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24 August 2009 @ 02:50 pm
Palm Pre review  
I typed this as an email and then thought perhaps some others would be interested. Also I have yet to find a Livejournal app for the Pre.

Also, internet at home is still down, so no anysize.org/canadia.info/etc. until Etheric shows up and makes it all better. I have set up a status page here: http://carhart.com/~ashi/anysize-status/

Hi! I'm composing this on my Palm Pre. Most of my smart phone experience has been with my 4 previous Palm OS phones.

Built-in Software

There is a lot of great stuff included. The web browser blows the old Palm browsers away. Pages display just like on a computer (unless you use mobile versions), and you can zoom in/out using a 2-finger gesture just like with an iphone. It also displays Japanese sites just fine.

The built-in music player is lovely. It displays album covers if it can find them, and handles Japanese titles too.

The contact list imports automatically from email and instant messaging. If I IM you through Gchat and you go offline, I can choose text from the drop-down and continue the conversation by text message, for example.

A Youtube app is included and works great. Google maps can use the GPS (or cell tower triangulation if it can't get to GPS) to show where you are. I used it on the train and saw where I was going. The camera has an LED light for a simple flash.

I verified wifi works though mostly used the cell network. I haven't gotten around to Bluetooth.

Sprint navigation is included. I'm not in the habit of using GPS navigation, but it's nice to have the option in case I get lost. I used it Saturday to go to a house I've only been to a few times.

It also has a pdf viewer.

App Catalog

There isn't a whole lot here yet. I would call this the main weak point so far. Hopefully several great apps are being written as I type. I have two apps for finding nearby food, one for keeping track of gas mileage, and apps for weather, movie showtimes, and wikipedia. Oh and Connect Four.

My old Palm phone has a tethering app, one to use the phone as a card reader, freecell, BART and Caltrain schedule apps, worldclock, bubblewrap, and a movie player.

There is a Classic app that lets you run old Palm OS software, but I think it's $50. I'm still considering it.

I should mention the Pre has 8 gigs built in and no card slot. When you plug it into a computer via USB, you have options to sync, connect as a USB drive, or charge only.

Touchstone: the charging puck

The Pre and the Touchstone were made for each other. It is odd that the Pre doesn't come with the right back cover to use the Touchstone. This comes with the Touchstone. When the Pre sits on it, it displays a clock, and takes calls in speakerphone mode. If it rings and you pick it up off the Touchstone, it answers without any need to press the screen.

Note when you have your ear to the phone, it detects this, blanks the screen, and your ear can't press any buttons.

It is also odd that the Touchstone comes with no cable, and seems to need a Palm branded cable. I tried a generic micro USB cable that works plugged into the phone--going through the Touchstone it keeps charging then stopping, making the Pre repeat the noise indicating it has started charging.

Hacking

There is Linux inside. I was working on getting root access when my home internet died. I look forward to hacking around with it and running some free Linux software. This will help with the current lack of apps.

Conclusion

This phone feels great in my hand and is great to type on. The battery is kind of weak. If you use it a lot, plan to charge it at home, at work, and perhaps in the car. It needs more apps, but has Linux to play with. Oh and you can copy .mp3 files over to use as ring tones, yay.

Todd