Sprint Contract Changes Might Move up my Palm Pre Deathwatch


I know that there are many happy Palm Pre (s palm) owners out there — and for good reason. The webOS is innovative, offers a solid browser and is a multitasking champ. But as I said just over a month ago, the Pre isn’t quite meeting my personal needs. That’s not a slam on the device in general — it simply means that I’m using the wrong tool for my tasks. I’m far better off working with a device that has a wider selection of software titles. In fact, it’s mainly for this reason that I didn’t jump on the Google Android (s goog) bandwagon when the T-Mobile G1 launched.

Anyway, I don’t want to rush into any decisions — or out of any contracts, for that matter. However, a window of opportunity appears to be opening next month. According to PreCentral, Sprint (s S) will be modifying the terms of their contracts through two separate fees. The Regulatory Charge going forward will be $0.40 per month and customers with spending limits on their account will be charged $4.99. As a result, customers may be able to cancel their contracts without paying the Early Termination Fee of $175.

I actually don’t want to leave Sprint — the service has been great and I believe that my plan offers me a tremendous value for the money. However, without much solid progress on the application front, I’m considering a January termination. I’m not making the decision just yet, though. Palm has said that widespread developer access would be opened up before year end, so I’m going to watch for developments between now and then. Again, I do like the Pre. But I’m finding this whole situation eerily similar to the early PC and Mac days — you might have wanted a Mac, but you stuck with a PC because of the apps.



has anyone heard anything about Pre 2.0? does anyone believe it could come out in 2010?

Jacob Varghese

As cool as the multi-tasking is on the Pre, the sheer volume of iPhone apps makes the iPhone OS a superier mobile experience.

In order, developers will write for
1. iPhone OS/ Android
3. Windows Mobile
4. Maemo/Bada/WebOS

IMO, WebOS is too little too late for Palm. Once the Droid came out, no one has been talking about the Pre.

I see more Palm Pres on TV than I do in real life.

Anne Elizabeth Whiteway

I have a Palm Pre which I have not used *exc. for making a telephone call…since I purchased it at Radio Shack in Smithfield Virginia months ago.
The folder w/directions in the box were in Spanish only.
I speak English so naturally I could not read the directions.
Had to go to the main office of Sprint in Hampton, Virginia to
get English directions.
The place was so crowded. Alsohad an armed guard near the door.
Also my Palm Pre did not work by then. IT was “frozen.”
I had a warranty.
They said they would call me when my new one came in…
Also they offer free tutorials if one has an appointment.
I have postponed going back because I did not feel the urgent need to have it back since I already have another cell phone.

However, going on a trip to in-laws soon…I thought it would be “cool” to have my Palm-Pre with me AND WORKING.

Would give me a novelty to show and would give me solace if I want to get away from their incessant chatter and complaining.

Will let you know how things work out.

Kevin C. Tofel

“I think you’re wrong about the FaceBook app, Kevin. There have been a couple of FaceBook clients, but originally, it was a mobile website at the bottom of the bookmarks.”

I could be wrong, but I’m not sure what aspect you mean. Yes, the original FB “app” for webOS was a browser shortcut to x.facebook.com. A few months back, an official installable FB app appeared in the App Catalog. It’s very limited in terms of functionality. I did try one of the homebrew FB apps at one point, but it was marginal at best. Not arguing, but trying to understand: what was I wrong about?


Since lauch, DocumentsToGo has been saying they’d have a WebOS version later this year; now it’s early in 2010. I do want the ability to write and modify Word, PPT, and Excel documents. I can view them, but that’s all.

I keep hitting the maximum space of installed apps, rumored to be opened in the next version, so I have to dump something to get something else.

I LOVE the WebOS community of developers. There are apps, tweeks, patches, and themes. Thanks people!

I prefer WebOS UI to the iTouch I got from my daughter, but carry both because there are some excellent apps for iPhone/Touch. I like the “cards” and I like not having anything but the “wave” at the bottom with a nice photo.

I also carry an old iPod because neither of the other devices have enough room for my music and audio books, and I can maneuver around with the wheel better than on the screen.

I do better with the Pre keyboard most of the time, but if I’ve written a lot, my thumbs have had it and I switch to the Touch (if I’m at a wi-fi hotspot).

I think you’re wrong about the FaceBook app, Kevin. There have been a couple of FaceBook clients, but originally, it was a mobile website at the bottom of the bookmarks. I don’t do much with Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace, but certainly understand that easy, intuitive options for each is huge.

I really do use the universal search on the Pre all the time, love the new Google Calendar Search app, and don’t get why there isn’t an easy copy for events to put on a personal calendar (so my family knows) a meeting I have on my Exchange calendar.

Oh, and the email client on the Touch sticks my Exchange signature on all my Google emails as well. And the Pre has send and trash right where my thumb accidentally hits. I like the notifications on the Pre. The PalmOS emulator Classic is really touchy. But the Pre feels better in my hand for the many hours I spend on both.

Why isn’t it a perfect world yet?


agreed the lag is awful with the pre. however, what concerns me about the android is the fragmentation. having three version running is a problem for app developers and will get worse as time goes by. the droid has 2.o1 while the sprint android phones are running 1.5 and 1.6. great for now if you have the verizon droid not so great if you have the sprint android phones.
sprint gives the best bang for the buck as far as phone plans go so its pre for now…


I see what you mean. The Facebook webOS app is terrible and built by Palm. Apparently, they didn’t have the resources to update the app to include at least everything the mobile Facebook website features while Facebook may have their hands full with other developments.

The Palm Pre uses the same webKit Browser engine the iPhone uses. If iPhone doesn’t have these same anchor tag jumping issues, Pre might still be on an older webkit version that needs an update.

Considering that WordPress is open source based, looking into developing a webOS based version might be an interesting opportunity after a couple of months. Thanks for sharing things that need improvement.

Kevin C. Tofel

I’m seeing quite a few comments raving about the growth of the Palm Pre Application Catalog. Yup, there are more apps than there were prior. But few, if any, are appealing to me personally. Making comments that there are over 600 apps isn’t swaying my mind — it’s simply telling me that you might not have read the prior post where I explained why this is an issue for me. And there are over 70 comments on that post that are worth the read as well.

Here’s the link: http://jkontherun.com/2009/11/09/im-putting-my-palm-pre-on-notice/

Before trying to tell me what I already know about the number of Palm Pre apps, read my requirements to help you understand why this is an issue for me. :)


Seems like your complaints specifically surrounded Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress.

Facebook on the Pre really isn’t a webOS app, it’s an internet webpage you can visit using your current browser now at x.facebook.com. Apparently, it has been updated allowing you to post messages to your “wall” now. If anyone has the authorization to update this website, it would be the folks at Facebook.

If you suggest enhancements to improve any of the Twitter apps for the Palm Pre, I’m sure the developers of those apps would be happy to hear from you. Competition benefits all users.

WordPress seems to be showing the comments perfectly fine now. There’s no link to have to drill down into as all the comments are now combined with the article. WordPress is an open source community which may have reacted to your earlier article.

Surely, you must have other major specific issues that haven’t been addressed if your Pre is still on notice.

Kevin C. Tofel

Thanks first for going back to the original post and for sharing your thoughts. Those apps were simply examples for me to illustrate my challenges. Couple of points to your comments

In actuality, Facebook is indeed a webOS app and has been since it launched in the App Catalog a few months back. That’s the app I was talking about and if you try it, I think you’ll see that it pales in comparison to Facebook on the iPhone. And this app should really be the poster child for webOS IMO. Why? Because Facebook was a Palm launch partner and because they’re one of the first big name developers to offer a webOS app. But it simply fall far short in terms of functionality.

The Twitter apps for webOS aren’t bad, but none come close to the ease of use and functionality of Tweetie2 for me. Maybe it’s just a personal preference.

And WordPress doesn’t show the comments perfectly fine. Yes, you can read comments on a WP blog in the Pre browser — that’s not what I said the issue was. The issue is a very basic browser function that the Pre doesn’t support: anchor tags. Using my Pre to hit our home page, I tapped your name in the right sidebar. On every other browser I’ve ever used, that takes me to your comment on the bottom of the post page. Not on the Pre. The Pre just takes me to the post page where I have to manually scroll and find your comment.

All in all, I appreciate your defense of the Pre. I’m not here to convince you that the Pre is bad for you or anyone else. I’m simply pointing out that it may not be right for me. Hopefully, it matures quicker and I keep my Pre — that would be the ideal solution for me.


Kevin, why not opt for the Hero or the Moment? I recently went from Blackberry to Hero and found that the the applications for Android to be more than enough for my own uses.

Kevin C. Tofel

The Hero has my eye, but if I’m going to get a new phone in January or February, I may just wait to see if any new Android devices with the Snapdragon platform are going to hit Sprint.


Few apps? I seriously doubt that. I’ve been studying webOS and developing a good quality app a month after it’s released. There were about 200 apps in the app catalog during that time; last month it doubled to 400. Now it’s about 675! Crap..competition is really starting to heat up! I should be done in the next few weeks. After that, I’ll be able to pump out another quality app or 2 per month with how much mojo I’ve learned. By the way, what kind of app do you need anyway?


no apps? There’s almost a thousand apps already available for the Pre. Have you downloaded the preware? that opens it up to more apps that the public is developing. I think in the next 2-3 months, you’ll probably see thousands….


So Sprint is going to chg $5 if you want a spending limits to keep their bill smaller? That just seems mean.


No – you get put on the spending limit program if your credit score isn’t high enough. These are people that would probably have to go pre-paid otherwise.

But check it out: you can easily waive the $4.99/mo. fee just by signing up for autopay. Since spending limit customers are already capped, they don’t have to worry about an unexpectedly high bill, which makes autopay even better for them.


Kevin, you have much more experience with the hardware/software options than average people, so selecting the right phone for your needs is easier. And anyway it’s your job to try new stuff and tell us about it. So I encourage you to break your contract every month and try something new (don’t worry, your accountant will understand).

But the advice I give “normal” people goes like this. It’s all about the network. If you can’t make calls from home, or get a fast data connection at the office it doesn’t matter how many cool apps you have. I personally know iPhone owners all over the country who live with dropped calls, slow data transfers, etc. (AT&T problems, not really iPhone problems.) For me Sprint has been a clear winner on the network front (I’m responsible for 6 phones and we all travel frequently). But the final answer depends very much on geography and travel patterns.

After making the network/carrier decision the next is the form factor, particularly the question of on-screen or real keyboard. If you can’t type it’s going to be really frustrating. If the device is too big for your pocket you won’t be happy carrying it around all day. If the screen is too small for your aging eyes you won’t be comfortable reading much.

For many people the price will be the third factor in making a decision. A lot of “perfect” phones (and computers, cars, houses, women) are just out of the price range.

App selection ends up as the last criteria, and usually not even an option because you’ll get whatever comes with the device that otherwise meets your needs. The bottom line is that you can always carry a second device (notebook, netbook, smartbook, tablet) with a bigger screen or applications that you need, but a bad phone decision is hard to work around.

Personally I’m sticking with my Pre for now, and buying my daughter either the HTC Hero or Samsung Moment this weekend. That way I’ll get some hands-on Android experience and a review from my toughest critic.

Kevin C. Tofel

All good comments. A few points:

1. It’s not about the number of apps, it about apps that I need to use — ones that I have readily available on the iPhone and use daily.
2. The N900 (which already has Flash support) wouldn’t be a likely replacement candidate *at this point in time* for the same reason I may leave my Pre — lack of currently available apps / tools I need to use every day.

As I basically said above, if the Pre is working for you as an individual, then it’s the right phone for you. Aside from the great interface and multitasking, it’s just not meeting my needs from an app standpoint. I’d like it to, believe me, and that’s why I’m still waiting a bit longer. However, while Palm is scheduled to open up their platform to all developers, it concerns me how few big-name 3rd party folks are even talking about developing for webOS at this point in time. With iPhone and Android sales being what they are, what’s their incentive?


So, sprint is changing their contract in January for sure? Or did you hear this through the grapevine?


But what about the over 8,000 titles of PalmOS software? They run on the Pre via the emulator. Nothing wrong with that I would say.


I think the move to leave Sprint is hasty… there’s other great smartphones like the Touch Pro 2 (own it and love it) and the Hero (have seen it and think it’s great). You should definitely give them a try first.


Palm needs developers. To attract developers it should open-source WebOS.


WebOS is already open source, and always has been the same as Android, however its still a bit more open toward patches and fixes then android is which amazingly locked down more.


I think one thing that should be considered relative to apps per platform is the quaility of the apps. The iphone didn’t reach 100000 apps by prducing 100% quality. Most of them are junk and everyone knows it. I think in the end all the big devs will write for iphone, android and webOS. That’s what really matters. All the other apps are just fluff. If 95% of the apps out there are practically disposable, it doesn’t really lock you in to one OS or another. In the end the core functions that most people use most of the time will be available on all the platforms.


We live in a fast paced (I want it NOW) world.
I had the Pre, dumped the Pre for the iPhone, dumped the iPhone for the Pre, dumped the Pre for the Hero, Dumped the Hero for the Droid, Dumped the Droid for an old Treo 755P, and now I’m going back to the…


It’s the closest thing to perfect that I’ve found, and it’s smooth, intuitive, and has TRUE multi-tasking that doesn’t require an app to kill apps that are sucking the life from your device.

Best of luck on your decision Kev…but I suspect you may just find yourself happiest with the Pre.



Not progressing fast enough???? The catalog has gone from a trickle to a steady stream of apps! There’s two big changes that I think you should watch out for:

1) The App Catalog will exit Beta. I’m thinking there’s devs waiting in the wings for that to happen. I’m talking bigger fish. (ePocrates, DataViz, and Foursquare, to name a few.) Yes, that’s all speculation………. but…

2) Palm will soon remove the (admittedly idiotic) app limit, which frees developers to make apps of any size that they want. This will most definitely lead to more robust apps being pushed through the pipeline.

Hang in there. I’m still in love with my Palm Pre…


Well, I still love mine too, but if he’s not using it, there’s no reason to keep the service activated for a phone he never uses.


Well, if you have the opportunity to cancel your Sprint service and you’re not using it now, then do so. You still would own the Pre, and can reactivate at any point you feel like it, can’t you?


If you can find another Sprint phone that you like, you might consider buying it on ebay then selling yours there. I decided it was time to leave windows mobile for android, so I bought a new in box Hero (which I like very much, BTW, you might give that a try) without contract on ebay, activated it, then sold my old Touch Pro there. The cost difference was only about $150, which is less than if I did the contract renewal thing. The pre is still new enough that it’s probably worth at least a couple hundred $ on ebay if in good condition. I have had good luck with Sprint service, and it’s hard to beat their data service prices.


Kevin, I think you’re being a bit hasty. Apps are flowing into the App Catalog now at a pretty healthy clip (20+ per day) and it hasn’t even been officially opened up from beta yet. Add to that the impending craziness associated with Flash coming to the Pre and I think the next 2-3 months are going to see significant acceleration of 3rd party stuff coming out.


I see a Nokia N900? :) or maybe you’ll finally be getting that BlackBerry you always wanted, but you really didn’t know you wanted. ;)

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