Storm Damage (stormd) wrote,
Storm Damage
stormd

A week with my new Pre.

I went to NY last week, and lost my BlackBerry Curve (best I could tell it fell out of its holster while riding the Cyclone at Coney Island). I'd been planning to hold out until October to jump from AT&T to Verizon and get one of those new Motorola Sholes Android phones, but this forced my hand, and I had to shop fast. Needed a new phone in a day. My requirements were WiFi, 3g, a good dev community, and a clicky hardware keyboard. I tend to type long emails on my phone and I simply refuse to do it on a sheet of glass. That ruled out iPhone, but left me with Android, Palm and RIM.

The 3g/wifi requirements meant Bold was my only option on BlackBerry though, and not only is it a very bulky device, but it's also very expensive, and for it's price, doesn't even have a touch-screen. I guess the size makes it nicer to type on, but the trackball interface leaves a bit to be desired, especially for browsing.

The only Android slider available is still the G1, which is getting a bit long in the tooth, lacks a headphone jack, and I just wasn't sure about being on T-mo for 3g.

I'd heard horror stories about Sprint's customer service, but pretty good things about their network, and one of my clients, who is a very demanding guy to do business with uses them for all of his employees mobile phones/aircards. I'd also been looking with covetous eyes at the Pre earlier this year, and I loved the hell out of my Tungsten T2 several years ago before I got in to my Curve (which I also quite enjoyed for what it was), so why not. I decided to become a Palm owner again. I stopped by a Radio Shack in Brooklyn the next morning, signed the contract and ported my number. They said it would take 24 to 48 hours for my number to actually start ringing on the phone. Something like 24 to 48 minutes later, the phone rang. It was my mother. Go figure.

I got the phone with about 50% charge on the battery. Needless to say it was completely dead within about 2-3 hours and I was walking around town the rest of the day with a brick in my pocket. I figured it probably just drained the bottom half quickly or I read the meter wrong, and a full charge would help, so I charged it completely overnight that evening, and the next morning, I left my buddy's apartment about 11am with a completely full charge. I barely talked on the phone at all that day, but used gmaps a bit to get around town, wrote a few texts, answered some emails, checked my facebook, etc, and by the time I got to the Yankee stadium at quarter to 6, it shut down for lack of power. I used to be able to let my Curve go without charging for 2 days before it ran out of juice. I was fuming.

Also had my first experiences with the Pre camera. Love the picture quality in general, don't love the interface. No options for changing white balance based on light conditions (even the crappy blackberry camera had that), and the facebook upload interface is crap. It just dumps pictures into the mobile upload gallery with no captions or tags. With the blackberry facebook app, you get an upload confirmation screen that lets you caption pics, add tags to them, and choose what gallery to put them in. This screen is accessible from within the facebook app, or as a menu item from within the blackberry photo browser, or from the camera itself, immediately after you snap a picture. It's extremely convenient. Palm really should implement something this simple in a future WebOS update.

Checked the internet that night, turned off GPS, set screen brightness all the way down, tuned down my email timers, set my roaming on, and the next day I went in to airplane mode every time I went underground, and made it a whole day of touring the city, and got home just as I was losing power. Also noticed in my surfing the night before about Pre price change, stopped by Radio Shack and got $50 refund, as I had bought it the day before that went live. Starting to really like the basic interface and apps, wishing I wasn't so busy vacationing that I could spend some time surfing the official and homebrew app catalogs for some cool stuff to install, but come on, I'm in NY, who's got the time? (which is ironic because what I really needed was AccuWeather, Where, and the MTA Map apps).

Managed to find time to get a few official apps installed while in NY, I think weather, Pandora, Tweed and some games, but decided not to bother with the homebrew scene until I got home and could really play with it. Got a bit of reading done on the subject and was starting to get excited though. Great scene, and looking good. Seems I got this phone at exactly the right time. Things just heating up and getting good.

Got back to FL and got WebOSInstall running, installed FileCoaster, AHS (which wasn't quite as awesome as I was hoping, but I've got good future expectations for...seems to be going in the right direction, because the basic home screen is way too empty), some games (Reversi, which is great but too easy, PreJeweled, Zork), FriendsFlow, MyQ, drPodder...All looking good. Battery is still an issue, and I have to make sure I plug in somewhere once a day. Not going underground on trains helps, but I still do a lot of driving, so I ordered a car charger, and I'll be hooking that up whenever I'm in the car. I never ever had to worry about charge on my Curve, and I could be flagrant about app use, running Pandora like a fiend, or whatever, but on the Pre I find I'm not as eager to stream media because I'm guarding my precious amperage. Seriously considering the Amzer 2800mAh battery/cover so I can have some useful lifetime between plugins. Going a full workday would be dreamy.

Went to a concert the other night and noticed for the first time that the keyboard keys weren't backlit. Made it very difficult to twitter or use the phone in the dark. This was kind of annoying and something I never really thought about on my Curve. standing right next to me on my left, some guy was punching up facebook on his G1, typing away on a fully-lit keyboard. Directly to my right, a dude with a Berry was texting a friend with his backlit keys. I had a twinge of jealousy (and I'll admit a bit of nostalgic remorse). Palm should really get an LED behind those buttons, because seriously. What phone doesn't have lit keys these days?

I bitched about that on Precentral.net and found out the keys ARE lit, but the light is tied to the screen brightness, and it goes off when you have the brightness all the way down like mine was. Kicked the slider up a tad and problem solved.

It's 9 days as a Pre owner now, and on the whole, other than a few minor complaints I've listed above, and the major beef with power, which I feel I can likely address with a 3p battery, I must say I am really loving this phone. Palm has done almost everything right. Most of the things they have done wrong, they can fix. The photo uploading can be tweaked, and the rest of the interface is fantastic. The app catalog is coming along beautifully for such a young platform.

I'm looking forward to trying new apps as they come out, and while I'm terrible at app development and coding, I'm really good at app testing and offering critique and feature ideas, as well as writing and documenting, so I may get involved with some projects at that level in the near future.
Tags: palm, phone, pre, tech
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