The Palm Pre was released on June 6, 2009 and I was at the Sprint store, bright and early, to get my shiny new Pre. I spent most of the next two days getting to know my new phone. What I found was a phone that was, and still is, evolving. Since the phone was released, there have been at least four major updates and many minor updates to the operating system and the device got a refresh when Verizon began to carry the phone. Of course, I still have my day one phone.
Almost immediately, I began to read where there were tons of hardware issues with the devices like defective screens, sloppy slide mechanisms and battery connection problems. If you were to believe the very vocal but minor group of users who complained on a couple of forums, every one of the devices were bad. Of course, that was not true. I suspect that there were a few that had legit problems, but I don’t buy that the majority were defective. There were always the same people who swore that they got one bad device after another. One person, I recall, went through six devices before Sprint put the brakes on them. Whatever. My original device has just worked. For a year now. I’m happy.
The Pre was far from perfect: it lacked video recording. The webOS had a severe memory limitation for applications. Mail had bugs. In fact, all of the built in apps had minor little problems, but none were bad enough to detract from the overall experience. And, I’m happy to say, just about all of the shortcomings have now been fixed.
The Pre was pretty useful from day one, but, like the iPhone and other devices, it became even more useful once third party applications became available. Palm should have had the app catalog ready on day one, but they didn’t and, I think, that hurt the platform a bit. A healthy third party, non-Palm sanctioned, application ecosystem sprang up fairly quickly. Palm, eventually, embraced that and even encouraged it. Palm’s own app catalog has, finally, become a pretty decent source of third party apps. There is a bunch of junk there, but there is also a good amount of quality apps, most of which are inexpensive.
Games have become a pretty significant genre for the app catalog as the Pre is actually a nice gaming machine. The touch interface and accelerometers make for handy and mostly intuitive gaming mechanism. The graphical support is also there and Palm’s release of the PDK will allow for even better and more sophisticated games.
I play a few games, Boggle and Shrek Kart are two of my favorites. Shrek Kart is very close to Mario Kart, which is one of my favorite Nintendo games (on ANY of the Nintendo platforms that have a Mario Kart game.) Boggle is probably my favorite, but it suffers from an awful memory leak.
Perhaps the most useful apps for the Pre are the Weather Channel app, Evernote and Tweed. While I’m not the biggest fan of Evernote, its web sync (which, ironically, is one of the reasons I DON’T like EverNote 3.x because they added it at the expense of other features) allows me to maintain important information across my PC, Pre and iPad as well as being able to access it from any browser.
The Pre has proven to be a great value and one device that I still absolutely love, even a year into ownership. Is it perfect? No. Does it have problems still? Yes. The ability to use the web from pretty much anywhere has proven to be indispensible.
Would I trade it for another smartphone? NO.
I love my Pre. Still.