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This Week at Mobile Tech Manor #43: Pre-mania, Got a New Voice

Mobile Tech Manor Large 2It is Friday, the day when we get to chat about what happened at Mobile Tech Manor over the past week. It was the week of the Palm (s palm) Pre, I still had UMPCs scattered everywhere and I finally got into the Google Voice beta program. Come on in and share my week, we’ll have fun, I promise.

The Pre Launches, It’s a Go

The Palm Pre hit the ground running and based on reports the launch went pretty much as expected. I’ve seen that Palm and Sprint (s s) sold anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 units, which is pretty good for them, although nowhere near the volume of the iPhone at launch. It’s only human nature to compare the Pre launch to that of the iPhone as the two phones are viewed as going head-to-head for the most part.

The Pre has been well-received by most if accounts on the web are any gauge and I have been happy with mine. I did get in line on launch day but only for about 45 minutes. I was thoroughly impressed with how organized Sprint had everything at the store; they were well-coached, no doubt. The whole process only took me about 30 minutes once inside the store and my hat is off to the Sprint employees. I picked up the Pre, the cool Touchstone charger and the Palm leather belt holster. All accessories were discounted 25 percent when purchased with the Pre, so I bit.

The Pre holster is an interesting piece of kit. It’s made of hard leather that is molded perfectly to fit the small, thin form of the Pre. This holster is so small and thin that I’ve been told by several people who normally detest belt holsters that this doesn’t look geeky at all. The Pre fits in the holster so perfectly you’d think that it would be hard to grab the Pre to answer a call, but Palm thought about that. When the flap with the magnetic closure is opened a leather tab in a half-moon shape is exposed. You grab that tab and pull up and the Pre is lifted up out of the case. The tab is attached to a wide silk ribbon that pulls tight and thus pulls the Pre out. When you put the Pre into the holster it pushes the ribbon down out of the way until the next time the tab is pulled. It is a masterful design and I’m impressed with how well it works. The belt clip does not swivel; it’s a wide metal clip covered in the same leather as the holster and it attaches snugly to the belt. This holster is $40 so it’s not cheap, but I’m happy I got one.

I have covered the Pre a lot on the site so I won’t review it here again but I did use it as my main phone this week. It has worked well and I’m happy I have it. I’m particularly impressed with how well it works with the Bluetooth stereo headset I use. Listening to Pandora on the headphones is wonderful and when a call comes in it auto-switches to headset mode instantly and flawlessly. This is something I missed using the iPhone and Palm has done this right with the Pre.

Speaking of the iPhone, the next model was announced this week. The iPhone 3G S will be out shortly and it’s as expected, with a faster processor and more memory. Photos I’ve seen show it looks just like the older iPhone 3G, which I have. I’ll upgrade my current iPhone to 3.0 when it’s available on June 17 and will see then how well the older model works with it compared to the new.

Picking up the Pre insured that phones were on my mind all week as it made for the fourth smartphone I have. I got into the Google Voice beta program and so far it has worked flawlessly for me. I no longer worry about missing phone calls or text messages that might be sent to one of the phones I’m not using at that moment. Google Voice gets hold of me no matter which of the four phones I’m carrying. I especially like how calls get announced on the phone; the caller announces themselves to me so I can decide whether to answer or not. It’s a great service so far.

The lack of a native Pre version of eReader Pro led to me picking the HTC Advantage back up for reading books. I have been impressed once again with how great an e-book reader the Advantage is, with its 5-inch screen and impressive battery life. I’ll be happy when the Pre has its own version of eReader but in the meantime I’m using the Advantage quite nicely.

I still have the three Viliv UMPCs in hand and have used them a lot this week. I tested the two 3G-enabled models and they worked well on the AT&T (s t) network. It was pretty cool to have connectivity everywhere but frankly with the Verizon MiFi I don’t need integrated 3G into devices I use. The MiFi makes more sense as it’s not tied to any given device and I have used the heck out of it. I still consider it one of the best purchases I’ve made it quite some time.


Today is Black Friday — at least that’s what the local news anchors are calling it, as it’s the day that the switch to digital TV takes place. What amazes me is that last night it was reported that officials estimate that more than 3 million people in the greater Houston area do not have cable TV service and have not picked up a digital conversion box yet. If that’s accurate then I wouldn’t go into an electronics store today, as there will surely be a lot of folks in a panic trying to keep TV working in their homes.

I love hamburgers. I don’t know what it is about them; maybe it has something to do with my obsession with handheld devices. There’s just something about having nearly all of the food groups present in one thing in the hand. Plus they taste so darn good. Of course, they’re not very healthy, so I don’t get to eat them much anymore. But I still do occasionally.

It has become a treat so when I do get to eat a burger I now want to make sure I get a good one. No typical fast-food burgers for me. The desire to get a good burger has, on occasion, led me to search for the best ones in my area, so for those of you who are in the same area of Northwest Houston, I’ll share what I’ve found.

First up is Little Red Barn Burgers in Cypress. This is a charming place built to look like a red barn and while the burgers are cheap, they are very good. You can get a double burger (they’re small), onion rings and a drink for about $7. Highly recommended.

Next up is Burger Tex. This is a family-owned chain and there are two locations near me. The burgers are cheap and fast yet very, very good. They have a fixings bar so you can build your burger as you like it. Also highly recommended. The second location is a new one on Barkers Cypress near Cy-Fair College.

E-books of the Week

This week was a Darrell Bain week, not surprising to those who follow this column. “Alien Infection” is one of my favorite types of science fiction, stories that take place in the present time. The “infection” is one that cures any disease in the infected and makes them live a very long time. Those it doesn’t quickly kill, anyway. It is a typically good Bain story.

I also picked up “The Williard Brothers Collection” which is the entire four-book series in one. These books share the madcap adventures of the three Williard brothers. The first book, “Medics Wild,” is a MASH-like story of the Vietnam war. I am in the middle of “BigFoot Crazy” now, which picks up with the brothers having left the military and returning to the States to do other crazy things. It has been thoroughly entertaining so far and I am enjoying the heck out of it. It is based on Darrell Bain’s own experiences in Vietnam, which makes it ring true.

That’s it

That wraps up my week, it was a busy and enjoyable one. I hope you consider it time well spent and that you drop by next week.  Take care of yourself.

4 Responses to “This Week at Mobile Tech Manor #43: Pre-mania, Got a New Voice”

  1. Alan Edwards

    About switching Bluetooth profiles when streaming, what happens on other handsets when you’re streaming music over Bluetooth and a call comes in?

    Also, what sort of battery life are you getting out of your MiFi?