Was the Palm Pre worth the hype and wait? ABSOFREAKINGLUTELY!

It was January, it was a cold.  Of course every January is cold in Minnesota, but this specific day wasn’t so bad.  Why?  Because a shining light of warmth was introduced to the world from Las Vegas’ consumer products convention … Palm had finally presented their new product, and the Palm Pre with its webOS was months away from becoming a reality.

Fast forward 6 long grueling months of reading rumors, writing opinion blogs, evaluating reviews and obsessing over every piece of information I can get my hands on… and you come to Saturday, June 6th, 2009.  Its 6:00 am.  I wake up, still slightly roughed up from the birthday extravaganza the night before (post coming soon), and head out the door.  I didn’t think anyone else would wait in line 2 hours early for a cell phone that didn’t have an emblem of a half-eaten pomaceous fruit on it.  I was wrong though, and its good I came when I did, because I was 3rd in line at the downtown Sprint store … and the GM later told us he sadly only had 5 units to sell.  Many unhappy faces grumbled their way home after that announcement, but I waited patiently with a smile for what I had so eagerly anticipated owning.  By 9am it was over.  My legacy Palm Centro placed back in its box to collect dust, my data transferred over … and the power of the world was once again in the Palm of my hands.

Well, its been 3 days of playing, testing, and reviewing, and I have to wholeheartedly say that this phone is the most ingenious product I’ve owned.  I just watched the conference on Apple’s newest iPhone, and the only additions were things that the Pre is already doing.  I hope this phone gets the support it deserves, it is definitely a competitor.  Without boring you much more, below is a quick list of pros and cons for the Palm Pre that will hopefully help those on the fence to decide on purchasing.

Pros 🙂

  • Synergy of applications is amazing.  Calendar shows events from Facebook, Google, Exchange Server, Flight App, and more.  It is all color coordinated and easy to customize.  Same goes for Contacts, messaging (with AIM, SMS, and GChat), and any other applications pulling data from servers.  Its pretty cool to have every Facebook friend’s email/phone (if listed) on hand
  • The UI is incredibly user friendly, barely ever make a mistake or get confused where to go and what to do.  This is mainly due to the great “”gestures”” concept that Palm introduced
  • The hardware keyboard is much better than expected.  Bigger than Centro rubber for easy holding
  • App Store is FREE (for now) and started with about 25 applications available.  Including Twitter, flight status, Connect 4, Wikipedia, Craigslist, Flixster, Stocks, and Fantasy Baseball
  • Notifications are easy to see or ignore, and make use of phone really nice
  • It is small, fits well in the hand, and was instantly easy to use (unlike the Touch Diamond, I actually was able to answer a phone call without crashing my car into a construction buoy on the highway).
  • It is fast.  And I mean REAL fast.  Multiple applications open at once, WiFi or 3G connection, and you still don’t feel any lag or delay (something Windows Mobile and PalmOS devices reeeeally lack)
  • Wireless charging capabilities?  Are you serious!?  wow
  • When you plug into a computer, iTunes will automatically sync (it things the Pre is an iPod!).  The only problem is that it won’t transfer the standard .AAC files, so you have to convert your music to .MP3 or similar (something I did long ago anyways).  Plus it has a standard headphone jack and 8GB of memory available.

Cons 😦

  • Alerts for SMS, email, etc. make a quiet “”ding”” and quickly vibrate device.  It doesn’t appear you can change this, so sometimes it goes unnoticed
  • Accenture’s exchange server is not yet supported on the Pre, so I can’t connect to work email/calendar, but that should hopefully change soon once our IT support gets their hands on it
  • Battery is good, but with constant playing it drains up.  Nothing shocking there, you can’t use something for 9 hours straight and get pissed when it dies on you
  • There is a bug with the AIM application, if you stay logged in it drains the battery.  So until that is fixed, you have to log off after use
  • App store’s SDK program is not yet released to the public, so it may take a while for new apps to come (although 6 more were added today since launch!).  Also, there are only 3 “”pages”” for apps in the browser, so if you get download-crazy, you may have a trouble feeding your OCD need to organize everything neatly like me

This phone has definitely been fun so far, and I can’t wait to see what applications come out in the near future.  I truly do believe in Palm products, I’ve been a fan since my first Visor Handspring in 2000 and I think this new webOS platform can go really far.  I would be shocked if they didn’t sell out all 600,000 by noon on Saturday, and once personal reviews hit the web, the next few shipments should do the same.  Exciting!

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