Saturday, June 6, 2009

Palm Pre! (a.k.a. RIH Moto Q)

I am free!

The Divorce
After a long, tortuous relationship with the Motorola Moto Q, MEGAFAIL in 2.0 speak, I am free.

I knew it was over with the Q long before my contract was up. Things just weren’t working out. The batteries failed repeatedly. It was slow to respond. It went to sleep too early. These issues failed to resolve themselves despite a string of three Stepford Qs. But I am free now.

This morning, I became an official early adopter. I didn't camp out overnight. Didn't set the alarm. Just rolled out of bed and strolled through the Sprint world headquarters campus to the store hidden deep inside. A little over an hour later, I got engaged to and married the Palm Pre. Our union has been long in the making and highly, eagerly anticipated.

Honeymoon Bliss
I was pleased to hear from a Sprint insider that Palm cast aside many of the suggestions by Sprint developers and stayed true to Palm technology, which I love. I really do miss Graffiti, though.

The touch factor is sweet. Not having used an iPhone before, the sweeping and swishing and tap dance response impresses me. It's a tad unwieldy for a newb, but I'm sure I'll manage to master the controls in short order.

The lack of arrow keys may severely impact Twitter aficionados using the browser. The finite length of the fixed-width update field on Twitter prevents scrolling back or forth through a tweet within the field should you need to edit or correct a typo, for example. I find this to be a major pain in the ass, quite frankly, as I am just becoming accustomed to the new keyboard. It's slightly different from my happily departed Q and from my work Crackberry. Maybe I just need to read the manual.

On the plus side, the "@" key next to the spacebar represents a QWERTY revolution in the era of Twitter. No need to hit Shift or Alt. Yay! Love this!

Texting is intriguing. On the Moto Q, I could easily send a single text to multiple, chosen recipients. I've sent 23 text messages from my Pre today. I like that it groups text strings by contact, but sometimes I found myself wishing I could blast a handful of select people as I could on the Q. That made making arrangements convenient. I guess I'll have to rely on Twitter. If my 300+ followers are enlightened regarding my presence at a particular event when I know that only five are planning to attend, I apologize in advance. [Again, maybe I need to read the manual.] Can't wait to see the new Twitter app, by the way!

The Touch Factor
Here's a suggestion for a product line extension/accessory, Palm. How about a thimble with a 1-cm stylus at the tip? That would certainly help users like me with fat fingers to be much more accurate in our tapping, despite its inherent impracticality. As it is, the surface area of my thumb or even the tip of my fingers prove to be too large to quickly access a button when the view is set to normal size. It wouldn't be nearly as geeky as the pretentious, Borg-ish Bluetooth earpieces. I am truly half joking about this. All of this. Half joking. (More than half, about Bluetooth.) Think about it, Palm.

Physical Compatibility (Phone Sex)
The Pre's form factor could stand some improvement. It's sleek all around, and that’s sexy. But as a result, it doesn't lend itself to a simple thumb push from the side to expose the underlying keyboard. I'd rather a pad on either side of the screen so that I don't need to leave thumb prints on the viewing area each of the 20,000 times I am certain to open it before "next new gadget do we part." I do like that it locks into place when extended. I hope that feature doesn’t disappear through normal wear. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Once the Pre sleeps, you would think that pressing the button at the bottom of the screen would wake it up while in its closed position. It does not. You need to slide the screen up and press a key on the keypad. That's unfortunate.

A tiny piece of plastic molded to fit the shell and anchored by a small plastic "wire" conceals the port used to charge the Pre. I can see this breaking off completely by accident or by wear in the first eight months of use.

As I said, if you've not used an iPhone before, manipulating the screen with brushes of a thumb or using fingers to zoom in or out takes some getting used to.

The Nuptials
I’m happy to say that the misers in the deep, dank bowels of the Sprint campus have taken pity on me and upgraded my data plan in such a way that my monthly bill will remain exactly the same. I would expect as much given my loyalty despite many (some soon-to-be-resolved) inconveniences and periods of angst. Thank you for that.

I've often wondered who "those people" are that, for whatever provider, confabulate the "plans" that seem to bleed our cash. I surmise that they all work at Area 51. In this case, I am satisfied that I can tolerate the new arrangement. I remain mystified by the whole concept of "rebates" and why it takes 6-8 weeks as I was told, in this day and age, to cut a check for $100. Really? You can't just have it credited to my account by 5:00 p.m. on Monday? Is it that complicated?

The Future
All in all, I look forward to a long and loving experience with the Pre. It's not perfect for my needs, but what device truly is? I'll learn to love its peccadillos. That's what a relationship is about, right?

I have much to explore yet. These are my initial thoughts after a few hours of use. If any of you find this useful, please feel free to comment.


Jill Ducey said...

Mike I have yet to open mine. I think I will wait until I am well rested tomorrow. Weird eh? I am kinda of glad I have to slide it open to wake it up. I like to be able to "lock" my phone and it really does compare to the slide to unlock aggravation of my iPod Touch. Since you aren't familiar with that Touch or iPhone it goes something like...I am at the gym and I need to adjust the volume. I touch the center button (or power) then I need to slide to unlock on the touch screen then I can adjust the volume if I wasn't messing with another app before it went to sleep. Oh the newer models have side buttons for volume but say I want to pause a podcast while driving? Same routine.

No, nothing is perfect yet I still use my Palm Zire 71 to manage my bank accounts and passwords with Splash Wallet. The 71 has a slide camera much like the Pre keyboard and after 5ish years of use it works flawlessly.

I too will be waiting on a Twitter app. Let me know what you find.

teaike said...

there is actually a twitter app in the app catalogue called tweed. and you can wake up the screen by pressing the power button in the upper right corner. hope this helps

wrytir said...

Thanks, teaike. After posting, I opened the manual and saw that the power button wakes the Pre. That's a big, semantic improvement over the Q which required pressing the "off" button to turn on the phone. That always bothered me on one level.

I haven't gotten into the nuts and bolts (apps) yet to find Tweed. Thanks for that tip, too. I'll check it out in the morning, er, in a few hours.