on August 1, 2009
Once upon a time, I was a major iPhone fan. Like many others, I had grown tired of ho-hum smartphones and wanted something new and fresh. Initially, I loved my iPhone. There was simply nothing like it, with its beautiful touchscreen interface and great packaging. Best of all, I'd been assimilated into a fun "iPhone culture." Yeah, I guess in a way I'd even look down my nose at others who did not own one. ;p
But as time went by, my happy relationship began to sour. Don't get me wrong... as a MEDIA device, it was beyond compare. It STILL IS. But as a PRODUCTIVITY device, it STUNK: the virtual keyboard drove me bananas, the calendar was hardly usable for my purposes, and the constant dropped calls in south Florida were infuriating. As the months dragged on, I began to resent my phone and despise AT&T. There was a glimmer of hope when the Apple's App Store made its debut, but instead of productivity apps I needed, it was flooded with junk with no easy way to sift through all the noise to find the quality apps. Though I must admit I was DEFINITELY addicted to a game or two! ;)
I wanted a phone that could serve me well as both a PRODUCTIVITY and PERSONAL device. So when the Palm Pre came out, I took a deep breath and signed on with Sprint to get one on launch day (June 6th).
Put simply? ..............
When writing this review I made the assumption that you, the reader, already knows the Palm Pre's features. What I did was just jot down my real-world experiences with the Pre to illustrate how freaking AMAZING it is...
IT AIN'T PERFECT, THOUGH! I'll definitely address those issues (caution, I'm pretty blunt).
------------------------- FIRST, THE THINGS I LOVE -------------------------
When I read about multi-tasking on the Palm Pre, it looked cool. When I played with the mult-tasking feature in the Sprint store, I thought it was really cool. But when I LIVED with multi-tasking, I realized I would never own another phone that doesn't do this. It doesn't always work perfectly... sometimes there are issues with lag but once you learn which apps are resource hogs you get the hang of how to operate with it.
Here's some real-world examples of how I use multitasking...
I consistently have email, texting, Twitter, phone, and Epocrates (medical app) open at all times while I'm working. No need to search for buttons or menus. Just flick and I'm there.
A while back my boss drove me down to New Orleans. I SIMULTANEOUSLY............
- Ran turn-by-turn navigation with spoken street names (thru car speakers)
- Ran Pandora (also thru car speakers)
- Sent MMS messages to my folks
- Tracked my wife's flight to Puerto Rico in real-time, using FlightView
- Viewed a PowerPoint presentation
- Sent that powerpoint presentation via email to a colleague
"Ordering Pizza and a Movie"
Just the other day my wife called me from the road to ask where she could get a movie rental and pick up a pizza in her area. I SIMULTANEOUSLY..........
- Ran my Google maps which found the nearest Blockbuster and pizza place to her,
- Ran Flixster and read Rotten Tomato reviews of different movies
- Texted my wife back and forth with my recommendations.
"Email + Messaging"
I can have both my email and texting apps open, and copy/paste from one into the other
"No Wifi headaches"
Here's a big one! I can enable/disable Wi-Fi without leaving the web page I'm on or the email I'm trying to download. Just touch the top of the screen for the menu and I'm done!
2) REAL KEYBOARD:
When Steve Jobs told me I'd get used to my virtual keyboard on my iPhone, I believed him... but after a year and a half of ownership, I came to this realization: nothing beats a real keyboard. I'm 6'3" and 200lbs, and while the Pre's keyboard is small, after a couple weeks I got very quick and accurate on it... MUCH faster than I ever did in all the time on my iPhone. It's worth mentioning that the a virtual keyboard has already been created for it, adding the convenience of BOTH. iPhone will always be stuck with just a virtual keyboard. There's also a homebrew app called "AutoCorrect Edit" that allows you to customize your autocorrect dictionary and make typing shortcuts. Killer.
You can sync multiple calendars to the Pre, and view them all simultaneously if you want... Google, Facebook, Exchange, etc.... they're all there. In addition to my personal calendar and my wife's calendar, I keep track the schedules of no less than EIGHT physicians in my fellowship program... all on my phone! Best part is I can view them all together, manage them, and update them from my device and send them to all the fellows and faculty in my program OVER THE AIR.
Also, there's calendar app integration... From my phone, I can add a flight directly to my calendar from Flightview. Or a movie I just purchased tickets for. Or dinner reservations I made using Open Table. All without opening my calendar. Easy. I can't wait until more apps offer this kind of functionality...
4) USB FLASH DRIVE ABILITY!
A couple weeks ago, I needed to email some documents and spreadsheets to my boss. My laptop had an erratic Wifi connection, so I was stuck. What did I do? I simply plugged my Pre into my computer via USB, dropped the files onto my phone, and emailed them to by boss using Sprint's network! Plain, freaking, AWESOME! This is not mentioned enough in the reviews I've read.
Another cool thing: who needs iTunes? With drag and drop, you can easily transfer music (with album art!) and videos back and forth on the Pre. Seriously. A monkey could do this.
5) AMAZON MP3 MUSIC STORE!
Love this place! Almost as much variety as iTunes, which is good enough for me. You can preview and download all the songs you want! I do wish you could see the duration of songs as well as the full title (for remixes and such), but overall I'm smitten with it. Not only that, they often feature entire albums for DIRT cheap. Best of all, UNLIKE iTunes, you can do whatever the heck you like with your music, and it doesn't have to be converted to a proprietary format! Beautiful.(P.S. I realize that music sold on iTunes is now DRM-free, but I still resent the fact that a good number of songs that I BOUGHT are stuck on iTunes unless I "upgrade." Hogwash.)
6) TOUCHSTONE WIRELESS CHARGER!
This is basically a hockey-puck device that you set your Pre onto and it charges it using a magnetic coil... no wires! This is particularly great at night right before I get into bed: rather than fumbling with wires and the Pre's (I'd like to smack the Palm engineers for that last one), all I do is just set my phone down on the charger. Easy. And I have a full charge in around 2 hours. The Touchstone does more than just charge my phone, though...
- If the Pre rings while on the charger and I press "TALK", it instantly goes to speakerphone.
- If I'm talking on the Pre and then set it down on the Touchstone, it instantly switches to speakerphone.
- If I want more privacy and take my phone OFF of the Touchstone during a conversation, it instantly switches speakerphone OFF. Nice.
Outdoor shots are amazing. Shutter has almost no lag. Although my iPhone used to take better pictures in low-light conditions, when there's NO light, the Pre has a flash... my iPhone did not.
*** UPDATE! 3/1/10... ***
With its 1.4 update, the Palm Pre now shoots VIDEO! You can also EDIT the video clip and send it via MMS/email, or even directly post it to Facebook or YouTube! This function works rather well, and video quality is not bad at all in good lighting conditions. Awesome! ... So video recording took Palm 8 months, and I didn't even have to buy a new phone. Compare that to Apple, who released video recording after TWO YEARS, and you had to buy a whole new phone?! Get outta here.
8) NETWORK AND PRICING... DO YOUR RESEARCH!!!!
My wife and I are saving a ton of money with Sprint. I know coverage varies from city to city, but for me, Sprint's been great. In my opinion, AT&T cannot support the deluge of iPhone customers. They pay a high premium to maintain iPhone exclusivity, and take another hit by heavily subsidizing the iPhone to entice new customers. Subsequently, improvements to infrastructure move at a slower pace than they should. Not only that, but iPhone customers have to pay a lot more per month than say, Palm Pre customers on Sprint! All Sprint plans for the Palm Pre include UNLIMITED data, UNLIMITED texts, and TURN-BY-TURN GPS NAVIGATION! With AT&T, you have to pay out the nose for those kinds of goodies. I price matched feature-for-feature with Verizon and I'm saving tons of money with Sprint. Do. Your. Research.
This is certainly one of the best aspects of webOS that I am saving for last. The Palm Pre has an OUTSTANDING homebrewing community. Best part is, you don't have to be a techie geek to be a part of it.
You may have heard of people "hacking" their phones in order to get them to do what they want. But unlike Apple, where "jailbreaking" is necessary to "hack" their phones, webOS users merely "homebrew" to "patch" their phones. This isn't just semantics: unlike Apple's constant Gestapo policies, Palm has chosen to embrace the homebrew community and welcome their innovation. The result? I can change the way the Pre looks and behaves. I can make it look just like an iPhone or a Blackberry. I can have homebrew apps like custom AutoCorrect dictionaries for my typos. I can change the appearance of the launcher. I can easily switch my phone radios on and off... the list goes on and on. Currently there are hundreds of homebrew apps and patches, and over a thousand themes. It's really exciting stuff and really fun to be a part of it.
I never thought I'd enter this as an advantage for the Palm Pre, but it's become very clear that the Pre's hardware is very capable of intense 3D gaming. Thanks to Palm's Plug-in Development Kit, developers can now port apps from other platforms (like the iPhone) directly to the Pre in a matter of days. Don't believe me? As of this writing there are over 30 3D games for the Palm Pre. I own six of them (Need For Speed: Undercover, Assasin's Creed, Brothers in Arms, Let's Golf, Asphalt5, Glyder2) and ALL of them have impressed me. Presently, neither Android or Blackberry can offer games as rich in graphics as seen in the Palm Pre or iPhone. Now, with the SPRINT Pre, you'll have to pretty much close every other application you have running, because these games are memory hogs. But in the case of the Pre Plus on VERIZON, you can run 3D games and 50 other apps, if you so desire. It's crazy.
... Why should you care about all this? Because here we have a device that can now do intense 3D gaming...... AND all of the cool stuff I listed above. Pretty damn cool.
--------------------------- MY MAJOR COMPLAINTS ---------------------------
1) BATTERY LIFE.
Suuuuucks. No two ways about it. I'm lucky if I'm able to make the day during heavy use or extended periods in areas with bad reception. Luckily, the battery is REMOVABLE, and extended-life batteries are available. If your battery ever dies, you have the option of slapping in a spare... this is actually a WONDERFUL feature... I just wish the stock battery was better.
****** UPDATE (3/1/10) ******
Since the Pre was updated to 1.4, battery life has improved somewhat. I can now get through an entire day of moderate to heavy use on a single charge. Keeping things in perspective: my wife (nowhere near as heavy a user), used to get through the entire day on a single charge BEFORE the update.
Here's what I don't get: the Pre has the same processor speed as the iPhone 3GS, yet there are times I want to throw my Pre against the wall. Don't get me wrong... the Pre is usually quick and multitasking makes this less of an issue. But sometimes? The times it takes for my Pre to "think" and process my commands are unacceptable. Palm has made inroads on this: with the latest update, the calendar speed is much, much improved and I am now satisfied with it. And soon, Palm will give us an update which will directly access the Pre's Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), which will mean much faster scrolling and graphics rendering in browsers and games. Still, I'm left wanting faster performance overall.
*** UPDATE! 3-10 ***
Palm's made significant progress in this area with their latest 1.4 update. Now all Palm has to do is enable that GPU, and we'll be very close to getting iPhone-like speeds. Lag is almost a "minor" complaint now, though it could still be faster.
*** UPDATE! 4-10 ***
A homebrew patch has been released that allows you to overclock the Pre's processor. What this means is you can run the phone faster than it was designed. Theoretically, there's a risk of wearing your processor out faster. Battery life also takes a hit while the device is in use. But, the added performance has been well worth it and my battery life has been the exact same while on standby. It was incredibly easy patch to do and I did it in five minutes. I recommend it to pretty much everyone! If you need help look me up on Twitter (@vara411).
3) 8 GB OF MEMORY, NON-EXPANDABLE.
This has been less of an issue than I anticipated, but with the new 3D games and video recording, I anticipate my memory requirements will go up. Despite all the apps and videos of my baby daughter, I still have 4GB free. Not too bad. Fortunately, the USB drag/drop function on the device makes clearing space so easy. It's worth noting that the Palm Pre Plus has DOUBLE the internal storage (16gb, non-expandable) and double the RAM. If memory is more of an issue for you, then the Pre Plus is definitely worth a look.
-------------------------- MY MINOR COMPLAINTS ---------------------------
1) NO VISUAL VOICEMAIL... YET. C'mon Palm and Sprint. Update this!
2) NOBODY KNOWS WHAT THE HELL A PRE IS... YET. Thanks to less-than-stellar marketing decisions, the Pre has not caught on very well. Compare that to the Motorola Droid and iPhone marketing campaigns, which are much better run and have much larger budgets... and you see Palm may have a tough time getting the word out through all the noise. But hey if you are a trend-setter and want to be different, get a Pre or Pre Plus! :)
At the time of this writing (***updated 4/14/10***) the Palm Pre's App Catalog has almost 2,000 apps (plus hundreds of homebrew apps and over a thousand themes). This is certainly dwarfed by the thousands of iPhone and Android apps, but they're really starting to become a steady stream (no longer a trickle) of new apps. My complaint is that I'm still missing some very important apps, namely Docs2Go with full EDITING capabilities. It's supposed to come to webOS in early 2010, but my patience is wearing thin. I also wish we had Shazam, though I know we'll get it as soon as Palm releases its mic API's.
But if it's apps you want, you should know the Catalog still has a ways to go. It's grown substantially since starting with 30 apps, but I'm still quite peeved we don't have Docs2Go (right now you can only view but not edit Office files) or Shazam... but they're coming! Plus, we have a lot of big names now, like Direct TV remote DVR, Slacker Radio, Pandora, Flixster, etc... and we now have awesome 3D games like Need for Speed, Assassin's Creed, etc.
4) PALM'S FINANCIAL TROUBLES
I thought I'd include a little blurb on this because a lot of people have come up to me and said "Palm isn't doing well, therefore I shouldn't buy a Pre." This is crazy talk. First of all, my phone still works great regardless of Palm's financial reports. Second, webOS is an EXCELLENT product. Regardless of what happens to Palm (if they get bought, for instance), it will definitely persevere and continue to thrive. Third, there's awesome deals to be had right now: the Pre Plus is really cheap right now with FREE Mobile Hotspot on Verizon. Basically, you can tether up to five devices (laptop, iPad, iPod Touch) to your phone... FOR FREE! Finally....... and this is very important........ this is a PHONE we're talking about, people. Not a car or life insurance! Sheesh.
... I guess that sums things up! In short, I'd say the Palm Pre is a great blend of the iPhone and a Blackberry, with the added ability to multi-task. If you're between either of them, I'd highly recommend it. I love it.
********************* UPDATE 10-07-09 **********************
It's confirmed: Palm Pre is coming to Verizon in 2010.
********************* UPDATE 10-15-09 **********************
To save money, my wife joined me on Sprint. She initially went for the HTC Hero because she wanted a virtual keyboard. She didn't like it, and got a Palm Pre instead. In her words: "it's just so much easier to use." She also has grown quite fond of the Pre's keyboard.
********************* UPDATE 11-19-09 **********************
It's been almost 6 months since I got my Pre and, with caveats, I'm still in love with it. There have been a couple issues like the flimsy USB door falling off but I repaired it myself.
Also, since I've owned the Pre, Palm has sent SEVEN over-the-air updates. It's great to see they're continuously refining and improving it. Subsequent updates have added new features... to name a few:
- SMS Emoticons
- Text forwarding
- Copying text and images from the browser
- Speed improvements
- Yahoo! synergy and instant messaging
- E-mail search capability
- Ability to send contacts as .vcf files via SMS or email
********************* UPDATE 12-09 **********************
Palm updated to 1.3.5, which removed the silly app limit and significantly improved performance of the Pre. All the love lost is back again. ;)
********************* UPDATE 1-10 **********************
The Pre now has 3D gaming! I'm not talking silly games... I mean 1st person shooters, Need for Speed... just like the iPhone. Awesome.
The Pre gets video recording in February!
The Pre gets Flash 10.1 in February!
********************* UPDATE 3-10 **********************
With the 1.4 update, we now have video recording! We can also edit videos and post them to YouTube, Facebook, or send 'em via MMS or email! Other notable enhancements are *MUCH* faster performance in opening apps and better battery life. I love how Palm keeps improving this thing.
on August 2, 2009
I've been using my Palm Pre since the day it went on sale back on June 6, 2009, and for the most part I've been very impressed and happy with the phone. There are a few things that keep me from giving it a full five stars and I'll cover those below.
The first thing I noticed when I finally got the Pre in my hands was just how "natural" it felt. I hate to sound corny in a review but it really has an almost organic/nature feel to it. When the screen is off the face of the device has a solid black, glossy look that draws the eyes to it. I've had several friends and co-workers comment on just how much they like the look of the phone.
The case has minimal buttons to obscure the look; volume buttons on the left, power and ringer switch on the top right, and the select button at the bottom. That's it, no other controls until you slide up the face of the phone to reveal the full QWERTY keyboard. Speaking of the slider, for me it works great! I've read on various boards how some people have been having problems with theirs but with mine it works just as well as the first day I had the phone. About half way up the spring loading mechanism kicks in locking the keyboard open and it does the same when closing the slider.
The 3.2MP camera on the back of the phone takes some of the best pictures I've seen on a cell phone but it still doesn't come close to replacing a real digital camera. Instead I've found it's best for snapping pictures on those times when you either don't have your digital camera handy (or with you at all) or you don't have time to take out a camera. There's an LED flash but it's not really good much beyond about 3 feet. Also there are NO controls for the camera other than selecting flash on, auto, or off. That's it. Zoom or even white balance would have been nice. On some pictures there is a bit of purple fringing depending on the lighting conditions.
The real star of the phone at this point is probably a tie between the web browser and the Synergy features that combine all your contacts and calendars. The browser is FAST, even on EVDO and wicked on Wi-Fi. It's handled just about everything I've thrown at it and then some. A draw back is that you cannot download any files via the browswer. Adobe is slated to bring Flash support around October to the Pre browser. The Synergy features sync your Outlook, Gmail, and Facebook information to your phone "stacking" duplicates under the same contact as well as syncing your calendars from both Facebook and Google. That last has come in rather handy on several occasions so far.
Palm and Sprint have included several applications on the phone when it ships. Sprint TV is the best on this phone that I have seen yet from them and this is my fourth smartphone with Sprint since Feb of 2008. Also included in the mix from Sprint is their Telnav program, NASCAR, and via a recent OS update their NFL Live app. Palm has preloaded Google Maps and the Amazon.com MP3 store. One problem I have with the Amazon MP3 store is that you can purchase music on your Pre but cannot download it until you're near a Wi-Fi connection. GPS acquisition on any of the apps that use it, whether pre-loaded or third party add on, is the fastest I've ever seen on a phone. Scary fast!
As with any smartphone there are bound to be some drawbacks and the Pre is no exception.
Battery life on the Pre has gotten better since the first day via three OS updates and some battery break in time but it's still no where near where it should be. Thankfully I have a portable charging battery pack that stays in my backpack so I can top the Pre off during the day if I don't have access to a power outlet. At this point I really don't know if Palm can do anything more to improve the battery life and I have a feeling I'll be looking at getting a spare battery or an extended one at some point in the future.
On the day the Pre went on sale there were 18 apps available via the App Catalog on the device. Within the first seven days that number jumped up to 30 apps and then stopped until the last week of July when two more were added. The Homebrew community is now at around 100 apps available and growing almost daily. I hope that Palm gets to cracking on getting more apps out, and soon or I can see this being the one thing that keeps the Pre and WebOS from really taking off. Of course one can pay $30 for the Classic App that will enable the Pre to run most PalmOS applications but to me that is a crying shame. Palm should have included this with the Pre instead of offering it as a paid for add on option, or at least got the price around $10. The biggest limitation I've run into with Classic that it will NOT recognize any file types other that PRC and PDB files. This means that if you have a program that can read other types of files, like Mobipocket Reader (.MOBI) those programs cannot "see" those files. This is a glaring shortcoming there!!!
Here's the quick and dirty check list...
Beautiful physical design
Ease of syncing and backing up contact information
Great web browser
Excellent email and messaging options
Easy to read screen
Poor battery life
Poor app selections at this time
Lack of camera options and video recording
Serious limitations in the Classic app and it's high cost
I like the Palm Pre and I want to love it because I can see just how much potential this new platform from Palm has. In the future I hope that Palm can address some of these short comings via updates to the OS and expanding the number of apps available for download. That being said I have to honestly say that if I had known back on June 6 what I know right now about the platform I would have stuck it out for a bit longer with either my old HTC Touch Diamond or BB Curve 8330. I paid the full price for the device at a Sprint store but I am due an upgrade in February 2010 and if the Pre has not made some improvements by then I can see me leaving this phone for something else. However, that is six months in the future and by then there should be more apps available and quite a few more OS updates so I'm willing to stick it out a bit longer.
I got this phone 2 weeks after its launch(mid June 2009), using it daily, and just about every feature. In several areas I will compare it to the iPhone, since I feel that these are the two best multimedia smart-phones currently available.
1. Awesome Operating System (WebOS) and most positives come from it.
2. Multi-tasking is simply perfect, switching between apps, opening new ones, closing them, everything works great. Want to listen to Pandora online radio while surfing the web? No problem. The iPhone 3GS does not have that functionality.
3. Instant Messaging and text messaging is awesome. Hard to explain but a text from a friend, as well as an instant message later from that same friend all go to the same messaging interface and are linked as part of the same conversation - it's simply brilliant and seamless.
4. Phone is comfortable to hold and has a nice curve to it.
5. Contacts from Facebook and other email accounts are seamlessly added to the phone automatically.
6. Push (instant) email from other accounts.
7. Awesome touch screen, really vibrant, gestures work well, surfing the web is a breeze.
8. Finally, a little known gem, that I don't understand why more people haven't lauded it: Navigating applications is simply brilliant. No other device does it this well. Need to "up" one level (say from the compose an email screen to your inbox, just swipe your finger on the bottom of the screen ("back" gesture) and it takes you there. Every application, even 3rd party ones, work this way. Listening to a particular song in an album and want to go back to the listing of all songs in that album? Yes, the back swipe does it again. Again, it is hard to describe in words, but it is simply intuitive an really easy. In the iPhone for example, every application has its own way of doing this. Some have a back button, some have a menu that gives other options, some have links in other areas. Basically, navigating an iPhone app is an adventure, and not intuitive. Moving around a WebOS (pre) app, is incredibly easy.
9. Sprint plans are cheaper than AT&T, period. (69.99 gets you 450 minutes, unlimited data, unlimited text messaging in Sprint, and turn by turn navigation with traffic reports, re-routing the full service. This plan is 99.99 in AT&T (for 99.99 in sprint you get unlimited MINUTES, data and text). If you don't care for navigation, the cost in AT&T is $89.99, still a full $20 more ($500 more throughout the life of the contract.
10. You can replace the battery (albeit it's a bit hard, but you can do it)
- The device is fragile. It's all plastic, including the screen. iPhone screen is glass and the new 3GS is much better with finger print smudges. If it falls, it's probably going to be toast. The iPhone (1st generation through 3GS has MUCH better hardware - not talking about processor and memory, those are virtually the same between 3GS and Pre, but the case, screen, and overall physical feel of it.
- Finger print ultra magnet. I still do not get this. Why not normal plastic? This is just baffling. You will see every finger print, everywhere on the device, back, front, sides, every inch of it is a finger print magnet. It's annoying. Instead of shiny coat of black finger print magnet plastic, use the regular one? Like every keyboard in the world?
- Very few applications on the store. More will come, but right now (August 3, 2009) there are only about 40.
- Battery life is very poor. You will have to charge every day, even with light use. Reports vary widely, some people say they can go 2 days, but the overwhelming majority of users report less than a day worth of battery. Just google "palm pre battery issues" for details. Mine lasts around 20 - 30 hours. That's about 20 texts (combined sent and received), about 5 - 10 minutes of phone calls. Email checking, with some responses, light web surfing, on both evdo and wifi (total time about an hour). And listen to mp3s for about an hour or two. Most of the time I am not doing heavy multitasking, just music and web, or music and email. I have the GPS off, location services off, email syncing is every 24 hours (instead of instant/push), and the screen brightness is at the lowest level. Despite all this, I have to charge it every day. If you use the navigation application to get somewhere that is over 3 or 4 hours away, your phone will be dead by the time you get there, so a car charger is a must for those times.
It is small (I have large hands and relatively fat fingers, can palm a basketball). At first, I thought I would never be able to use it, since the layout of the phone calls for you using both your thumbs to type (and thumbs are of course, the fattest of all fingers), so I made lots of mistakes, and thought I'd return it due to that. But after about a month I got used to it, and accuracy is up to about 95% or so. I can't say I love the keyboard, but it is not as bad as some reviews make it sound.
Sharp / cut cheese?
Some professional reviews complained about how sharp an edge of the device was. This is incredibly misleading. I have never, in 2 months of use, felt the "sharp edge" against me on regular use. Not sure how the reviewers managed to feel that after a day or two with the device. If you open the device, and press your finger directly on the edge, you can see that it is indeed a little bit sharp (no, no chance at all of cutting yourself) but I cannot think of a single way of touching the sharp edge during normal use. Let alone touching it hard enough for it to feel sharp.
-------------- My Screen Cracked (skip if desired): ---------------------------
The screen cracked on the top right corner (spider web cracks - just google for palm pre cracked screen to see the reports and pictures) of my phone. I have no reason to lie to you about it. I did not do ANYTHING for it to break. It wasn't dropped, it was in loose pocket, I didn't bump into a table. I simply tapped that corner (when tapping the top right corner the phone displays the remaining battery life in percentage, among other data), put it in my pocket, 5 minutes later I took it out again, and half the touchscreen was unresponsive, then I noticed the crack right where I tap to get battery life. I was shocked. Never in my life have I broken a gadget (and I have had tons of gadgets, from pdas, to cellphones, to small computers, digital cameras, you name it). This was after 18 days with the phone, so I figure since I was within my 30 days, all was well, and the phone would be replaced - I had to have gotten a lemon, right? Note: the phone was immaculate in every other way. There were no scratches, no dents, in fact the crack was in the middle layer if the display (meaning you couldn't feel it with your fingers) but the touch sensitive layer was messed up somehow.
- Sprint store reps were rude and accused me of dropping the phone, sitting on it, or elsewhere, and would not replace it. Take it to repair and pay $119 was their solution.
- Palm (via the phone) were just as unhelpful and said: "the screen is very resistant, you must have done something to it". They wanted $200 to replace it. After talking to about half a dozen employees (mostly in India - which is fine with me, just noting it that customer support is not US based for the most part) I got a higher up in the US. He was pleasant, but still refused to help much. He just said, we can repair it for a discount (making the repair $100 instead of $200). Even after explaining that I must have gotten a lemon, to no avail. He did mention that if the crack was in the "home button" (bottom of the phone) then they would have replace it, as that is a known issue, but since my crack was in the upper right, something must have happened with the phone.
- Now I started calling Sprint again to see what they could do, paying $119 or $100 for a lemon just didn't seem right, so finally after x amount of time and countless conversations, someone gave me the benefit of the doubt (you would think they would treat their customers better, but alas) they offered to credit my account after I sent them a repair bill from a designated repair store.
Why did I stick with Sprint and a Palm phone after this? I like the phone that much. And Sprint did pay for the repair at the end. If they hadn't I would have canceled the contract. But the customer service of both Sprint and Palm was very poor to say the least.
- I've had the new device for about 20 days without issue, but I am worried it will happen again. The Sprint insurance is also pretty bad for regular damage (lost or stolen, different story), you pay $7 a month (which is fine...) but if the screen cracks, you then pay $100 for the repair. The repair without insurance costs $119. So if you don't plan on breaking it more than once every 3 months, it doesn't seem very worth it.
Despite the negatives, I love the phone. I had the option to get an iPhone 3GS instead, but after using this for a month, I just couldn't go back. The iPhone 3GS seemed so primitive in a lot of ways.
on August 3, 2009
Got this phone after my Palm Centro got stolen. I've been a loyal Palm user for 12+ years.
I'll mention first that this is really an excellent phone and is a huge leap forward for Palm.
Since its other positive qualities are well covered in other reviews - and I agree with them completely - I thought it would be helpful to point out some limitations, because they are not well covered elsewhere. So if you choose to get this, you know what you are getting yourself into.
If you think this information isn't helpful, fine, mark it as unhelpful. Don't do it just because you are a fanboi and I'm giving a negative review of your favorite new toy. If you disagree, feel free to leave a comment.
1. mentioned elsewhere, but well worth mentioning again. The battery life is abysmal. You absolutely must charge it every night, that's not optional. That in itself is not a problem, you should expect to have to do that with most any smartphone. The problem here is that it won't even last from morning to night under any decent amount of use. To make the phone last from morning to evening you have to have all non-cell radios turned off (WiFi and Bluetooth), and close apps when you aren't using them. This phone has the marvelous capacity to run Pandora application, but it you do - while driving to work, say, - your battery will die in the evening. I have to leave bluetooth on if I want to use a speakerphone or an earphone. I can't be going to change the settings while my phone is ringing. So to remedy this problem you would need to get the Seidio double capacity battery for about $60. If you expect to use the phone for tethering (homebrew only), you definitely will need this.
2. Phone is a serious fingerprint magnet and scratches waaay too easily. The included pocket does protect it nicely, but you need to use two hands or one hand and your teeth to extract the phone from it. Meanwhile it's still ringing. You really need to get at the very least a screen protector, and preferably a full phone protector. Else next time you put it in your pocket with change or keys in it, your phone is ruined.
3. The speaker volume is low. Loud enough if you are in a quiet room, but if you are outside or in a car, and want to use the GPS (more on that later) you can barely hear it. And I am not hard of hearing.
4. GPS. There are 2 problems with the GPS. It failed for me on a few subsequent attempts to get a GPS signal, telling me I should go into an area where I can see the sky - and I was out in a parking lot! No trees, and clear visibility through the windshield. In fact, I could not get GPS signal while riding in a convertible with the top down. The software still tries to pinpoint your location using cell tower triangulation, but that wasn't enough precision. That *might* have been just my phone - very weak GPS signal. The second problem with it is that you have to be within cell network coverage to use the GPS. No cell coverage, no GPS, sorry. To be fair, TeleNav software is quite good. It pronounces street names accurately and it also tells you how long you're on this road. It's very convenient to not have to pull out and plug in your standalone GPS or remember to bring it from car to car, when you have this on the phone, and as people have mentioned, it's no extra charge. Just please keep in mind you will not be able to use it 'off the reservation' - any area with no cell coverage. The GPS maps are not preloaded on the phone, they are continually being downloaded over the 3g data network. For that you do need a standalone GPS unit or GPS software and maps loaded on your phone, like TomTom for PDA.
5. No sanctioned tethering. While Sprint requires you to upgrade your plan (grrr... more money, fewer features) you no longer have the right to use your phone as a mobile internet access point, unless you use a homebrew solution (search the web). That means they could disable it any time they want. And it will - once again - kill you battery if you do.
6. Music app is not good. My previous Palm phone, the Centro, came with a pTunes application. This one does not. Palm really should have gotten pTunes on board. The included music app lacks certain necessary features: 1- no browsing by folder. You have to browse by the ID3 tags of your music files - artist, genre, etc. Which means if you listen to podcasts, as I do, you have no way of, say, playing all of 'NPR Technology'. You either have to play all of NPR or all of 'spoken word' genre or whatever artificial descriptor your content producer decided to put into the ID3 tags. In disregarding the directory structure of where the content is stored on the phone, the whatever product manager at Palm decided to do that, made a huge mistake. Second, there's no way to download podcasts from within the music app - or any other app. Bummer. The phone comes with an internet connection, why not use it?
7. The tasks app is not as good as the old Palm's. While the screen is bigger, it also uses much larger fonts. Easier to read, but you can only see 6 or 7 tasks on the screen, and there's no way to reduce font size so you can see more of them.
8. Launcher application which organizes your icons only has 3 pages of apps, with no way to add more. People complain about the iPhone only having 10 screens of apps. So as you install new apps, they all get added to your 3 existing pages. And they become looong. No way to say this one's for games, this one for office apps, etc. There's no way to delete some pre-installed apps that take up screen space and memory which you may not be interested in keeping - like NFL, NASCAR, and some other stuff.
9. Phone plan. This is more of a Sprint issue, not Palm, but this is a Sprint Palm phone, so I will mention it. I had a perfectly good plan, with unlimited data and text, but Sprint made me switch to their more expensive plan in order to allow me to get this phone. To be fair to Sprint, once I switched back to a Centro, they reinstituted the plan I had before, even though it has been discontinued. Their customer service these days is top notch. If you are looking for a better plan,[...]
10. Phone boxy is a little rickety. The two halves of the phone that slide against each other feel flimsy - slide sideways a little, and don't lie completely flush. Not terrible, but doesn't feel solid.
In summary, I definitely think Palm has something here - it has a LOT of potential, but in my opinion this is still under-baked.
I'm taking this one back and buying a used Palm Centro, then waiting for Android which according to Sprint CEO should be coming around October 11 this year (HTC Hero). Sorry Palm. It's been a great 12 years.
on August 3, 2009
I've had a Pre since launch day, and so far am liking it very much. I'll try to keep the gushing to a minimum and just list my likes and dislikes
1. Form Factor: The phone is very "pocketable" unlike the iPhone which I'd be worried about breaking all the time if I were shoving it my front pocket. I just have a plastic screen protector stuck to it, but that's it. It also feels very smooth and nice in the hand, whereas the iPhone is a bit *too* thin and not as comfortable to hold. The pre is thicker, but smaller overall and fit more comfortably in my pocket.
2. Interface/WebOS/Multitasking: Is for the most part extremely smooth and quite intuitive once you learn just a couple of gestures. Not quite as intuitive as an iPhone initially, but provides much more flexibility in navigating the interface. Since a firmware update the app launching is faster, though sometimes there's some animation stutter depending what's going on.
3. Synergy/Syncing/Backups: No need for any software for this phone, as it does all the syncing in the background over the air. No worries about losing data, really and if you lose the phone, you can remote-wip the data
4. Network Quality/3G Availability: For me has been quite good (I'm on Sprint, though I realize this is an unlocked version)... And don't live near a city. Plus roaming is free so no worries there...
5. Physical Keyboard: Though it seems small, it's quite usable and for me, easier and faster than the iPhone KB (though if you're in landscape web viewing mode and need to type, you've got to rotate)
6. Included Apps: Most of the included apps are quick-loading and very easy to use. I especially like the "Messaging" apps which sort of merges text/SMS/IM, etc... into a single conversation thread....
1. Sometimes there's a slight "give" between the two halfs of the phone which makes it not feel quite as solid, but overall a minor gripe,,,
2. Lack of available apps in the app store (especially a decent Facebook app - the mobile site is no substitute). Although I have seen the developer kit (recently released) and because it's based on web technologies, we should be seeing a flood of apps quite soon... With the initial SDK, you won't be seeing any robust 3D games or anything, but in time it's likely Palm will release an SDK more appropriate for that type of development...
3. Some of the programs could use more features... for example the email could use an "empty trash" or other features, can't download stuff from the web browser, etc... - I think they're oversimplifying some program options...
4. Lack of support for more media types, such as WMAs or even open source Ogg or FLAC, etc... I mean, what the heck Palm? It's *free* to add Ogg support, ya know - and adding WMA can't be *that* much of a barrier :P
Overall, I'd say I'm very happy with this phone. I like iPhones too, but the WebOs is just very fresh, smooth, lightweight and easy to use.
on August 16, 2009
I've been a fairly happy iphone user for the past 2 years. I had the first generation, and the 3G, and was considering an upgrade to the 3GS and decided to pass, here's what factored into my decision
- The Pre is a great phone and has a top notch browser, multi-touch is excellent
- Sprint's network in the San Francisco bay area right now is better than AT&T's. AT&T drops calls on 280 all the time and sticking on 3G (vs EDGE) is not reliable.
- Sprint's plans are much cheaper than AT&T. Big bonuses for me were the unlimited texting in all plans, the included GPS program (rebranded Telenav which costs $10/month on AT&T), nights and weekends that start at 7.
- The physical keyboard is nice. It's not perfect, but not bad, and better than the touch screen and much more responsive
- I love the notifications interface. It's incredibly well done
- I love the multi-tasking. Being able to finally run Pandora and a bunch of other applications is brilliant
- Pretty easy to install homebrew programs on (a bit easier than the iphone today), but that may change
- The touchstone is very cool, although outfitting your home, car, and work with one gets expensive quickly
- No international roaming with the Pre/Sprint vs lots of international roaming with AT&T
- No Camcorder (yet, although in theory it should be coming)
- 8GB memory seems small now that the default on the iphone 3gs is 16gb, but with my 8gb I never filled it, mainly b/c I started using pandora heavily
- Lack of many applications. That being said, I looked at my top used iphone apps, and most are already on the pre or the web versions work great, and I expect this to rapidly increase
- No games on the Pre. Not a huge issue for me, but I'm sure it will be for some
- No visual voice mail (although this is a minor point as I'm hoping to soon port my number to google voice and then get my voice mails transcribed)
- I want a local sync option included for contacts/calendar. Today it's a 3rd party program, you must sync to exchange or google or facebook.
- Synergy is a great idea, poorly implemented right now. I like being able to enhance my contacts with facebook photos, but I don't want all my facebook contacts in the system, just enhance the ones I already have in outlook
- The touchstone only takes a slimmed down mini-usb connector that palm sells. The 3rd-party mini-usb connectors I have and my car one would need to have some plastic shaved off to fit in the touchstone
- The screen is always on when you are charging on the touchstone. Please fix this (give me an option!)
- The usb-charging dock cover seems flimsy and like it will eventually break.
- The iphone touch screen seems a bit more solid
- Sprint isn't allowing tethering, which is a huge shame. There's already a third-party hack for this, so it's clearly possible. If Sprint let me pay $5/day or even $10/day when I need this, there's a lot of revenue they could capture. They are probably trying to protect their MIFI and data card revenue stream, but this seems very short-sighted.
Overall, the fact that Apple with their app store policies, and AT&T's crappy network and high costs, have made me make the switch. It's not a perfect replacement, but pretty darn good, and I expect that with firmware upgrades it'll get better fast.
The review in one run-on sentence: Form factor is great, and it is a very usable smart phone with some great features that truly take advantage of wireless connectivty, but hindered by weak battery life (that may improve when Palm fixes a bug on the phone).
I am going to talk about general impressions of the phone first, then give some specific info about how the phone suits dedicated Palm users at the end of the review.
I love the form factor. Small, thinner than the Treo, but with a gorgeous large screen that looks fantastic playing video. A minor negative is that the thing is slick--Not just visually but physically. I do feel some concern that I will drop it!
This has all the basic smart phone functions of calendar, contacts list, task list, etc. They all work fine. One difference from the usual is that instead of hooking the phone to your computer to back up all your information, your information is stored automatically through a wireless hookup. The information is out there in "the cloud" and is available if you need to restore your information after a system crash or if your phone is broken or destroyed. This is great, it happens automatically so you can't forget to back up. But you do lose control of your information. Conceivably hackers or a legal opponent could get access to your information through a tech failure from your cell provider, or by court order. If you deal with sensitive information, you may want to get legal advice. I read that a third-party application is coming that will disable wireless backup and allow backup only by hookup to the computer via USB cable.
Internet use is a leg above my Treo. The screen is fantastically detailed, and you access full he-man versions of even big webpages like the New York Times home page. No wimpy "mobile" webpages here! You zoom in to look at specific parts of the website by double-tapping on the screen, or using a pinching or spreading finger gesture to zoom in and out with more precision. Works brilliantly, and the software is very intelligent about lining up the screen with columns of text (for instance) so that you actually see what you wanted to see after zooming. There is a dedicated Youtube viewer app that is excellent. You can order MP3s easily from Amazon's MP3 store.
My only gripe about the phone is battery life. About seven and a half hours into my workday, the phone was at 9% battery life remaining and I shut it down into airplane mode to save the battery. Apparently there is a bug in the phone as released that wastes battery power, and a fix is forthcoming. Till that time, I am taking a microUSB cable to work to charge my phone during the day. Battery issues lowered my rating from five stars to four stars.
From Sprint (sole vendor for now) the phone is only available with the "Simply Everything" package. This includes a number of different services that you access through the phone.
Sprint Television lets you view a selection of programs from different television networks. The images are fine, but the channel selection doesn't inspire me. The main broadcast networks, Speed Channel, Disney Channel, Weather Channel and ABC News Now. For a few networks you can view live feeds, but for most you can just view videos of their programs. In some cases the entire program, in others just highlights. Note that Weather Channel lets you see a series of videos with national or regional forecasts, not the live Weather Channel feed. Sometimes the television channel hesitates or breaks up if cell phone reception is less than perfect. I am not impressed myself, I liked the package on my Treo, which included Comedy Network, Cartoon Network, and Discovery TV much better. On the other hand, Sprint Radio lets you use your Pre to listen to XM channels. There are some great choices, and I think anyone who is interested in music can find something that will appeal.
Sprint Navigation is billed as a GPS replacement. But I won't be leaving Fifi (my battered and cheap-oh Magellan 3200) at home on my next trip. Compared to regular GPS, Sprint Navigation is less precise in locating your car. It's decent, but not good enough (for instance) to let your Pre sound a tone and tell you "Turn now!" Instead you are told "Turn left on Willow Street" and have to pick Willow Street out on your own. Not a problem most of the time, but in a busy environment with several closely-spaced turns it can be. You have an option to push a button to call in the address of your destination vocally to your Pre instead of typing it in, plus you can send a location to a friend with a smart phone via text message, these strike me primarily as gimmicks. On a more positive note, there are some features I'm only beginning to play with that look awesome. You can check along your route to find the lowest gas prices, get traffic reports (and bypass Red Zones), or search for any phrase (my favorite undoubtedly will be "Mexican Restaurant" along your route. I'll use Navigation for these, but Fifi will continue to tell me where to turn unless I happen to need a GPS when she's not in my pocket. In which case I'm sure Navigation will be a godsend. Note that Navigation doesn't work fully if you are outside Sprint cell coverage. Also note that it sucks battery power like mad, so you'll be wanting a car charger to hook to. Incidentally, note that Google Maps Mobile is also included. Very useful, including letting you look at satellite images of an area. But it won't give spoken directions.
You can take pictures (there's a good camera with flash integrated into the phone) and email them freely to your friends.
I've spoken very little of two of the biggest marketing points Palm has tried to use to hype the phone--Synergy, and multitasking. Synergy means that the phone automatically augments your contacts with information pulled from websites such as facebook or myspace for each of your contacts. For me, this is of almost no interest or value. But it does work, and I'm sure for some this will be a big deal. The multitasking lets you work with multiple windows open just like a desktop computer. It works well, and I don't even think about it when I'm using the Pre. Which is as it should be. Very nice feature!
I like the phone. If you have freedom to choose a smart phone of any type from any service provider, there are reviews on CNET and elsewhere that compare it to Android, iPhone, and other competitors, and you should read those and make an informed choice. But I am sticking with my Pre, and I suspect (Pre-dict?) that you'll be pleased if you get one!
Now a few words for the dedicated Palm users among you--Although I don't go back to Palm Pilot days, I've owned and used some sort of Palm since I got the Palm V on its release date in 1999, and I've owned a Treo for over four years, so I am qualified to speak as one of us!
First, don't worry about your data. An application is included which allows a one-time, one-way import of data from Palm Desktop on your computer to the Pre. After that, your data will be in the cloud, and there'll be no more of this desktop computer stuff, thank you very much!
Second, do worry about getting around and working on the Pre--But not for long. For users like me with years of knowledge of how to do every little thing on the Palm, I have had a few frustrations the first few days as a Pre user. Most of the basic common functions (especially the basic PDA functions) are very easy to use and comfortable. I could do without the cutesy implementation of memos as Post-it Notes tacked to a bulletin board, though! But seriously, you'll be okay for basic functions. But everything has changed as far as detailed stuff, and sometimes I was stymied about how to do something obscure, but otherwise fairly elementary. I'm learning as I go along, and in a month I suspect I'll know 99% of the stuff I know about the Palm. But I wouldn't switch phones right before a critical business trip or in the midst of a business crisis.
If you are a heavy user of third party apps, they are toast as far as the from-the-factory Pre is concerned. There is a third-party application that lets you use (supposedly) 99% of classic Palm applications. If there's some third party application that is absolutely critical to you (perhaps you are a physician with a vital medical application) then I'd seek confirmation that the critical app will run, or is available in a version written for the Pre. The library of applications available is small now, but print is getting the development kit out, and the phone appears to be very developer-friendly. So hopefully that universe of add-ons will grow.
If you have an existing Treo, I think the upgrade is worth it if any of the new features appeal to you at all. Don't be afraid, plunge on in!
on October 8, 2009
At the time of purchasing my Palm Pre, I was a long time Blackberry user. I categorize myself as a casual smart phone user who wants good call quality, good text capability, good web browsing capability, and a nice UI to access all of a phone's features. However, I'm odd and I don't really care for a big library of applications.
When it came to replacing my blackberry, I wanted a phone that would offer the Blackberry's similar terrific combination of decent call quality, features, long battery life, in addition to having the best overall messaging experience (e-mail/text messaging). I went through several phones, including an Apple iPhone 3G and T-Mobile's G1 (HTC Dream), and other Blackberry's, but always came away disappointed. I was bored by the iPhone's UI and didn't care for applications. T-mobile's G1 let me down with an ugly UI, lack of multi-touch (though promised, whatever I played with through my time with the G1 was half baked), immense size and terrible battery life. I also disliked the fact that the interface seemed like it needed too many extra steps compared to the Blackberry, i.e., texting took extra steps, and speed dial was not really speed dial on the G1 (I ended up creating a short cut using a 3rd party app).
When it came down to purchasing the Pre, I was worried about the battery life, and the keyboard. What I've come to realize is that 3G phones like the iPhone, Android Phones and the Palm Pre don't offer good battery life. As for the keyboard, I'm hoping that a touchscreen keyboard comes out soon. The physical keys are fine, if a bit tight for someone with medium-large sized hands.
But my overall satisfaction is very high. I'm in love with the UI. I love the multi-tasking and the cards especially, because it allows me to keep a clean "desktop". At first I thought I was going to get annoyed with having to bring up a menu filled with applications shortcuts. (once you call up this menu, you swipe your finger left or right to access more pages/cards with application shortcuts). But having an empty desktop is how I like my desktop too. The less clutter, the happier I am.
Things that the Palm Pre does well includes multi-tasking (i.e., if I happen to be browsing the internet when I get an alert at the bottom of the screen that tells me I have e-mail, I can tap on the e-mail icon in the right hand corner of the screen, which minimizes my browser window and opens up the e-mail program), messaging (especially the ease of inserting pictures into an SMS), web browsing (having owned an Android, the Pre delivers a MUCH better web browsing experience, on par with the iPhone's), call quality, and a good music player (the 3.5" jack is appreciated, and the actual music player program on the phone is very good as well. I sync with iTunes, which some would frown upon, I guess). And turn-by-turn navigation. It's been a pleasure to use.
Things I dislike are more about the physical aspects of the phone. I wish there was something I could grasp onto to slide the screen up. Often I find myself thumbing up against the screen, which smudges up the screen. This wouldn't be a concern if the screen were glass, but the Pre's screen is plastic and will scratch easily. As mentioned before, the battery life is not good (it barely lasts me 11 hours, and less when I am using navigation as the nav program keeps the screen lit up, understandably). I wish there was a sliding cover over the phone's camera lens too. It's a good camera for a phone, why not protect it?! The power/standby switch could provide more tactile feedback.
Overall, the phone has been my favorite gadget purchased in a long time. Engadget put it best when they said that using this phone provides a near personal computer-like experience. Number of Applications aside, it's my opinion that this is the best phone on the market for the casual smartphone user.
on August 3, 2009
had a Blackberry for work, and a Sanyo 8400 for personal use. I was tired of carrying two devices and could not use the Blackberry for personal calls. I bought the Pre the first day it was released and haven't needed the Blackberry since. The Pre handles my work (Exchange EAS) and all personal email accounts.
The Web browser is fantastic. In October the Pre will be one of the few smart phones with Adobe Flash support.
The Web OS makes it easy to develop apps. Many users are creating "Home Brew" apps that can be downloaded at Pre Central [...]
Turn by turn navigation is included with an everything data plan. Other carriers charge extra for this service.
Text messages are treated as coversations, each person you are texting is a separate session and you can see your entire conversation. You can use the touch screen to switch between different contacts. The Pre's slide out QWERTY keyboard makes typing easy and convenient.
Ergonomically the phone is well designed. It sits very comfortably in your hand. The touchscreen and gestures are intuitive. The screen is bright, sharp, and clear.
The only negative is that the phone is fragile. Get a nice case and screen protector. I like the Phantom Skinz screen protector.
The bottom line is that this phone does all of things I need a phone for extremely well- email, texting, web browsing, and navigation. The Web OS makes the apps and possibilities endless.
I'm not going to review all the features found but just say that this is the phone i grab to get something done (over the iphone 3GS that I had for awhile comparing them) and generally is more fun to use.
First of all, definitely get the car charger from Palm or an online store like Precentral.net. This one powers the touchstone if you choose to put one in car. It's pretty nice to be able to get in the car, just lay the Pre down on it and be able to stream Pandora (even over bluetooth stereo), use Sprint Navigation (pretty decent GPS turn by turn), take calls, etc. If no bluetooth, just plug into axillary port.
Forums at Precentral give you more apps (homebrew apps) to put on your Pre and an easy way to do it. Tethering app is also available that can turn your Pre into a wifi hotspot or BT/USB tethering.
Only con really is that native palm apps (or functions like copy n paste) aren't that polished. This is expected to be corrected in future updates (which are downloaded/installed straight from the phone). Since launch, we've already seen some minor and one major update. Current version is 1.1. Other features like audio and video recording are expected in future as well. App catalog is expected to really take off by end of summer with sdk already out if you're craving some games like Bejeweled or others.
With Sprint, you can upgrade every 12 months since a Pre plan will automatically make you a sprint Premier member. Airave is available if you have any in-home reception problems..this device is hooked up to your router to give you full bars in home. Calling Sprint and asking about Pick 3 can get you unlimited calls to any 3 non-sprint numbers. Finally, make sure you're getting a discount (up to 27%) no matter if its your company, or being a member of an eligible entity (such as a credit union, utility, association, etc...Precentral or other sites have more details).