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Handhelds Cellphones Communications Hardware

Palm Pre Is Out, Time For Discussion 283

caffiend666 writes "Palm Pre is out, let's discuss the status and compare stories. The first day seems to have gone as well as expected, with many selling out before noon. I bought the second at the local Sprint store, and so far I like it. Much more one-hand friendly than the iPhone. I haven't gotten the main apps to sync with Linux, but the media portion functions much like a thumb-drive with my Fedora-8 Linux system. For the Pre-verts out there, here's some Palm Pre dismantling pictures."
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Palm Pre Is Out, Time For Discussion

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  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Saturday June 06, 2009 @11:04PM (#28238655)
    Well, considering that the entire OS is HTML/XML based, I'd say that they have a pretty efficient/good rendering engine. What I'd like to see though, are plugins or at least /etc/hosts modification so I can block ad-servers to make browsing fast on cell networks.
  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Saturday June 06, 2009 @11:19PM (#28238741) Homepage Journal

    ... with a block of cheese? []

    On a serious note, I'd like to hear from some really picky (but sane) people about how the browser compares to Safari. Does it support iPhone optimizations (viewport) and handle CSS/JS well? If you go to facebook or google do you automatically get the iPhone version? How is the speed?

  • by kitezh ( 1442937 ) on Saturday June 06, 2009 @11:24PM (#28238761)

    "For the Pre-verts out there, here's some Palm Pre dismantling pictures."

    Yes, but does it blend?

  • by wiredlogic ( 135348 ) on Saturday June 06, 2009 @11:36PM (#28238835)

    Any bets on how Palm will screw over the developer community this time and finally ensure their belated demise?

  • by StreetStealth ( 980200 ) on Saturday June 06, 2009 @11:52PM (#28238913) Journal

    I wish palm would release the sdk already so more apps would come out and so I could start customizing/contributing

    This is what's going to make or break this platform. The promised accessibility and potential integration of WebOS development is too good to pass up, but it's only going places if Palm gets it out there in time and in one piece, documents it well, and we actually start seeing some good, original apps.

    Also: Apple has a one-year head start and tens of thousands of apps, but 90% of them are absolutely useless, cluttering up the store. If Palm can build a better meritocracy for the App Catalog and promote quality (and maybe even offer an option to filter any app with "fart" in the name), they'll have a good thing going.

  • Re:Pro-Tip (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Saturday June 06, 2009 @11:54PM (#28238927) Journal

    Right, if we cared about "mass appeal" then we'd be interested in buying phones that only run apps that are approved by the church ladies who vet them at the app store.

  • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot@w o r f . n et> on Saturday June 06, 2009 @11:55PM (#28238929)

    For me, the PalmOS emulation is going to sell it - or not. I'm not getting a smartphone until it can replace the most-used stuff on my T3. I hope this is it!

    The emulator's available - it's in the Pre store. I don't know how much it costs though.

    The only downside is the Pre's touchscreen isn't as precise as the old Palms, being that you use a stylus on the old Palms, but you have to use your finger on the Pre (capacitive touchscreen, like the iPhone).

    OTOH, Nokia n700, n800, and n810 users can use Garnet VM for free during the beta.

    But yeah, I need something to replace my Palm. My T|c died, and I haven't found a good replacement for it. My T|x works, but the lack of keyboard is disappointing. Plus it's slower than my T|c was.

  • by Mr2001 ( 90979 ) on Saturday June 06, 2009 @11:55PM (#28238931) Homepage Journal

    Take a closer look at that comment. They're talking about "the original iPhone situation", i.e. before the SDK existed for public use, when would-be developers were told that the way to extend the iPhone was to make a web site that could be accessed from the iPhone's browser.

    Needless to say, no one was happy with that, and Apple eventually released a real SDK.

  • Abroad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tsa ( 15680 ) on Sunday June 07, 2009 @12:13AM (#28239011) Homepage

    This seems like the phone I have been waiting for. When will it be available in the Netherlands? How much will it cost?

  • by shmlco ( 594907 ) on Sunday June 07, 2009 @12:18AM (#28239041) Homepage

    "....and we actually start seeing some good, original apps."

    Non-native JavaScript-based apps running in a browser (WebKit)? Good luck with that.

    Especially with games.

    And I suspect that the HTML/JavaScript base will attract more "developers" of the kind that barely managed to get through the "HTML for Dummies" book. So much for "quality" applications.

    "If Palm can build a better meritocracy for the App Catalog..."

    So the idea is for Palm to be even MORE restrictive than Apple in managing the store?

  • by babyrat ( 314371 ) on Sunday June 07, 2009 @12:37AM (#28239097)


    Could you have heard could've instead of could of? They pretty much sound exactly the same.

    It's when people write things down that the real meaning (or non-meaning) of what they are saying (or think they are saying) becomes apparent.

  • by jerryasher ( 151512 ) on Sunday June 07, 2009 @12:58AM (#28239189)

    Basically Palm has punted on the PIM. One complaint about the Treo and later Palms was the PIM never advanced past what it was in 1997. But on the Pre they've dumbed it down even further and gotten rid of categories and search.

    So while I might keep notes or web clippings in a memo (best restaurants, best bars, all npr stations in the nearby states, lan settings for home and work, ...) now such long collections of notes are horrible to browse through or find.

    It is in some sense a Google/Facebook phone, but they haven't embraced all the Google Apps yet (no google tasks, no google voice, no google reader)...

  • All the applications and the GUI are running on Webkit and the OS's only real job is to handle the hardware and provide a nice platform for Webkit to run

    No, not really.

    WebOS is Linux, with a Web-kit based UI instead of a UI. That means it can render web pages easily, and applications can be written in HTML (like some others can be written in XUL). the "card" based applications are going to be largely javascript + SQLlite + a custom JSON-based means to access the hardware, using modified webkit for display. (There are lower-level hooks, but Palm is going to make those harder to get -- which is a good thing IMO.)

    Geekiest thing? The copy of the GPL that comes as a PDF.

  • by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Sunday June 07, 2009 @01:38AM (#28239327)

    This is what's going to make or break this platform.

    I hate the idea that everything depends on purchasing apps. What about just making a damned good browser and letting me use it? Im sure 90% of the popular apps out there can be coded up as web apps, but instead Apple has created a market for buyable apps instead of promoting cross-platform free web apps. I just saw an iphone commercial about "there's an app to find apartments." Err, my beater Treo with WinMo5 does that. I just visit the apartment sites with my browser. No need to spend 10 dollars on another app.

  • by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Sunday June 07, 2009 @02:15AM (#28239467)

    >>Apple loved their one button mouse for a decade when everyone else knew how stupid that was.
    Having a billion buttons on your mouse (or hell, even two) doesn't make it better. Apple's got only one button and it makes sense. Geeks who fail to THINK from other points of view and can't see a reason for something will generally miss good ideas.

  • by JakiChan ( 141719 ) on Sunday June 07, 2009 @02:59AM (#28239623)

    Go to a sprint store. Call 'em first thing tomorrow morning.

    The huge majority of the stock went to sprint-branded retails stores -- not Radio shack, wal-mart, or best buy.

    I suggested that, but he wants to do the rebate instantly, not have to mail it in (which we all know usually doesn't work).

  • Re:Abroad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by itsme1234 ( 199680 ) on Sunday June 07, 2009 @05:04AM (#28239963)

    This seems like the phone I have been waiting for. When will it be available in the Netherlands? How much will it cost?

    THIS is the phone you've been waiting for?! It doesn't work with your current provider (which is GSM for sure); actually it doesn't really work anywhere except USA and colonies (yes, I know there are some CDMA other providers even across Europe but the coverage is poor and sometimes even when they are technically compatible 100% there aren't roaming agreements in place).

    The existing GPS applications don't work with it so navigation is out of the question.

    So what's left? I guess mp3's will play all the same and you can do some browsing over wifi and probably using it for PIM as well. Surely they'll release eventually some GSM version and there will some decent applications for it (if Palm doesn't run out of money first) but for now this device isn't something desirable, especially in the EU.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 07, 2009 @05:12AM (#28239991)

    Re: firmware updates, I think people have a slightly misguided view of what they call "firmware".

    Firmware is really only the low-level modem firmware, chipset firmware, etc. All of that should be pretty stable. Nobody says "man, I wish that mass storage firmware was updated" unless there was some serious enough problem to go around mucking with the firmware.

    On the other hand, the apps and OS are going to be updated over the air. Especially with apps written in Javascript, it shouldn't be hard to maintain support for older WebOS products. It's not like the Treo where it ships with a particular version of the OS and you're stuck with it. When WebOS 2.0 and 3.0 come out, it'll be available for the Pre and probably the entire line of WebOS devices.

    I agree with your other comments, though. There's a lot of work to be done before it's really a solid product.

    I think one of the big disadvantages of an OS designed and exclusively run on a single company's hardware is that you're stuck with that company's design choices. For example, the iPhone has no physical keyboard, and probably never will. For the Palm, the keyboard is always going to be portrait-mode only with small round keys. It's a surprise they actually made a slider. They're not likely to do anything like put back the 5-way anytime soon though.

    A single company (especially one of the size of Palm) just doesn't have the resources or creative focus to create multiple non-crappy product lines catering to different people. Of course, the Android approach has its own problems.

  • by Wingsy ( 761354 ) on Sunday June 07, 2009 @06:21AM (#28240197)
    I don't understand why anyone would buy a Pre today. With the new iPhone just around the corner (~30 days or less) I would hold off and see just what the iPhone 3.0 has in store, make my comparisons and then decide. Unless of course I've already made up my mind that I'm buying a Palm-anything and it makes no difference what else is out there. And people making comparisons between the Pre and the current iPhone -- I'd think this is a close enough race that the fair comparison would be to the new iPhone. Oh well, in 30 days that will be the case.
  • by janopdm ( 1292860 ) on Sunday June 07, 2009 @07:28AM (#28240415)

    There is a trade between complexity and efficiency. You can cram information, shortcuts, and tricks (eg: the vi editor), but it requires a mental switch, unless you really really have been used that particular application.

    I think one goal of Apple is to free yourself from that switch. Making each application UI a no brainer, you can concentrate on your job, and not in UI interaction. I think that's where most of the love for the iPhone comes from.

    You should consider that an iPhone application is designed to be used with your fingers, and then ponder if designing for a stylus would improve it as much as to make it worth it.

  • by Old97 ( 1341297 ) on Sunday June 07, 2009 @09:42AM (#28240939)

    I don't think it's correct to say that "Apple responded to that" when talking about how Apple has expanded support for development on the iPhone. I think it's more correct to say that when the iPhone was first released, Apple wasn't ready to support native applications or a number of other things useful to developers. As Steve Jobs was saying at the time when promising things like support for native applications, Apple was still working on their security model and other aspects of the platform to insure that applications could not compromise AT&T's services or other things.

    We're seeing with iPhone 3.0, for example, that with the introduction of parental controls they can be a bit less anal about the content applications can provide users. We see that they've finally added cut and paste, but not in response to earlier complaints, but according to a schedule of work they had to get through.

    If you read some of the accounts about the development of the iPhone you'll recall that things were going much more slowly than Jobs wanted, but Jobs was committed to a release date. So iPhone 1.0 was a great start in terms of introducing a new class of device to the world, but it was far from complete.

    Now if you said that Apple allowed applications that competed with iTunes, then I'd agree that such a move would be in response to external pressures. I don't know if that will ever happen.

  • by dunkelfalke ( 91624 ) on Sunday June 07, 2009 @11:21AM (#28241483)

    What malware? Windows CE (the base of Windows Mobile) is out there for more than a decade, you a free to install apps from anywhere and there are only two viruses for it, both are just concept viruses made by antivirus companies to promote their products.

    So get down of your high horse. As for your reasoning about why should anyone buy Palm Pre because iPhone 3 would come soon, the same argumentation goes about iPhone. Why should anyone buy one when HTC Touch Pro 2/Diamond 2 come out soon and featurewise any iPhone lags years behind Windows Mobile phones?

    Still, some people buy it because they like the dumbed down interface. There are reasons to buy Palm Pre - like multitasking. Lack of multitasking was pretty much the killer reason for Windows Mobile some years ago and it is what nearly killed Palm.

  • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Sunday June 07, 2009 @01:07PM (#28242255)

    Touchscreens are for noobs. All this time I've wondered what the iPhone crowd was crowing about with their touchscreens, but today, on the Pre, I really miss the fidelity and precision of a stylus and a 5 way navigation button the stylus lets me precisely hit exactly the point on the screen I am looking for and the nav button lets me precisely scroll up and down the number of items I desire. Exactly. Each time. Repeatedly.

    Did it ever occur to you that perhaps the Pre just has a really crappy touchscreen? I like how people look at one bad implementation, and instantly declare every possible use of the technology to be horrible.

    Anyway, you're actually somewhat right; the key is that the iPhone is designed around the touchscreen from day 1, and Palm applications aren't. The iPhone doesn't have any buttons that are small enough to fat-finger, except on the on-screen keyboard which has autocorrect to fix that for you anyway.

  • by jerryasher ( 151512 ) on Sunday June 07, 2009 @01:40PM (#28242543)

    "Did it ever occur to you that perhaps the Pre just has a really crappy touchscreen?"

    So actually I did. Next time I post at slashdot I'll write a ph.d length dissertation.

    I ruled out that the Pre has a crappy touchscreen because:
      a) all of the reviewers (wsj, nytimes, and many many more) all said the touchscreen was great even in comparison to the iPhone
      b) the palms and treos had touchscreens that needed calibration and the pre somehow doesn't need calibration (and maybe it does...)
      c) palm has long been known for their touchscreens of one sort or another, hard to believe they can't do a touchscreen right.
      d) palm recently hired 200 apple engineers, hard to believe they can't do a touchscreen right

    By the way, it's pretty obvious to someone who has used a palm pilot or treo and then the pre that all the pre apps were designed from day one to use a touchscreen too.

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court