Kasperian Moving Parts

kinda like Batman, but with a wife and 3 kids

I Can Haz a Palm Pre AND IT IS AWESOME!

| 30 Comments

Woot, I got one! I’ll post again once I get the pictures off of the camera, but I got to the local Sprint store at 7:00 (AM!!!!) this last Saturday, waited for an hour, and managed to snarf up 2 Palm Pres– one each for my beautiful bride and I.

I realize I need to put up something more deep than “WOW! AWESOME! OUTSTANDING! I LOVE IT!”, but honestly, that’s about all I can muster right now. This is definitely the device I’ve been waiting for the last 10 years. Amazing interface. Excellent graphics. Beautiful applications. Perfect synchronization with my Google information (it does desktop syncing too, iirc, but that’s so early 90’s!). REALLY fast USB data transfer (like, I’ve never seen anything this fast before). The Touchstone charging thingey is mind-blowingly cool and simple and elegant (induction charging == no wires for charging!). Music and Video playing is dead simple and being able to transfer my music/videos from Linux is a must-have (sorry, Apple, you intentionally suck at this, so go away). In a word: perfect. Seriously.

The apps I’ve been using thus far are Pandora, Accu-Weather, Tweed, YouTube, and of course all the built-in goodness (calendar, contacts, mail, clock, calculator, google maps, GPS navigation, etc.), and I am 100% impressed and satisfied. The WebKit-based Pre browser does an extremely nice job, and the multi-touch zooming, auto-screen rotation, and scrolling is beautiful. Though Adobe hasn’t seen fit to provide their proprietary Flash browser plugin for the Pre yet, the Palm guys have done a really nice job at hiding that fact, from what I’ve seen so far (open the browser and go to youtube.com, for instance, and click on a video and it launches the video in a separate application). I believe I’ve heard that Adobe/Palm have said that Flash will be available for the Pre before the year’s end, so it may be a non-issue soon enough.

One final thought I had while playing with the Pre for the last couple of days…. As I mentioned previously, I’m a gadget geek, and have been using Palm devices for longer than I’d care to remember. People have made a big deal about Palm’s demise and how bad they have been doing and how it seems like they’ve been intentionally trying to drive people away from them and make themselves go out of business. And all of that seems true, especially having been one of the few, ashamed, die-hard Palm geeks myself. And while the Palm 5 OS seems gosh-darned ancient and ugly and ridiculous, especially compared to the sexiness of the iPhone, Android, and now especially their new WebOS, I think it’s important to remember the fact that for a LONG while, Palm was truly the innovator of the handheld/PDA world. Unfortunately, Palm has had a rough ride in recent years and hasn’t been able to kill off the old Palm OS (and don’t think they haven’t tried!) with anything revolutionary… until now.

As I was playing with my new Palm Pre, it struck me that a lot of the innovations that you see on it and similar devices these days were first done by Palm. Flip the screen sideways and go from portrait to landscape? Palm did that YEARS ago. Of course, the accelerometer wasn’t around then to make it automatic, and PDA hardware couldn’t do the fancy and smooth transition animations, but still, Palm had that idea a while ago and implemented it nicely. Multi-layer launchers? Yep, Palm did that a long time ago. Web browser on your PDA? Yep, Palm did that too.

My point is this: it seems that people are hesitant to think that Palm could actually be breathing new life again… that they’re tired of waiting for Palm to get their act together and do something meaningful… that they’re just copying the iPhone and the Android. Well, as one who was thinking exactly these things before I got my hands on the Palm Pre a couple of days ago, I can tell you that Palm is breathing new life again, that they have finally been able to rise above the old Palm 5 OS, that they have definitely gotten their act together, and most importantly, they have done something extremely meaningful with the Palm Pre. And in retrospect, I don’t think we should be surprised at this. Palm has been innovating handlheld computing for longer than anyone else, and with the Palm Pre, I think they have shown that they are still REALLY good at it.

I have been waiting for a long time for “the one device to rule them all”–for one device that intentionally plays nicely with whatever operating system I want to use, that handles synchronization with my calendar, contacts, and email flawlessly, that has a built-in GPS, that has a good built-in music player, a good built-in movie player, has built-in internet access, a good web browser, is extensible via apps, and has a good screen. I am really excited with the Palm Pre because it is finally “the one device to rule them all,” and it does it REALLY well. The GPS is awesome (better than that on the Nokia N810), by the way, and the music and movie players are gorgeous. And everything you’ve heard about the responsiveness, multi-tasking, beautiful screen, and nice little details are true. =:)

Anyway, that’s about all the words I can muster. I’m very happy with the Palm Pre, and feel like even though I “missed out” of being a gadget geek for the last couple of years with the iPhone, the wait has been worth it. =:) I really think Palm has done something special here with the Pre, and I wish them the best of luck. Being that every store in the state of Massachusetts was completely sold out of Palm Pre’s and their new Touchstone chargers within 4 hours of opening, I have a hunch that they’ve knocked this one out of the park. Well done, Palm!

Author: Jason 'vanRijn' Kasper

My name is Jason 'vanRijn' Kasper. I am the ring leader of the amazing Kasper family. I am unashamedly a Christian Nerd. These are our stories....

30 Comments

  1. Pingback: Twitted by jdotk

  2. ARRRRGH! I want it to come to Europe! NOW!

  3. I’m wondering whether the Pre has USB-Host mode to access e.g USB sticks or even low-power USB hard drives. The N810 actually has that, which is really useful to get access to real storage.

  4. So when will you flash it with FOSS? 🙂

  5. Is anybody selling these devices unlocked so that they may work with any carrier?

    I would be willing to pay good money for that.

  6. Can’t wait to have the PalmPre in Europe too.
    Do you know whether it can connect the calendar and email to regular IMAP accounts too?
    Haven’t found a really detailed datasheet yet.

    I’d be also interested in the “openness” of the Linux system which is used for WebOS, as OpenVPN would be really useful for me on this device.
    Is it only possible developing applications using the official SDK which only allows access on HTML/CSS/JavaScript or is there also a really basic SDK for accessing the system itself?

    Regards, Elias P.

  7. It just is amazing how Linux is such superior OS and now even SOOOO famous that it can be used to power all different machines. Like WebOS is using Linux as it’s OS. It is just so great that mobilephones are getting more companies to use Linux. Like now Android and WebOS. What next, who is going to use Linux as their OS on next devices?

    Palm Pre is just such nice looking device. Too bad that OpenMoko did not succeed ;(

  8. My brother just picked one up, since you can try Sprint out for 30 days paying only for the service and negligible restocking fee. That phone is SLICK! I’ve already taking to calling it “the precious”. I’m going to “borrow” it from him later this week and go driving around with it. I’m very impressed with the phone, upon second (if not first) glance, Sprint’s plans are VERY competitively priced. I’m just not yet sure if it will do what I need it to do WHERE I need it to do it. I have my fingers crossed.

  9. I envy you, Master Rembrandt!

  10. Could you tell me if you got a written offer to get the sourcecode of the linux kernel and WebKit? Could you share the sourcecode or the link to it?

  11. I’ve been looking for a new phone for a couple of months, seen some nice things but none of them really got that ‘Sweet !!!’ feeling.

    Now I just need to wait till it’s available in Europe.

  12. @zecke: I’ve seen on one of the videos that in the documents app(?) on the Pre there’s a document whose name starts with “Open Source Information” so maybe there’s more information about the source…

  13. Hey everyone, thanks for the comments! =:) I should have said previously that I have no relationship with Palm and don’t have any special insight or view into source code, so I hope that answers your question, @zecke.

    @Tom: About the only thing I’d ever think of flashing this thing with would be if/when we get the capability to dual-boot the Pre with Android. =:)

    @eliasp: I don’t know if you can hook up contacts/calendar to regular IMAP accounts, sorry. There are a few really big discussion forums around now (www.sprintusers.com and forums.precentral.net, for instance). You might want to create accounts there and ask.

    @Ariya: Heya! =:) Hah. “envy”, says the man who got a G1 during Trolltech DevDays on the first week it was out, just to play with it. Not buying it! =:P

    @Lauent: Yeah, I’m pretty sure they’re going after a pretty aggressive release schedule all around the world, so maybe Europe is next (or soon at least)?

  14. Well, you are a customer and should have received a written offer to get the linux and webkit sourcecode. As a contributor to webkit I would be very much interested in seeing it. Could you check if you got a written offer inside your box or sourcecode?

    thanks a lot

  15. eh, not in Palm Pre, but _on_ Palm Pre …

  16. “I’m wondering whether the Pre has USB-Host mode to access e.g USB sticks or even low-power USB hard drives.”

    Nope. Looks like there is no power supply and there is no support out-of-the-box for this (I and others have tried it).

  17. Does look pretty awesome. And I think you’re right to point out that we shouldn’t be surprised by innovation from this company. In a way, Palm’s biggest rival has been its former self for many years now. Good to hear they’re still at it.

  18. Heya Mike! I think you hit the nail on the head very well–Palm has been its own biggest rival. It’s kind of funny if you stop and think about it… how many years ago was it when Apple turned the geek world on its head with the Newton? And then Apple yanked the Newton and allowed Palm to turn the geek/PDA world on its head and reign for quite a while. Kind of interesting that these are still the two biggest innovators in the geek/PDA/(and now smartphone) market. The difference this time is that there’s no way Apple will be doing a Newtonesque implosion with the iPhone, so Palm has its work cut out for it. But from everything I’ve seen/heard/touched/used in the last couple of weeks, it sure looks like Palm is doing a bang up job with the Pre and the WebOS. Can’t wait to get my hands on the SDK! And I’m absolutely loving the much more open stance that Palm is taking with the WebOS/Pre than Apple has with the iPhone.

    Good to see you buddy! =:)

  19. I have a question for an older post you made about installing open suse 11.1 on a thinkpad t61. I’ve been trying different linux distros and I keep noticing a repetitive problem I keep having. Little things like fast scrolling, moving windows, using firefox causes my cpu usage to skyrocket. I’m wondering if you had similar issues before. Is there anyway to fix this problem?

  20. Can’t wait for the Palm Pre to cross the mighty Atlantic backwards & land on Scotland’s rocky shores. Actually, I’m closely monitoring that coastline on a day-to-day basis… it’s right across the road. BUT! Will Pre’s webOS still allow me to sync my calendar & contacts (& notes & pictures &c) directly with my beloved KDE environment, i.c. Kontact? Or do I have to do it all through Google or the likes of it? My current Palm Treo 680 is increasingly failing to sync properly (but perhaps an upgrade to KDE 4.2 will solve that) and I start getting nervous about it. Also, I presume there will be a lot of new & useful apps on the Pre, but what is actually available right now?

  21. Hey Martin. webOS syncs directly with Google calendar/contacts/email/etc. and that’s all I care about at this point. It also syncs flawlessly with my work Exchange calendar so for the first time in my life, I’m absolutely thrilled about having a device that can do that without me having to screw around with desktop syncing tools that don’t work 100%. So, no, syncing with kontact isn’t possible right now, I don’t think, and forgive me, but I couldn’t care less. =:)

  22. I can see your point, and from there you’re right. But I’m not in the Exchange world and I’m not going into before 2030 anyway. And I like the idea of keeping my calendar & contacts stuff where I can see them, so not out in the wild with Google. That’s just me being calvinistic, and that’s why I really appreciated your screwing around with KPilot and the likes. So, maybe I should look into setting up something on my webhost into which I could just login from a Pre? That is, if I succumb to temptation…

  23. Hey Martin. =:) I believe that I’ve read that the Pre is supposed to be able to do SyncML syncing, but I have never looked into it. If anything, that might be the way to look at syncing your Pre with KDE/Kontact. I believe the Missing Sync guys have figured out how to get this working, so it must also be doable on a FOSS PIM suite. =:)

  24. Thanks for that, Jason! In the end there may be salvation, even for a dinosaur like me… That would mean installing multisync + kdepim & syncml plugins. I think I can do that. I mean, once openSUSE 11.2 is out, and we have survived Xmas, I’ll try a clean setup. Nelleke still loves her Palm m505, so if things work we are both happy.

  25. Cool! One more thing I forgot to mention… If you’re really stuck in the stone age, there’s a “Classic” emulator for the Palm Pre that still runs the old Palm OS5 PIM applications and even lets you sync with the old Palm OS5 syncing solutions (like KPilot over bluetooth with net:any). HTH! =:)

  26. Thanks again. I’m living in the midst of standing stones, cairns & duns, so the Stone Age (OK, rather Late Bronze Age) fits me well. And half of the area has no proper coverage for mobile connections (BT stands for Bronze-age Telecom…)

  27. Pingback: KPilot is dead « Bobulate

  28. Wait till the screen cracks on you, which happens alot. It’s not covered under warranty unless you get some extended warranty which exceeds the cost of the phone. Surf the net and see for yourself. Mine cracked and BELL wants me to pay for another phone.

  29. Hey @Steve (who I’m guessing won’t ever get this because you used a fake email address)… Actually, we’ve had 3 Palm Pres for the last 7 months and haven’t had any problems with cracked screens. Oh, and I pay $7 per month for Sprint’s total equipment protection plan, and am very pleased with their service.

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