Why I Haven’t Bought a Palm Pre Yet

7 Comments

Editor’s note: With this post we welcome Charles Hamilton to the WebWorkerDaily team. Charles is the founder and co-owner of CHCS.com Web Development in Seattle, where, since 1994, he has developed award-winning web sites that use technology to tell the stories of businesses, nonprofit organizations, and political candidates.

I really, really want Palm’s (s palm) new smartphone, the Pre, to be a success. The reviews so far have been mostly positive. I’m a happy owner of a Palm Treo 755p, which is still a good smartphone (even though it has what seems like the world’s oldest operating system with the world’s lousiest web browser) — so why haven’t I rushed out to buy a Pre?

Palm is betting all on the Pre. The company that was once the dominant player in the smartphone market has lost out, to RIM’s BlackBerry (s rimm) line, to various phones running the Symbian operating system from Nokia (s nok) and others, and, of course, to Apple’s iPhone (s aapl). Those that are lucky enough to have played with the Pre say that Palm has done most everything right: the hardware and software are both good enough to challenge the current leaders.

But Palm has a reputation for taking time to get their products right. The original Treo 600 had lots of problems, and never lived up to its potential, something that is being settled in court just this week. The Treo 650 was better, but the Treo 700p was a mess, which I can testify to from personal experience.

The Treo 755p is a good phone (you can still get one cheap) but it’s useless for web workers. The included browser, Blazer, hasn’t been updated in years, and it’s an embarrassment now that “web-browsing-on-my-phone” is a necessity, not a parlor trick. For a while, it was possible to put Opera Mini on the 755p, but it was a tricky process requiring installation of the IBM JVM (s ibm), which is no longer available. It crashed all the time, anyway.

The Treo’s mail software is pretty limited. It’s possible to get it working with Google Apps IMAP (s goog) accounts, but it doesn’t do push email. SnapperMail does, but it’s an expensive third-party app that, even with a recent update, is hampered by the limitations of the Palm OS, and feels like something from 2001, not 2009.

So I’d really like to get a Pre. For one thing, the webOS on the Pre is designed so that apps can be built in CSS and JavaScript, which means that developers should be able to build apps for it easily. But the SDK isn’t out yet, and despite promises from Palm, it’s anybody’s guess when it will appear.

What those who’ve reviewed the Pre don’t talk about (because only time will tell) is how useful this phone will be in the real world. Will it become popular? Will its revolutionary OS attract developers? Right now, thanks the lack of an SDK, there are very few applications.

And it’s applications that make all the difference is the smartphone world. The old Palm OS was popular because people wrote tons of apps for it — apps for real estate people, medical professionals, and on and on. The iPhone is where the apps are today. Android and BlackBerry apps are much harder to find.

Will the Pre be the next iPhone…or the next 700p?

7 Comments

Gadget

I see this is an older thread but i hope i get some replies.
Please send them to me at: gadget2@mindspring.com
I also have a treo 755p and i would like to trade up somwhere. The Pre has now been out for a while and now the androids are about to come out with some new phones etc.
There are several reasons i do now want an iPhone…cannot replace the battery myself ( i think any device that holds must have info should have a user replaceable battery…When my battery is dead and cannot recharge i do not want to have to send it somewhere) I did want bluetooth so i can use lots of aftermarket accessories. Of course a great screen is nice. I would like to enjoy media. I might have to buy a new phone and perhaps and iPod touch. Will something like the Pre or some other phone do it all for me? I do not want AT&T. I presently have sprint and can also use my Treo as a modem…I do like that…I understand there is 3rd party software like My Tether that is supposed to allow the pre to be used as phone as modem….and hopefully June Fabrics will come out with their software as they did for the Treo…Please give me some input…thank you all

emmy814

I’m glad to hear all of you guys’ comments..since I have been in the same boat..and can’t get myself to like the iPhone regardless of how popular it has become..I’m glad that Palm came out with Pre..and hoping that the review would be very positive so I can feel comfortable letting go of my Treo755p that I can’t live without..and renew another 2 years contract with Sprint!!

tomascco

I finally gave up my Treo 755p for a Pre. It was a hard departure too, and I didn’t take it completely well. In fact, the Treo is still charged up in case I need a memo or something that didn’t port over. I did a lot of work with my Treos and earlier Palms. Yeah, Blazer was crappy, but with patience I could get an emergency job done (I’m an online director). And Sprint’s email program served me well keeping my four email accounts together, even though I couldn’t send mail some of the time.

But I figured at some point I’d have to bite the bullet and move up to 3G and Wi-Fi, and with no intention of ever becoming an AT&T customer again, the right choice for me was the Pre.

Into day five now and it just keeps getting better and better. Learning to live with some shortcomings in hopes of them getting better, but the good definitely outweighs the bad.

Good luck with your 755p, Charlie, and one day you’ll “have fun” as the Pre beckons us all to do.

Bennett

I’m in a similar boat – been a Treo owner forever (including a 755p up until Saturday), and didn’t have an iPhone only because I was stuck on Sprint. I own an iPod Touch, as I didn’t like being out-technologied by my iPhone-toting friends.

I LOVE my Treo 755p. Love it. It does almost everything I need it to, if in a simple fashion. I’m a “Web worker”, and it was sufficient. I love the stylus, I like my games, and it worked very well with our Exchange server (and I had 4 e-mail accounts running).

But I was getting the Pre, no matter what. And I have to say…I’m thrilled. The OS is just incredible. So intuitive. And now…I have to say it…when I pick up the iPod Touch – it feels archaic. The OS is old, obsolete, clunky, even. In fact, I’m shocked that more isn’t being written about how far behind the times the iPhone is in comparison.

Yes – it’s a big issue that we don’t have too many apps yet. But they’ll come (crossing fingers), and then there won’t be any excuses to NOT own the Pre. And I think it’s a flimsy excuse for not getting one immediately – THIS is what phones have evolved to.

Yes, I’d like a stylus, and yes, I need Splash ID (which is coming) and a few other apps. But I’m VERY pleased. And my Treo sits here on my desk (now I have to figure out what to do with it).

Jeffrey

“Will the Pre be the next iPhone…or the next 700p?”

It certainly won’t be the next iPhone. The Pre will fill the small niche market of those that won’t switch to AT&T or still have a love affair with Palm after all these years. A little competition isn’t bad for Apple. Just like no one was ever able to win the iPod war, I’m fairly certain the iPhone war is over too.

Hamed

Well I was a proud owner of 755p and never wanted to upgrade to an iphone because I was so attached to the keyboard and how the OS was designed. It was hard for me to switch to a different phone let alone to a phone that was just released. I have to say I am completely surprised by the way Pre functions. It’s email system is far superior to any phone out there by a huge margin. It can support multiple Exchange accounts without a flaw. This I have confirmed for myself. No other phone can do this. The keyboard is smaller than 755p but it feels nicer and easier to type on.

I have had Blackberries and iphone at work but I still loved my old Treo better than all of them. Well not any more. The Pre has replaced both my Treo and my ipod Nano. I just can’t see myself ever using another phone for a while.

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