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Handhelds Cellphones Software Hardware Linux

Palm Pre Reviewed 144

Posted by timothy
from the in-advance dept.
mlingojones writes "The Palm Pre doesn't come out until June 6th, but the Boy Genius Report not only got their hands on one but also posted a review of it. They liked webOS, but not the hardware (especially the keyboard). Overall, they feel that 'once people are able to play a real unit themselves, there will be more than a lot of happy Palm Pre customers.'" On the downside, this review says the keyboard is lousy.
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Palm Pre Reviewed

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  • vs iPhone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Norsefire (1494323) * on Saturday May 30, 2009 @06:08PM (#28152965) Journal
    After reading the review and watching this video [youtube.com] I'm disliking my iPhone even more. Mulitasking alone sets it above the iPhone; it's very frustrating having to close and reopen applications anytime you want to do something, however I frequently have iPhone apps crash due to memory shortage so I have to wonder how stable it is with multiple apps open. The keyboard does look like a deal breaker though, granted the iPhone's keyboard isn't perfect and even less so when the iPhone assumes you're a moron that can't type and "corrects" what you meant to type with a completely different word (if I wanted the word it suggested I should have to press what comes up to select it, not the other way round). I doubt it will be an "iPhone killer" though, not because it's an inferior product but because the iPhone already has a hugely established userbase.
    • by goldaryn (834427)
      > this video

      0:38: "It's got Linux at the heart of it's operating system"

      I don't know whether to be confused or happy, help!

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WebOS [wikipedia.org]
    • by Santana (103744) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @06:23PM (#28153115) Homepage

      Autocorrection can be disabled, you know.

      iPhone OS is Mac OS X core. I does multitask, right now.

      There's this random application crashing sometimes, certainly. I wonder how you get to know it's about lack of memory and not badly written code.

      Anyways, if you're going to throw away your iPhone, just let me know where.

      • Re:vs iPhone (Score:4, Informative)

        by The Qube (749) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @06:44PM (#28153301)
        I'm an iPhone developer and memory crashes are all to do with badly written code. iPhone SDK has fantastic debugging capabilities that let you catch memory leaks and easily fix them - much better than any other mobile platform SDK I've ever worked with. The problem is ultimately that everyone wants to be an iPhone developer and make millions in the App Store after picking up a book and watching an online tutorial or two, without knowing a single thing about development outside of a web scripting language or two.
        Apple also used to be really strict about testing for this during the app approval process, but it looks like they relaxed the standards. Hmm, I wonder why... I've recently seen apps which crash after 3-4 minutes of use.
        By the way, check out my first app - for the cricket lovers around the world: Virtual Cricket for iPhone [virtualcricket.mobi]
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fishthegeek (943099)

      I have to wonder how stable it is with multiple apps open.

      My understanding is that the applications (initially anyway) are all CSS, HTML, and Javascript. The Pre isn't multi-tasking several apps, but running webkit in multiple threads. Stability shouldn't be a problem.

      • Native... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DrYak (748999)

        My understanding is that the applications (initially anyway) are all CSS, HTML, and Javascript.

        Most of them, but not all.
        Several developers have had special VIP access to build native applications.
        That includes Classic [motionapps.com] a compatibility layer to run old PalmOS 5 applications on Palm Pre.
        What isn't know if only a select few developers will be authorised to produce native apps, or if opensource developers will get to write native applications when needed (this will be interesting for a couple of resource intensive applications such as media players and emulators).

    • Re:vs iPhone (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sootman (158191) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @06:42PM (#28153283) Homepage Journal

      ... the iPhone's keyboard isn't perfect and even less so when the iPhone assumes you're a moron that can't type and "corrects" what you meant to type with a completely different word...

      Well, maybe your phone is right about you being a moron, because you can go to Settings -> General -> Keyboard and turn off auto-correction.

      Owning a BlackBerry (work) and an iPhone (mine) I infinitely prefer the iPhone's keyboard. (And before my iPhone I had two Nokias with physical QWERTY keyboards so I'm not just preferring the iPhone's because it was my first exposure to a full keyboard on a phone.) You can type faster and with a lighter touch since you don't have to physically press each key, and holding the phone with one hand and typing with that thumb is a whole lot easier. And whoever thought of putting keys in anything but a straight line (BlackBerry Curve 8830, Palm Pre, and the number pads on my old Nokias) should be shot.

      That said, I really hope Apple allows background apps soon, if for nothing other than Undercover. [orbicule.com] The Pre looks nice and they're doing some cool things but I won't be getting one since a) I don't have any worthwhile contacts in social sites that I need my phone to automagically gather and b) I don't need to carry around a calendar. Mainly, I'm happy that the Pre is out to give Apple some much-needed competition and force issues like MMS, video recording, background apps, etc.

      • ... the iPhone's keyboard isn't perfect and even less so when the iPhone assumes you're a moron that can't type and "corrects" what you meant to type with a completely different word...

        Well, maybe your phone is right about you being a moron, because you can go to Settings -> General -> Keyboard and turn off auto-correction.

        Ah, so it is default now? You used to have to jailbreak it and use an app from Cydia to do it. See. [google.co.nz]

      • by samkass (174571)

        Mainly, I'm happy that the Pre is out to give Apple some much-needed competition and force issues like MMS, video recording, background apps, etc.

        Pre "force issues"? Those are all features that are widely reported to be part of the 3.0 release coming at the annual WWDC. I'm sure Apple is tracking the Pre closely, but the Pre is mostly winning on pre-announcement of features so far. In terms of what you can actually buy today, obviously the iPhone wins since the Pre doesn't actually exist yet. And when it's released, we'll have to compare it against the iPhone that will also be released about the same time.

        • by dwater (72834)

          >> MMS, video recording, background apps,
          > Pre "force issues"? Those are all features that are widely reported to be part of the 3.0 release coming at the annual WWDC ...and they're standard features on almost all current phones, most notably Series40 and S60 which is the most ubiquitous phone OS at the moment.

          I can't see Apple ever admitting they're wrong about anything, but they very often do an about turn if the feel it necessary. I still feel like they think they know better than me, so I won't

        • but the Pre is mostly winning on pre-announcement of features so far

          Bad Palm.

          Pre "force issues"? Those are all features that are widely reported to be part of the 3.0 release coming at the annual WWDC.

          Good Apple.

          Can you smell your bias?

    • I'm sure for some apps, having to re-open it is a real pain. But most of the apps I use most of the time are very fast. I'm glad Apple have gone the "no multitasking" route, as it has forced developers to make their applications load quickly. Yeah, for some apps, either due to poor developers or the nature of the app, no multitasking is a serious problem. But I hear there is a solution in the works, and I hope the solution is done in such a way that most apps will still load fast and only the apps that real

  • summary... (Score:3, Informative)

    by sveard (1076275) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @06:16PM (#28153049) Homepage

    The hardware is bad. The keyboard doubly so.

    • Re:summary... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ceoyoyo (59147) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @06:21PM (#28153103)

      I didn't understand the review. They figure everyone is going to love the Pre but the device feels badly put together and cheap, the keyboard is crap, the screen (the best feature) is "almost as good" as an iPhone, the zoom (a pretty critical feature in a small screen browser) doesn't work well and there are no apps. The only positive thing they really had to say seemed to be that it's small. But then, that means the screen is small too.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        the world of cell phones there's _always_ something about the device that doesn't measure up to expectations. It probably the reason why no cell phone has ever managed to achieve perfect review scores across the board. However one thing can be certain, a solid software platform gives this thing at least some promise, as the hardware can be improved fairly easily as opposed to taking an entirely new software direction after the fact.
      • by nurb432 (527695)

        Don't forget overpriced..

      • No, what they did was get their hands on a PRE-PRODUCTION model, and then start complaining about it as if it were the final product version, which by all accounts feels much improved. So in other words, they're full of shit, but wanted to be the first ones with a story out.
  • Its keyboard may be lousy, but at least there's a physical keyboard.

    On another note, the Palm Pre has been very hyped up, especially by Engadget. It will be interesting to see how it'll hold up.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What do you mean "at least there's a physical keyboard"? Are you talking about the iPhone? Because that's pretty much the only phone with a non-physical keyboard. Yeah the iPhone sucks but most people use better phones like Nokia N63 (and friends) or Blackberry.

  • by Nazlfrag (1035012) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @06:18PM (#28153065) Journal

    Palm Pre on Sprint [sprint.com]

    It's just... it's unspeakably horrific.

    • by mikesd81 (518581)
      I don't know about blinded, but damn that's super busy. Actually it's a pretty useless website that doesn't do anything but mumble some useless facts. They really should be shot for that.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by markdavis (642305)

        > Actually it's a pretty useless website that doesn't do anything but mumble some useless facts.

        Um, welcome to Marketing 101.
        And, apparently, the number one use for Flash on websites. It seems that [generally] the more Flash a site or page has, the more useless the content is likely to be to the user.

        For *useful* information about the Palm Pre, I suggest going to http://www.precentral.net/ [precentral.net] They are a little hyper to post just about everything known to man about the Pre, but there is no lack of useful

      • Just run it using Adobe Flash 10 - it will just crash after 30 seconds or so. Not too bad.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Looks like the information overload is deliberate. Probably a bad message since the trend nowadays is towards making your life simpler, but it's not just a matter of amateur hour design.

      • Looks like they are thinking along similar lines to the google wave thing. Its push rather than pull. Kind of like the control panel interfaces favoured by managers at my work place.
    • by hwyhobo (1420503)

      I am not enamored with that website, but the whole point of it is multitasking. That's how they're trying to sell the Pre and distinguish it from competition. I doubt anyone actually expects you to follow any of the little widgets, just to be impressed by their sheer number.

  • The keyboard (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mikesd81 (518581) <mikesd1.verizon@net> on Saturday May 30, 2009 @06:19PM (#28153075) Homepage

    On the downside, this review says the keyboard is lousy.

    Yup. I got that from the first time they mentioned it in the summary. But anyway. So I clicked on the link actually. And the review isn't really worth anything since they couldn't actually use the phone as, well, a phone. Looking at the picture of the keyboard, I have to agree that it would probably suck to use. And in my opinion that's a deal breaker. the buttons are really close together [boygeniusreport.com], but that's expected for such a narrow a phone. It probably should have had the keyboard come out to the side and use the phone in a landscape position. It's also quite apparent this guy is biased towards the Blackberry.

    • Re:The keyboard (Score:4, Interesting)

      by markdavis (642305) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @06:27PM (#28153153)

      I suspect the keyboard is going to be extremely similar to the Treo line (it certainly looks like it).

      My long experience with Treo's is- yes, the keys are close together, but the keyboard really does work OK for thumb-entry. The Pre's version is nearly identical, just sunken (which might be a problem for some people). That said, I agree with you that it probably would have been better had it slid out the long side (landscape).

      There are plenty of reviews of the Pre. The one sited by Slashdot is probably one of the least useful.

      • I like my Treo 700P, but I hate the keyboard. The rounded buttons are hard to hit authoritatively. I find I have to use the edge of my thumb. I much prefer flatter or even cupped keys like the Blackbarry (earlier ones).
    • Pitty they don't actually compare it to another Palm keyboard. I know what the Treo 600 is like. If I hadn't decided to go with the iPhone, I'd be looking at the Pre and comparing it to the 600.

  • Pre pre (Score:5, Funny)

    by slapout (93640) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @06:27PM (#28153151)

    So this is a Pre-Palm Pre review.

    • Probably very pre for me. I have never owned a smart phone but this one has me interested because I have been a palm owner for a long time. Unfortunately the European version with GSM looks like being delayed several months, then it will be the end of this year when it turns up in Australia.

      By that time I will probably have bought a cheap Samsung android phone.
  • First, why no phone test. Did they not have a SIM card? Do they not have a mobile account?

    Second, the snipe a Palm at the end was not professional. Palm has produced serious hardware, the Palm V for instance. But to produce serious hardware someone needs to pay serious prices. One issue is that Palm is not longer a leader in innovation, and no longer goes after the market that will pay those prices. So, it is now down to commodity hardware, a tought fight to win.

    Third, who knows what the applicati

    • No GSM, no SIM (Score:3, Informative)

      by SuperKendall (25149)

      First, why no phone test. Did they not have a SIM card?

      They may have but the phone is not a GSM phone. You cannot use a SIM with it.

      Second, the snipe a Palm at the end was not professional. Palm has produced serious hardware, the Palm V for instance. But to produce serious hardware someone needs to pay serious prices. One issue is that Palm is not longer a leader in innovation, and no longer goes after the market that will pay those prices. So, it is now down to commodity hardware, a tought fight to win.

      I

    • by NeuroKoan (12458)

      Being CDMA only (for the time being) there are no SIM cards to swap. To activate the phone on Sprint's network (or any other CDMA network for that matter) they would have to take it into a store. That's probably why there wasn't a phone test yet.

      • by markdavis (642305)

        >To activate the phone on Sprint's network (or any other CDMA network for that matter) they would have to take it into a store.

        I don't believe that is correct at all. Sprint can and will activate their phones via the phone. You don't have to take it into a store.... they just need to know the ESN you read to them and then they give you a code. Done.

        Granted, I much prefer the GSM/SIM type concept, but Sprint and Verizon don't do that. In any case, it is probably a good betn there will be a GSM version

  • After using a Samsung SCH-u740 (they call it the Alias now I believe) for the past 2 years I'm sure I'll have no problems with the Pre keyboard, it actually looks quite roomy.
  • A 6-month exclusivity on Sprint means many people won't purchase one right away. That's a shame since I think it fits the definition of a "smart phone" much closer than anything else out there right now, including the iPhone, which I happen to own. I don't have a problem with subsidized hardware in exchange for extending your contract, but why limit it to a single CDMA carrier?

    Palm needs to get the pre adopted in large numbers and at a quick pace, otherwise it might be left behind as a promising also-ran to

    • by markdavis (642305) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @09:10PM (#28154455)

      > A 6-month exclusivity on Sprint means many people won't purchase one right away.
      > why limit it to a single CDMA carrier?

      Um... think about what you just said for a few minutes. The iPhone is *STILL* exclusive to AT&T. Didn't seem to kill the iPhone. The G1/Android is effectively exclusive to T-Mobile. There are lots of phones that are introduced to a single carrier for a while after launch. I am not saying I like this behavior- I think phones should be completely decoupled from carriers, completely (and without subsidies and contracts). But this is certainly nothing new or unusual. Sprint has always been Palm's greatest champion, so it is only logical they would work out a deal for exclusivity for a while (most people think it will be less than a year).

      Sprint needs Palm just as much as Palm needs Sprint- they are both "gambling" on each other. Hopefully they will both do well for taking the chance.

      • The iPhone is *STILL* exclusive to AT&T. Didn't seem to kill the iPhone. The G1/Android is effectively exclusive to T-Mobile.

        I don't think it was the decision of being exclusive to a single carrier that troubled the GP about the Pre. I believe it was the carrier they decided to be exclusive with.

        Sprint is the Chrysler of wireless...

        • by markdavis (642305)

          In most ways, Sprint is no worse than any other wireless carrier. They have a fast and reliable network with excellent coverage, great roaming agreements, and reasonable rates. But pretty bad customer service. But, then, I hear complaints about customer service from people using EVERY cell provider.

  • I still haven't heard anything about IMAP/SSL and XMPP/SSL support. How does the calendar sync? Please be iCal or CalDAV. I'm going to wait for an emulator to be released before buying this phone so I can at least verify they have adequate software for email and chat.

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