fell out. Two weeks ago, the crack hit the main button and spidered - on the inner-screen - in a 5-fingered mess.

At first, I could still use the screen in all but the lower right 1/4 quadrant. But then it got worse. Thanksgiving day I woke and noticed I couldn't drag the icon out to unlock it. My touchscreen had been rendered useless.

My New Sidearm

I've broken my Pre and didn't get insurance when I bought it, so it is dead. Luckily my wife recently upgraded from a Blackberry Curve to a Tour, so I'm now slinging a cranberry Curve.

I just need to get my contacts transferred...

Sprint & Palm: Customer Service ...?

First stop: Sprint store. Within a minute of presenting my phones and declaring the Pre screen useless the Sprint CSR said: Sorry, there's nothing we can do.

Great. Okay, second option: I have my contact data backed up on the Palm server through my profile. I can just access that, right?

WARNING: Always use the rule of 3's on data. With phone contact information, you want to back up with the device company, with Gmail, and obviously you'll have your data on your device. Lessons learned...

Palm has my data. But through a broken-English online chat with "Steve" and then his supervisor "Austin," it was clear that they had NO answer except: You will never see your data again unless you purchase another Palm product. Frustrated, I had them escalate it to Corporate (yes, you can do that) and got a call back yesterday. Yes, Sprint can transfer the data, but they'll need to use a separate device to login to Palm with my account and harvest the data from that.

Entering the store this afternoon, I talked to a very helpful and understanding rep name Cort. He was happy to answer any questions I had and even suggested something I'd never considered: if they have a Pre in store for a repair, they could just switch out screens temporarily to make that one screen press needed to generate the file for transfer.

Unfortunately, they didn't have any Pres. Nor did any of the other 3 Repair centers in the region from Dayton to Florence, KY. Boo. So now I'm waiting, calling every day to see if they've got one in so I can transfer hundreds of contacts to my new business lifeline.

Looking Back

The Palm Pre was a great phone. I enjoyed the ease of use of PalmOS, the slick feel of the "river stone" design, the Google integration, and the induction charging of the dock. Yum. I loved the squidgy tactile feel of the buttons that allowed my too-thick fingers to feel comfortable typing on such a small board.

I won't miss 5 integrated emails and moderate use killing the battery in 3-4 hours (activating WiFi at home or hotspot could extend that by 1-3 hours). I'll miss the multiple alarms but not some of them going off twice. I won't miss checking the phone for time and - creepy! - it jumping back a minute. I won't miss the sparse App menu.

After a few days playing with my Blackberry, I'm really missing the multitasking of the Pre (I can't check a text while using the GPS Nav program without completely closing out of the Nav program). I can't stand that text messages and sync'd emails and facebook messages are all lumped into one mass pile (Pre had separate text section sorted by threads), though each email has its own icon. The extensive customization is just not there. But it'll do. It'll do.

Looking Forward

I got my Pre in June of 2009. At the time, I was enamored with the design and hot off a Treo with a terrible Windows Mobile OS. As I mentioned, I loved my Pre. Based on my purchase date, I don't get the full benefit on an upgrade until June next year.

And I'm troubled.

I've been hot for the HTC Evo since I first glanced at it. It's damn hawt. And then when I was in the store today I saw - and touched - the Samsung Epic and I think I had to wipe the drool off my face with its slick interface and physical keyboard slide.

But there's a part of me that's scared to get a new touchscreen. Then again, I'd get the insurance on it and now know to double-down on the contact backups.

But that decision is a few months down the line and I'm guaranteed that I'll be even more conflicted in six months when even sweeter phones have come out.


Palm Pre was great, but I probably won't go Palm again. I will ALWAYS get the insurance and ALWAYS back up my contact data in as many ways as possible. Until then, I'm rocking the Blackberry. And that's okay.

Hopefully you can take something away from this tech silliness. As always, comments and suggestions are welcome.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Restarting the Flow

Sometimes life interrupts.

And that's not an excuse. Life always interrupts. But people who try to blog on a regular basis, try to keep their social networks going, sometimes falter. That's me right now.

It usually comes out as "Oh, the holidays!" or "we had a death in the family" or "business got too busy" or "everyone in the house is sick" or they're lazy or tired or depressed or "there just wasn't time." Please, don't think I'm criticizing anyone but myself. Count me in on all of them.

How do you fix it?

You get back on the bus; you restart the flow, and you keep that flow going.

My best advice?

Plan well. Set your week's blogging subjects on Sunday or Monday. Even all you do is create a blog and give it a title and save it for later, you've already got your week primed for a quick interjection.

Set a schedule like it's part of your job. If you are even remotely related to social marketing, it is. "I'll blog at 10am every day." If you can pin down a time, you have no other thing to be doing. Blog.

So go ahead and plan and set and we'll be seeing more of you and your business.

And you'll be seeing more of me.

That will be all :)