Post-Review Thoughts On Palm's Pre
Since that story and its accompanying blog post, I've learned a few new things about this $200-ish smartphone.
One is that keeping its system software and add-on applications current requires little more than a tap of its Updates tool to check for, download and install any updates. So far, Palm has shipped two minor revisions to the Pre's operating system--one with various bug fixes and performance tweaks, a second with security patches.
The Pre's App Catalog of add-on programs remains nearly vacant, with only 29 applications listed on the review Pre today--but by a week ago, Pre users had still racked up one million software downloads. Palm has also announced that it will open its app-development program to the public by the end of the summer
Sprint, the only wireless carrier to offer the Pre in the U.S., has not revealed sales numbers, though it did brag that the Pre "had broken previous sales records (first day and first weekend) for a Sprint device." One outside analyst's research, however, suggests that the Overland Park, Kan.-based carrier sold more than 300,000 Pre phones in June.
Other carriers will have to wait to sell the Pre or a comparable device running its software. There's plenty of evidence that Palm is developing and testing a version that works on the GSM wireless technology used by AT&T Wireless and T-Mobile in the U.S., as well as in most other countries. Verizon Wireless, for its part, seems interested in selling the Pre once Sprint's exclusivity ends.
Finally, I've had the chance to try out two extra Pre features. The first, its $69.99 cordless Touchstone charger, seems a tad pointless. Yes, it's cool to be recharge the Pre (once you replace its back cover with a slightly heavier substitute included in the Touchstone's box) by leaving it on top of this pedestal. But is it that hard to plug in the Pre's USB cable? Won't you need to do that every few days anyway to copy a different set of songs to the phone?
The second feature--the "Full Erase" option waiting behind the Device Info app's "Reset Options" button--is a lot more practical, at least to reviewers who need to scrub their data off a device before returning it. After a tap to confirm an are-you-sure prompt, the Pre shut down, rebooted, and a minute or two later launched into the setup screens you'd see if you had just taken it out of the box, showing no evidence of my old data. That's a lot more convenient than the memory-wipe routines I've seen on other phones.
I happen to be a Sprint customer myself, so the Pre could be a logical upgrade. But I'd first like to know what features a 1.1 update to the Pre's operating system might bring (the ability to synchronize only some Facebook contacts would be a real help, for example). I'd also need to have a wider variety of add-on programs, which probably means waiting for Palm to open up software development for the device. What about you: What would you want to see happen with the Pre before you'd consider buying it?
July 1, 2009; 3:22 PM ET
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