Initial Pre thoughts and answers to 11 questions

Summary:I really didn't think I would have a Palm Pre myself to answer the 11 questions I posted a couple days ago, but now that I have one I can provide you with the answers. I also won't post a full review of the Pre here yet since there are several out there that will get you through a first impressions perspective. I plan to test it out some more and offer you with some real-life examples of experiences. Please post any questions you want answered on the Pre and I'll assemble them into future posts to help you out.

I really didn't think I would have a Palm Pre myself to answer the 11 questions I posted a couple days ago, but now that I have one I can provide you with the answers. I also won't post a full review of the Pre here yet since there are several out there that will get you through a first impressions perspective. I plan to test it out some more and offer you with some real-life examples of experiences. Please post any questions you want answered on the Pre and I'll assemble them into future posts to help you out.

11 questions answered: A couple of readers were quick to respond to my questions and I want to thank Cayce and Eric for their personal emails to help me out. I am including some of their experiences, along with my own in the following responses to my 11 questions:

  1. Can you create custom shortcuts using the Pre keyboard to launch applications, browser shortcuts, etc.? Unfortunately, you cannot create these types of shortcuts and the keyboard appears to have very little to do except for enter text. The T-Mobile G1 is fantastic for creating shortcuts to make you much more efficient.
  2. How do you quickly change the phone profile (normal, silent, meeting, etc.)? There is a ringer switch up top, similar to most all Palm Treo devices so you can quickly switch to a silent/vibrate mode. You can also tap the upper right of the display and switch to flight mode.
  3. How do notifications work? Are there indicator lights, pop-ups like on the G1 or iPhone, etc.? There do not appear to be ANY indicator lights (battery, missed call, signal, etc.) on the Pre. Notifications appear similar to the G1, except down at the bottom instead of the top. You can flick the notification to the right to hide/acknowledge the notification too.
  4. Can you tell me more about how well Exchange works and how extensive it is integrated? Can I schedule appointments through my Exchange server? Can I look up people through the Global Address List? Are Tasks and/or Notes synced? Exchange support is decent with email, calendar, tasks, and contacts synced. The calendar is limited and does not let you set private appointments or schedule with coworkers. I have to test if you can accept an appointment like you can on the iPhone. You can look up contacts through the GAL, so that is a nice feature.
  5. Can you show me a Twitter client running on the Pre? There are currently two Twitter clients, Tweed and Spaz. They both seem to have the same functionality, with no way to post photos to Twitter Multiple accounts are supported and they look decent.
  6. How does the Facebook client look and what functions does it support? There is no dedicated Facebook client, but you can sync contacts through Facebook. You can also upload photos to your Facebook account, but there does not appear to be anyway to update your status or view your friends' timeline.
  7. Does it support Windows DRM so I can play Zune tunes like on my Windows Mobile or S60 devices? No, you cannot use your Zune subscription with the Pre.
  8. What happens when you are viewing the web in landscape and you want to enter a URL or a text field? Does the browser auto rotate to portrait so you can use the keyboard? No, you can enter text using the keyboard with the browser appearing in landscape mode. There is no auto switching that forces you back to portrait even though typing on the keyboard in landscape mode is quite awkward.
  9. Can you access the file system on the device so you can do things like send email attachments, unlike the iPhone? Yes, you can add photos, video, documents, and more to email attachments on the Pre.
  10. Is it easy to customize backgrounds? Can you setup custom ringtones using MP3 files? Can you customize these ringtones for different people? Custom backgrounds are easy by just opening an image and setting it as the background. You can also easily choose a MP3 file as a ringtone. Lastly, you can assign specific ringtones to people in the Contacts settings page.
  11. Does it come with a calculator and how does it look on the Pre? It comes with a very basic calculator. I hope to see a scientific calculator released soon so I can perform some engineering calcs.

More initial thoughts: Some other initial experiences I wanted to share with you are as follows:

  • Like the iPhone, you can take screenshots on the Palm Pre using a button combination rather than needing to use a 3rd party application. Simply press orange function, Sym, and P keys and a screenshot will appear in a default screencaptures folder. This isn't the easiest three buttons to press, but it works.
  • Throwing apps up over the top to close them is very cool and fast. Devices like the Pre and G1 really make Windows Mobile and S60 UIs look old and clunky. Thankfully Microsoft has HTC trying to make the UI more like these new operating systems, but when it is built from the ground up like these are they are so much zippier.
  • The calendar is nice for seeing different calendars in a single calendar with color coding, but I want to see pop-ups or some other specific appointment info in the week view and maybe even in the month view. Also, how about an Agenda view?
  • There doesn't seem to be too many apps that work in landscape and like the iPhone I keep rotating the Pre without any change when looking at the Calendar, music player,
  • The photo viewer is almost exactly like the iPhone, but I did find that photos took a few seconds to appear clear when flipping to new photos.
  • There is a lot of jumping back and forth between the display and keyboard and I really wish the Pre had support for shortcuts like the fantastic G1/Google Android support.
  • The Pre keyboard is pretty cramped, but I can adapt to any kind over time. I still think the G1 keyboard blows it out of the water, but it is useful to have a hardware keyboard on the Pre.
  • It is taking me a bit of time to get used to the gesture area and I keep on looking for a back button or other hardware button to navigate. Like the iPhone you touch the display or press the center single button to navigate all around the Pre.
  • There are very few ringtones loaded by default to select from, but it was quite easy to set one of my MP3 files up as a ringtone.
  • The display is beautiful and movies look awesome on the Pre.
  • The available plans seem to be outstanding deals with Sprint TV, NASCAR, Sprint Navigation, unlimited text messaging, and more all included for less than what I pay for my iPhone data plan.

Apps I want to see soon: There are very few apps in the WebOS App Catalog and here are some that I hope to see sooner rather than later to make the device a better value for me:

  • Facebook
  • Evernote
  • Full Documents To Go app for creation and editing
  • Shazam
  • Voice recorder
  • More games
  • Full Laridian and Olive Tree Bible clients
  • WordPress app
  • Video recording
  • Podcast catcher
  • Kindle and other ebook applications
  • VoIP apps like Skype, Fring or Truphone
  • Electronic wallet apps
  • Qik application

Accessories to find: There are a few accessories available for the Pre at launch, but a few I plan to look for now include:

  • A BodyGuardz or Invisible Shield cover for the Pre. I ordered the BodyGuardz because they are cheaper and you get two for less than one Invisible Shield and I have been quite happy with one on my T-Mobile G1.
  • Other cool case options to protect my new device.
  • A 3rd party extended battery from Seidio or other manufacturer.

How about you?: What other applications do you want to see on the Palm Pre? Any accessories you are looking for and if you found something you recommend, what are they?

Topics: iPhone, Hardware, Mobility, Social Enterprise

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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