Okay, not even a week. Four days. But here’s the snapshot, the rundown, the little list of first impressions:
First off, let’s be straight: I am not anti-iPhone, but I am a full-on Palm geek. If this makes me biased, so be it. Actually, I was leaning towards an iPhone for awhile… The basic plan was to go iPhone when my current phone and/or my Palm T|X finally die. So, when my old phone was starting to show it’s age (failing audio, creaking chassis, random battery malfunctions), I decided that it was finally time to get a smartphone, and the iPhone was my first choice. Then out comes the Pre, throwing a wrench into the plan.
Now for the money. AT&T wanted $300 for an iPhone. Sprint wanted $150 for a Pre. Even with the security deposit to Sprint and the early-termination fee to AT&T, the Sprint Pre was $100 cheaper than an AT&T iPhone. (Yes, I know, as an existing AT&T customer with a phone not bought from them, my iphone “upgrade” actually costs more than a new iPhone with a new account; what can ya do?)
Ignoring the advertising, it looks like the Sprint’s Pre plan isn’t that much crazily less-expensive than an AT&T iPhone plan. But, it is still cheaper, and the basic plan includes everything: unlimited texting, data, navigation, etc., whereas these are add-ons with AT&T.
Further impressions: I was hoping that migrating my info from one Palm device to another would be straight-forward. It was not. The Pre pulled my contacts from facebook and Gmail instantly and faultlessly, but woe to the person who doesn’t use one or both of those. Getting the rest of my T|X info transferred over involved a somewhat labourious route of hotsyncs, exports, imports, and uploads. I still haven’t gotten my full calendar history synced, but everything else is there.
Surprisingly, the Pre does not (or at least , I have not discovered how to) employ the simple and expedient “beaming” of information in vCal, vCard, or any other format I use. I know the Pre has done away with IRDA, but the T|X still manages this with Bluetooth; unfortunately, it’s a one-way conversation. WebOS is so far removed Palm Garnet (or anything else out there) as to behave like it’s from an entirely different parent.
Functionally, the Pre does everything I’d need it to do. What little core functionality it lacks is sure to be addressed via push WebOS updates or new apps.
On the design side, the Pre feels a little plasticky, but only to the point where I’m reluctant to drop it in my work pants pocket; it’s not flimsy or fragile, but “robust” is not an adjective I’d use here. For my fat fingers, no keyboard will ever be big enough, so the single-thumb pecking on the wee keys is neither good nor bad; it’s just par for me. The screen and touch are both killer. The only lag I notice is on app launches; after launched, all the apps I’ve tried run quietly and neatly in the background, and pulling them into focus feels pretty snappy.
As an Ubuntu user, having an iPhone that syncs cleanly with a computer/iTunes is meaningless to me. The Pre is utterly cloud-centric, although I’ll be experimenting with just how well it speaks Linux. I’ve already gotten into an easter-egg or two, and am about to dig into dev mode. More to come…