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Summary:

I admit it was exciting attending Palm’s press event at CES in January. CEO Jon Rubinstein unveiled Palm’s roadmap for the year, consisting mainly of refreshed versions of the Pre and Pixi smartphones. The Pre Plus looks like the older Pre, with everything the same, save […]

Palm Pre Plus Pixi Plus home screen

I admit it was exciting attending Palm’s press event at CES in January. CEO Jon Rubinstein unveiled Palm’s roadmap for the year, consisting mainly of refreshed versions of the Pre and Pixi smartphones. The Pre Plus looks like the older Pre, with everything the same, save for a few minor differences. The Pre Plus loses the button below the screen that looks like a trackball but isn’t, and the “Orange” key on the keyboard is now a stately white. Oh, one other minor change — the Pre Plus now ships with the back that is compatible with the Touchstone charger (the Pixi Plus does not). The Pre Plus also sports twice the memory — 16 GB — as the original.

The Pixi Plus is like its predecessor, not surprising as the original Pixi has only been in the wild for a short time. The biggest difference in the Pixi Plus is the addition of Wi-Fi to the mix, a big improvement over the original Pixi that lacked it. The playing field between the two Palm phones was leveled a great deal with that addition, even though the Pixi Plus only has 8 GB of memory. The Pixi Plus is extremely light for such a capable phone. I believe it is the lightest smartphone I have used to date.

At the press event Palm proudly pointed out that both phones have the Palm Mobile Hotspot, a tethering app that turns the phone into a MiFi-like 3G hotspot. Unfortunately, neither of the phones supplied to me by Verizon have the Mobile Hotspot software installed. I’ll have to find out what’s up with that. The feature is listed on the Verizon site at $40 per month, so they certainly intend to provide it. It’s a major feature and cost savings, as the same data plan for the MiFi is $60 per month.

So far, the Pre Plus feels faster than my original Pre, but that’s pretty much expected. The Pre Plus is fresh out of the box and has almost no third party software installed yet. I did go to install the Twitter app I use on my Pre, Tweed, but there is no longer a free version. I’ll have to try a few out to see which free app I like best.

The inclusion of Wi-Fi and the convenience of having the QWERTY keyboard always at hand makes the cheaper Pixi Plus a very compelling phone. I will have to see if the smaller screen and lower resolution is a sacrifice over the next few days, but if not, the Pixi Plus might be the one I’d choose over the more expensive Pre Plus. The Pixi Plus is just so darn light in the hand and it feels good to use. It’s nice avoiding that awkward (at least for me) sliding motion to expose the Pre Plus’s keyboard. To this day that is still not comfortable for me to do on my Pre.

I’ll be testing both phones thoroughly over the next few days. Until then, enjoy this photo tour comparing the two phones.

 
  1. Personally, I think Twee is the best, so I’d recommend you check out TweeFree as a free client. It doesn’t have notification support, but that’s about the only major way it’s limited.

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  2. Oh and also, I believe Mobile Hotspot should be in the App Catalog if you use the Pre/ Pixi Plus. The Catalog detects which device you have before showing apps.

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    1. I had figured that but when I searched for “Hotspot” it kept returning no results on the Pre Plus. I set it aside and did the same with the Pixi Plus and it did find it. I installed it there and then returned to the Pre Plus which then also found the app. Installed it and am testing it now.

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  3. Update on the Mobile Hotspot issue:

    I found the app in the App Catalog and installed it on both phones. After a reboot I fired it up on the Pixi and got the ThinkPad connected. I then tried to go to a website and it directed me to a Verizon site informing me that the service had to be ordered. The tethering fee is $30/month with a data plan, $49.99/ month with a voice plan or $15/month with an email only plan. Pretty darn expensive, although cheaper than a MiFi.

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    1. Something doesn’t sound right there. The Mobile Hotspot app is advertised and was announced as $40 a month. I just added a Pre Plus to my cart online, picked a voice plan and then hit the services. Verizon specifically advertises the 3G Mobile Hotspot plan as $40 a month with this description:

      “3G Mobile Hotspot allows you to share your compatible Smartphone’s 3G connection with up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices, including notebooks, netbooks, MP3 players, cameras, PDAs, portable gaming systems and more.
      Includes 5GB of data access for high-speed wireless Internet access!”

      What you’re seeing and describing sounds like tethering plans for phones other than the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus, not the Mobile Hotspot plan.

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      1. I’ve asked Verizon for clarification on the pricing for the service. The plan site pops up automatically when I try to use the browser while connected to it. No doubt calling the supplied 800 number would connect to a real person familiar with the plan.

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  4. I am thinking about getting either the Palm Pre Plus or the Palm Pixi. I’ve heard about short delay when opening applications. What’s your experience so far?

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    1. the delay is minimal…. much like opening any application on your computer. most of the times there is no delay, and sometimes there is a 2 second delay, and once in a while 4 seconds. The phone is very responsive otherwise. I’ve been wanting a pre since it came out on sprint, but didn’t like the battery life, ram and memory shortcomings. WebOS is the best operating system in the market…. hopefully palm releases some more products, hopefully with AMOLED screens and snap dragon processors under the hood.

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  5. OK, Verizon has activated the Mobile Hotspot service on the two eval phones I am testing. I have successfully connected to both the Pre Plus and the Pixi Plus as a Mobile Hotspot. I will have to do some controlled speed testing as I am seeing quite bad bandwidth from both phones.

    I’ll test it a few times alongside my MiFi which is using the same network and comment on the speeds. So far I am seeing consistenly slow connections using both phones.

    Verizon did clarify the Mobile Hotspot service is $40/ month, which must be activated on top of the $29.99 PDA/ data plan. That would put the MiFi cheaper if the phone was not the main draw.

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