Palm Pre Calendar application is weak

Palm Pre Calendar application is weak

Summary: Palm was the leader for managing your PIM data (calendar, contacts, tasks) and many people today still use Palm devices that are not phone-enabled just for these functions. Given that PIM was a strong suit of the Palm branding, I am quite surprised with some of the limiting functionality in the integrated PIM apps found on the Pre in WebOS. Palm has had quite some time to optimize their own integrated PIM suite and left out several parts that current Palm OS owners have come to rely on.


Palm was the leader for managing your PIM data (calendar, contacts, tasks) and many people today still use Palm devices that are not phone-enabled just for these functions. Given that PIM was a strong suit of the Palm branding, I am quite surprised with some of the limiting functionality in the integrated PIM apps found on the Pre in WebOS. Palm has had quite some time to optimize their own integrated PIM suite and left out several parts that current Palm OS owners have come to rely on.

Calendar: IMHO, the Calendar application on the Pre is one of the weakest aspects of the device and I am very disappointed with it. While it works with the Synergy technology to show you several of your calendars (Google, Exchange, and Facebook) where each data source is color-coded, that is about as far as it goes for cool, useful features. You can perform a single one-way transfer of your calendar, contacts, tasks, and memos from Outlook, Palm Desktop, or iCal, but then there is no further capability to sync back with these applications. You will need to get a hosted Exchange account or sync with other 3rd party solutions to Google Calendar to sync your calendar to anything.

I do have an Exchange server at work so I do get full calendar syncing on the Pre. However, I like to create private appointments for my personal calendar so co-workers don't see all the activities my family has planned and other appointments they do not need to see. On the Palm OS, and other mobile operating systems, this is supported when you create an appointment. This is not supported on the Pre though so every appointment you create via your Exchange account is viewable by others on your server.

When you create an appointment you can add a name, place, time, recurrence, set a reminder, and add notes. There is also no category support in the calendar application. You cannot create meetings with people on your Exchange server, but you can accept or reject appointments sent to you (much like the iPhone).

Palm also showed off the cool accordian-style look and feel to the Calendar, but this only appears if you have more than 3 hours between appointments. You can spoof the calendar and make it much more useful if you create daily recurring appointments to start and end your day (thanks to a reader on jkOnTheRun for this handy tip).

There are daily, week, and month views in the Calendar, but no Agenda view that shows you just your appointments for the next few days like we see on many devices. The week and month views are also basically useless in that neither actually shows you any details and just shows bars if something is scheduled. You have to always go into the daily view to see what is going on for that day. I would like to see a tap and hold, tap, or small preview window to at least show the appointment name and time (again like what we see on other mobile devices).

Contacts: The Contacts application is full featured with several fields available for entering data for your contacts, including custom ringtones for people, multiple email, IM, and URL fields for people, The only piece I do not see in Contacts is category support, which may be pretty major for those who want to keep business and personal contacts completely separate.

Tasks: Tasks are a pretty basic function to begin with and the Pre Tasks application seems just fine with fields for name, priority, due date, and notes. Again, categories does not seem to be supported.

I think the Calendar application needs some work to be even at least as good as it is on the Palm OS right now. Are there other aspects of the PIM suite you are concerned about on the Pre?

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Operating Systems, Software, Wi-Fi

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  • Using Google makes it better

    I agree there are some improvements to be made to the app, but I have quite the issues you do because I'm willing to use Google calendar.

    I use Google for personal events or events in various "categories" (i.e. different calendars), and use the Exchange account for work. I can then sync everything from the Pre to the cloud, and personal items don't appear to work colleagues.

    If I wanted to sync everything into one calendar (I don't), I could use various desktop programs to sync Outlook with my Google calendar.

    It does mean I can't do EVERYTHING in Outlook, and will be more of an issue people without access to Google at work. For a first start though, I'd rate the calendar a "B".
  • RE: Palm Pre Calendar application is weak

    Crazy talk. If Pre is weak then which mobile phone is
    good? This is much better than the Pearl or the iPhone.

  • RE: Palm Pre Calendar application is weak

    I agree completely. I just got the pre after using the Palm Treo 650 for almost 3 years. I used the agenda view to plan my day which included tasks due that day as well as color coding of categories so it was simple to see what was a work appt, a personal appt, etc. I used my Treo more for the calendar and tasks than for the actual phone itself. I am finding myself very lost with the pre right now. I was at a drs appt and tried to make another appt and found it very difficult to quickly find a day I had free in the next month. All I saw was purple blobs on the month view and I couldn't advance my daily view a week at a time like I used to be able to with the Treo. The tasks app is useless right now. You can't sort by date so it is next to impossible to see what I need to do each day. I have tasks setup for things days, weeks and years in advance and I can no longer use this function as is.
  • RE: Palm Pre Calendar application is weak

    I cannot get my calendar to sync with exchange, so I will have to agree it is weak, One whole day I have spent trying to troubleshoot between Palm and my exchange service. Mail is syncing, contacts etc. but not my calendar. What is even more strange, appointments that I put in from my old treo show but nothing from outlook. Any help would be appreciated.
  • RE: Palm Pre Calendar application is weak

    I'm not surprised.

    Don't get me wrong: I'm a big Palm fan and intend to get the Pre as soon as possible. But the Palm's stock PIM apps have always been pretty basic. Palm only [i]really[/i] stepped up their game when 3rd party developers started pumping out good calendar apps (e.g., Agendus and DateBk).

    From what I've read, Agendus will start working on a port once the SDK is released. I'm not sure about DateBk.

    Anyway, the point is that for most of its history, Palm has relied on third parties for the more sophisticated PIM applications. They've mainly been good at mastering the basics.

    Having said that, I [i]am[/i] somewhat surprised you can't even categorize your calendar or memos. Palms have always had that, that I can remember...
  • RE: Palm Pre Calendar application is weak

    the tasks app is terrible. it is way worse than the old Palm OS tasks app, which would let you view tasks by date range, such as just tasks due today, those due in the next 7 daysy, and all dates in the future. the new Web OS tasks app doesn't even let you sort the tasks by date.

    and the worst part is that the tasks app doesn't sync with anything at all. terrible!
  • Tasks do support "categories" through task lists

    I saw you comment that the task app doesn't support categories. That's not exactly true. You can create task lists to organize your tasks.

    One gripe though: When assigning the date beyond "Today," "Tomorrow," etc., it doesn't pull up a mini-calendar to allow you to select the date. You have a slot machine type interface to select the month, day, and year. That's all great if you know the date of the last Saturday of July, as an example. That, to me, is a HUGE ding on the app. Having the calendar with the current day highlighted is a MUST.
  • RE: Palm Pre Calendar application is weak

    I also found it limiting that you can't edit some of the commonly used fields in a Calendar event (e.g., categories and private event). These are probably two of the most important fields that I use for all my calendar events.
  • Finally someone did this NEEDED review

    I have been sick of all the reviews that just skimmed over the exchange sync. I have been using the Palm OS for over 5 years and found it extremely useful when I was syncing categories, memos w/categories, syncing flags on email messages. Also probably the most important time saver was when the email notification on the phone was cleared once I read the email using outlook on a PC. This were all lost when I went to the Pre which was a huge let down for me. I expected much more and I WILL consider other phones if Palm does not improve this functionality. If they are looking to target business people this is not the way to impress them.
    • Pre's exchange compatibility

      Agreed that the exchange compatibility of Pre has been glossed over in all reviews. I haven't purchased Pre yet but wanted to know exchange abilities before I purchased. Most reviews don't talk about it and salespersons don't know much about these functions. I do most of my calendar additions/changes on desktop Outlook rather than handheld so I don't need Pre's calendar to be perfect. Separating personal and work calendar would be nice and other functions on the Treo. I really demand good Outlook mail and calendar synching so if that works, that's good enough. I tested the synching at a local radioshack and it seemed to work well after 5-10 minutes of syncing. (I have a large inbox, lots of contacts) [I deleted the account after testing of course] So I can live with Pre's outlook compatibility as it is. I could care less about tasks but notes would be nice also. Hopefully with time calendar will improve or there will be a good 3rd party app.
  • RE: Palm Pre Calendar application is weak

    I realized that my palm calendar synced my outlook birthday dates a day before the actual birthdays. I can't remember birthdays so I heavily rely on the reminders and I want them to be accurate. I hope this is fixed soon. Do you know how to fix it?
  • RE: Palm Pre Calendar application is weak

    I agree with this post...Does anyone know if the pre has the ability to call directly from a phone listed in a calendar entry, for example a conference call-in number? I know you can copy and paste but in the past the number would be recognized and you could just click on it. Thoughts?
  • RE: Palm Pre Calendar application is weak

    Thank you SO much for this review. I've been a Palm user for
    years (all non-phone devices, I know, how old school of me!)
    because the time management functions of the PalmOS just
    worked so well for me, and I am a time management junkie!
    I'm also disappointed by the time management capacity of
    the Pre and honestly of all other SmartPhones. I have been
    wanting to get a Pre but really I don't know if I can sacrifice
    time management for wifi, Synergy and other coolness--and
    really, why should I?
  • RE: Palm Pre Calendar application is weak

    I recently was in a Bell Mobility boutique to check out the new Pre. I had heard so much about it, and that it has the best of both world, from the iPhone`s and Blackberry. I am a Blackberry user because I need it for my business and it does the job real nice and I was very disapointed to see that the Pre was so weak on the Calendar feature.

    Can`t even mark an event privat or invite people from you contact list to a meeting. For now, I consider it as good as an iPhone but still years behind my Blackberry Curve.
  • RE: Palm Pre Calendar application is weak

    i agree the calender is very weak.i want to be able to email an event to people, get notification of events/ birthdays..catagories is a major plus..OS on the PRE and it will be great device..
  • RE: Palm Pre Calendar application is weak

    I also find the Calendar uncomfortable, specially coming from the previous Palm OS environment where creating and editing an event was very fast (one soft button for new event and a single window for all the details. With the Palm Pre, for starters, you need to wait 3 seconds to access the Calendar via soft button, then press the Calendar launching button, then press the New Event option, then Press Event option, then choose the time configuration, then get out and write the name of event, then if you want other configurations such as iteration, venue, etc.., you need to access in each sub-window to define the details.... it's all just too complicated, too Windows style ! Where is the easy and pragmatic former Palm style?
  • RE: Palm Pre Calendar application is weak

    OMG ... I have used and loved many different Palm devices over the years with several different operating systems, mainly because of their calendar functions. Therefore, when I purchased the Palm Pre I thought the love would continue. It has not. Why? ?Because of the calendar functions?, that?s why. My personal needs for the calendar on my Palm Pre are somewhat basic. I simply need the device to notify me a week in advance when I have an appointment scheduled. That?s it. Currently, the calendar is only capable of providing only one day advance notice. Right???? I?m not the most savvy cell phone user. But, I?ve always been able to figure out the calendar functions on my other Palm devices over the years. Therefore, I ask, is this a shortcoming of this calendar or am I simply just missing something? Does the calendar on the Palm Pre have the capability to give more advanced notice than just one day? If yes, someone please explain how I can make this setting happen.

    Other than this complaint I love this phone and would hate to give it up because of the calendar. Thank you!
  • Agree, calenday application is week.

    I replaced my Palm Tungsten and Motorola Razr with the Palm Pre Plus. I am disappointed in the calendar system and many other little things, like birthdays from contacts linked to calendar and syncing with Palm Desktop, both ways.