Saturday, June 6, 2009

Palm Pre Launch Day - A retrospective

Well, here I sit 12 hours after obtaining the hottest new gadget of the day - the Palm Pre. - Am I glad I did it ? - Not really,,, Am I sorry I did it ? - No, I'm not sorry either.

When I first heard Palm had a new phone coming out at CES 2009, I thought - "Yawwn." - I don't really miss my Treo 650, but it was my first mobile-mail device and it deserves a spot in my gadget museum.

WebOS - What on earth are they thinking... WinMob, Blackberry, Android, Symbian and,,, oh-yeah iPhone OS. - Does Palm really believe we need yet another OS to need to write apps for ? - Please !

Then came Josh Topolsky on Jimmy Fallon and something clicked. - Wow, there is excitement, buzz, talk about a new gadget, and best of all - IT ISN'T APPLE !!!! Don't get me wrong, this blog is being typed on a MacBook Air, but I really am getting a little tired of Apple being what every possible technology innovation is compared to. - Bring on Google, C'mon Palm - and oh, by the way - do you have a Flip! camera yet ? - If not, go buy one now... please :-)

The Decision
Kristen broke her phone a few months ago and has been limping along on an old Motorola Razr/Krzr. - She's forgotten her phone so many times recently that I told her, "You need to have a relationship with your phone so you don't forget it" - referring to me and my iPhone. - She said she wanted a real keyboard (she has an iPod Touch) and I said - Oooohh, so you want the Pre ? (she showed no opposition and mild interest, so the deal was done...)

This meant I'd be leaving Verizon before our contract is up, at least for her phone - so I called to verify costs and all seemed reasonable. (I know a thing or two about ETF's from my iPhone days). - So today, June 6th couldn't come quickly enough to get the new family member.

Waiting in Line
Wide awake at 6am, I got ready and headed off to the local Sprint corporate/retail store by about 6:20am. I was #7 in line. - It was general chatter about blog postings and rumors for the next 90 mins, when the attention turned towards our goal.

The Sprint employee emerged to set out balloons & pass out sheets of paper with a number on it. #3 was buying 2 phones, so I got Pre #8. - They warned us that we'd need to wait outside while they kept staff ratios in check. - At 8am (not a minute sooner) - #1-5 entered.

After a full hour with #1-#5 in the store, #6 & I finally got to go in and play with their 2 demo units for 15 minutes. - Then 15 minutes later They rang up my Pre, Touchstone & car-charger (while I grabbed cookies for those still waiting outside) and off I went.

It wasn't as magical as I'd hoped. - The Sprint person already cracked the seal and we were in a hurry to an appointment and I wanted the battery to charge while I was away. - That's when I found out about the extra-sticky base on the Touchstone. - I guess it's kinda cool :-/

First Impressions
  • Sharp Plastic
  • Hard to open/close the slider
  • Fingerprint City
  • Wow, Apple must really own those multitouch patents
  • Small display
  • Only 3/5 bars
Sure, it's neat - don't get me wrong. - But the Industrial Design excels while the mechanicals and weight left me wishing for more.

WebOS & Setup for use at Work
Associated to our WPA2/Enterprise (PEAP) wireless over ECT - No problem !
Exchange ActiveSync - seemed to go with no problem, but it turns out this is a near fatal-flaw in this 1.0 release of WebOS/Synergy
Personal IMAP & Yahoo mail (this is Kristen's after all) setup easily.

While driving to another appointment accepted the update to WebOS 1.02 (67mb). It timed out over wifi - but finally prompted to install while we were in motion. It took 10 mins, but went fine.

We noticed some signal issues when Kristen got her first call (Hey Katie!). - Not sure yet how much talking on the deck helped or not. - We're still at very low minute usage.

Speaking of the minute plans,,, As someone leaving Verizon, I was pleasantly surprised that Sprint gives you 7pm-7am for nights/weekends, and TeleNav-based turn by turn navigation as well as "Sprint TV & Sprint Radio" which are included for nothing extra/month...

Oh, and it's Navigational maps are in 3D vs. iPhone's Google Maps-only 2D - nice !

Top Complaint -
  1. Exchange ActiveSync MUST get working and fast. - I'll talk to some folks closer to the EAS stuff at work to see if we can identify if it is as I expect...

  2. The slide out keyboard mechanical feels plasticy/cheap.

  3. 3/5 bars in the house : I'd hate to pay $5 a month for the Femtocell (AIRave)

  4. NO Tethering-Hello !?! C'mon Sprint, turn it BACK on as it was listed as a feature leading up to launch

  5. Battery life - 12 hours of modest usage (mainly data- not voice,
Top Faves -
  1. Synergy - Once I am able to get Exchange into this, I really like the unified & grouped view of all mail accounts

  2. Gosh that keyboard is nice to have back - not as great feeling as a Blackberry, but solid

  3. Brilliant display/resolution UI

  4. Flash on the camera - excellent

  5. Nice that it has a standard micro-USB port along with the Touchstone - C'mon Apple, Play nice someday eh?
I'm sure other things will arise over time, but for now - that's the summary of Day-1.

Prefully yours,