Owning the Palm Pre is kind of like working in Palm’s R&D lab. Don’t get me wrong, I love the phone, but sometimes, it is a strained and difficult love. Since its release, Palm has updated the phone’s operating system at least once every month. I’m not complaining about them making the phone better, but some of the updates have actually gone the opposite way. Take the 1.3.1 update, the next to last update, it made the phone a pig. Oh, it fixed a couple of things, but, overall, it was a big step backward. It was almost as if they released it untested. Of course, I know they did, but, I have to wonder, what are the acceptable levels of quality from them?
All that said, I am happy to report that the most recent December update has made the phone a much nicer device to use. It is far more responsive, apps seem to start up a bit faster, web browsing is much improved and more responsive. The most important update Palm made, however, was to move the location where is stores user applications. Previously, user apps were in a small partition that could fill up very quickly. It was, perhaps, the dumbest thing Palm has ever done. You don’t promote a phone like they did, tout its multi-tasking abilities, encourage developers to write to the platform, and hobble its ability to download and install those very same apps. What were they thinking? Well, that limitation is gone now, six months post device release. Can we say speedy fix, ladies and gents?
Most of the rest of the changes deal with the calendar, ability to download updates via the 1xRTT mode (non-3G) and the app catalog is now out beta. Oh, you can download apps in the background, which is pretty cool. Pre Central has a complete rundown of the update here and you can read the forum here.