I have blogged on numerous occasions about cellphones and historically, I have been an unabashed Blackberry user. So it was with a sense of shock when I realized that my new employer would not support Blackberry phones. I had two options:
The choice was obvious and I went with a Palm OS-based device and chose the Palm Pre Plus on AT&T. There are many articles discussing the basics of the Palm OS and Palm Pre and in this piece, I just wanted to share my thoughts on my likes and dislikes of the phone. I have been using the device for about three months now and so have had ample hands-on time. Note that these observations apply only to the Pre Plus; I have not used the Pre 2, Pixi or Pre 3.
What I like about it:
Touch screen – Palm has taken design cues from Apple and has done a good job in creating an OS that relies on touch gestures. It is very easy to use the OS to open programs and switch between different open ones. This was a particularly refreshing change from the Blackberry which relied on a trackball. (Newer Blackberries like the Torch have a touchscreen, but I do not believe that the implementation is as efficient as found on the Pre Plus.) Gestures such as double tapping and pinching for zooming work well. The RIM OS really shows it age in contrast.
Multi-tasking – Palm OS does a particularly good job with multi-tasking and uses its card interface to allow for rapid and efficient switching between running applications. It is very easy to quickly access your calendar or email while on a call. This is highly valuable particularly in scenarios where you have a conference call and must switch between the calendar and phone for access code information. RIM had multi-tasking too, but the process of accessing and closing applications was painful requiring a long press of the Blackberry button and substantial trackball scrolling. Simply put, Palm’s approach is far more efficient and user friendly.
Web Browser – Let me start by saying that my last Blackberry was the Bold 9000 and so I never tried RIM’s newest browser. The one I used was terrible. It was highly inefficient and was made worse by corporate policies which often refused to load sites claiming that they were too large. It was extremely frustrating and the web experience was questionable at best. The Pre’s browser could not be more different. It is a fully functioning mobile browser that mimics the experience of a desktop, and I have yet to find a site that the Pre has a major problem with. A massive improvement over the crud that RIM used to pass as a browser.