So I’ve had my Palm Pre for about 4 days now, replacing the dinosaur of a Motorola which I used prior, who’s screen had cracked and which crashed and froze on an almost hourly basis.
The main appeal of the Pre, for me, was WebOS. As a web programmer, dangling the carrot of coding embedded apps with my existing skill set is a tempting one (and the same reason that I kinda liked Konfabulator/Yahoo! Widgets). But I’ll get to my experience thus far developing for it in another post.
The physical phone itself is very nice, especially when it’s closed. It’s just satisfying to hold, and doesn’t feel bulky at all, even in your pocket. The screen is only a tiny bit smaller than the iPhone, a difference which I can more than live with, and I like having a physical keyboard. I dislike the portrait keyboard though. Every time I use it I can’t help but feel a little cramped, and I have small hands to begin with. A Landscape slider would’ve been way more comfortable. The keys themselves feel a bit too soft too. I’d have preferred harder keys, as I fear these will wear down much faster, since the portrait slider configuration means they’re smaller, and I have to hit them with my fingertips. The Ringer Off switch is great though, especially for movies and for the bus (I don’t like waking sleeping people on the express bus with my phone, I think it’s rude).
The multi-tasking is, by far, the best part about the phone in my opinion. The ability to smoothly move to, use, and control apps feels very satisfying and almost cathartic. Synergy, which was also heavily touted, falls flat in my opinion though. Don’t get me wrong, I loved just inputting my Google account info and being done, but as others have mentioned in reviews, it imports ALL of your Google and Facebook contacts, and only merges them on name, not on other reasonable data (like screenname). For me, the biggest annoyance was that it imported my AIM buddy list, which has 200 buddies, half of which are either inactive or I no longer speak to. There’s no option to disable this either. If you sign into AIM, your buddy list is just dumped into the phone. I’ve already organized my Google contacts, and culled my AIM buddy list as a result, and I’m just not going to add my facebook account, but I’ll get to that in a second.
You see, my primary problem with the Contacts list is the inability to organize contacts by group. So while even 7 year old phone have friends, family, etc groupings, the Pre does not, even if they exist in your Google contact list. I can only group contacts by Company, and even then, I can’t collapse that group, so I have all my former coworkers taking up tons of space at the top of my contacts list, with no way to move them out of the way or close the group if I don’t use it often. Don’t get me wrong, I could just search for my contact, but I don’t always want to have to open the keyboard to do so, especially when the fix for saving much of the room would simply require replacing the “divider” widget, with the “collapsible divider” widget. It’s literally a 2 second god damned job.
There’s more but that’s all I really wanted to talk about at the moment. I just finished working on version 0.1 of the app I’m writing today, so I’m kinda happy about it so far. I’ll describe it a bit later on when I have some more free time.