From the Canyon Edge -- :-Dustin

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Palm Pre Rant

While I'm usually a rather positive person, this post will not be, so beware...

I use a Palm Pre as my primary phone. I previously wrote about about my Pre and my G1. I love that it's running Linux (WebOS), and I really like many things about the phone and OS. But there's a ton of little things that are really starting to drive me nuts about it.

Every time Palm forces an upgrade of my OS, several things break. Most recently, the 1.4 upgrade broke Terminal and MyTether -- two of my most frequently used applications. Moreover, what's with forcing a user to upgrade? I was so much happier with the old version.

The Touchstone charging station is a complete waste of money. I thought it was pretty cool that it uses magnetic induction to "wirelessly" charge the phone. But the software integration with it is absolutely terrible. It's simply unusable on the nightstand next to the bed, since the backlight is forced on (with no way to disable), so bright as to disturb your sleep. Other times, it appeared to be charging, but wasn't actually doing so, and the phone just slowly committed suicide. It's $70, doesn't include a USB cable, and doesn't work very well at all. Buy yourself a $5 retractable microUSB cable and skip the Touchstone entirely.

I love that the headphones jack is a standard 1/8" plug. But about half the time I use it, the sensor that detects whether it has a plug in it or not gets "stuck", and I spend the next 20-30 minutes plugging and unplugging the 1/8" head phones plug into the slot until I can by chance get the friggin' sensor to reset. This is a giant pile of suck that renders your phone unusable until you can get the sensor to reset. I pray that I'm never in an emergency situation where I need my phone and this happens :-/

And finally, it just recently "ate" a bunch of pictures that I had taken of some flipcharts we were using to take notes at an Ubuntu Server sprint. Yeesh. So I can't really even trust it to save the pictures that I take.

So my take on the Pre after ~6 months, from best to worst...
  • Linux -- awesome
  • Real keyboard -- awesome
  • App store -- decent, but less than Android or iPhone
  • Flip-mechanics -- feels kind of cheap
  • OS graphics/effects -- pretty nice, I guess
  • OS stability -- okay-ish
  • OS speed -- kinda slow for some things
  • Battery life -- not so great (less than 24 hours)
  • Sprint forcing OS upgrade -- highly undesired
  • Touchstone -- waste of money, skip it entirely
  • Headphone jack issue -- should force a recall of the devices, IMHO
  • Arbitrarily deleting pictures -- WTF
So I guess I'm starting to look for another smart phone. I don't think I'm in love with the Pre. We were never married, of course. Just courting. And in the end, I don't think we're meant for one another. She's just a little bit unstable and immature for me :-)

How long until I can buy a mass market smartphone running Ubuntu? Is that too much to ask? ;-)