Palm Pre is now available, and the honeymoon is already over!

June 6, 2009

palm_preThe long awaited release of the Palm Pre smartphone is finally here, with Sprint and Best Buy stores officially selling the new phones as of this morning. Some fanatics actually camped out yesterday night in front of their targeted store, but it seems that the wait lines were minimal and most people who absolutely needed to have a Pre phone today got one.

Now that the initial excitement has worn off, it seems that these same fanatics are scrutinizing their phone which they’ve prematurely placed on a pedestal. From the user postings on the various Palm Pre forums, users are already complaining about dead screen pixels, slow Internet connection speed, creaks, small keyboard, overheating while charging, low ringer volume, distorted spots on screen, inability to change the notification sound or volume, very long charge times, very slow calendar app, etc. Some have already exchanged their Pre phones for new ones, while others are complaining of the lack of applications and/or the functionality of the built-in apps.

Some diehard fans will defend their cherished jewel of a phone to the bitter end (or when the next new phone comes out), while others will rip the Pre apart with complaints. Everyone has to understand that the Palm Pre is a brand new phone with a brand new operating system. It’s going to take a few years for the Pre to improve with it’s apps and functionality. The first step, will be for Palm to release the Mojo SDK to ALL developers so we can all start creating useful apps. Personally, I’m planning to hold off getting a Palm Pre until the “early adopters” (or “tech fanatics”) shake out the phone and report back on any possible show stoppers. Also, I want to try out the SDK and emulator to see how much control and access I will have to the phone’s hardware features.

Moving my Calendars into the Cloud

June 5, 2009

calgooI like to keep my life in order, so keeping track of appointments and calendar events is important to me. Since the company I work for has standardized on using Microsoft Outlook 2007 with Microsoft Exchange Server, I’m forced to use Outlook as my scheduling tool for my work activities. I also have been using Outlook 2007 at home on my personal desktop PC for a few years for both as my main email application and for recording calendar events. The big challenge for me is to keep my personal and work calendars separate, but have them both viewable at the same time when I do my personal or work scheduling.

Since I’m using Outlook 2007 for both my home and work PC, I could “publish” both my calendars privately to the online Microsoft Office Servers and have the two Outlook apps access them as Internet Calendars. In this method, my home PC can view my work calendar but I can’t edit the entries on my work calendar. Likewise, my work PC can view my personal calendar but I can’t make changes to it. This is fine, but limits my ability to change both my personal and work calendars on the same machine.

Another option, is to sync my calendars to the “Cloud” (Internet) and open both of them as Internet Calendars on each PC system. This afternoon, I decided to try using this method by installing the freeware app called CalGoo. This utility runs in the background on a PC and will automatically sync my calendar events from Outlook to a Google Calendar via an Internet connection. An added bonus, is that I can edit or create calendar events in my Google calendar and they will be synced to my Outlook calendar as well. As such, I used CalGoo on both my home PC and work PC, and have them both sync to separate Google calendars in my Google account. I then open the Google calendar of each other system in Outlook as an Internet Calendar.


Now, my personal calendar is synced to Google calendar and my work calendar is synced to a different Google calendar. I can then view both calendars overlayed on one another in a single Google calendar screen. Likewise, I can also overlay my personal and work calendars in Outlook on both my home PC and work PC. It all seems to work fine, since my home PC and work PC are both normally always connected to the Internet.  Also, I can check, delete, and create events in either calendar whenever I want so long as I have access to a web browser and an Internet connection.

Doing all of this also positions me pretty well if and when I do switch to a Palm Pre phone. The Pre syncs with Google Calendar, so this will allow me to view and edit calendar events on either my work or personal calendars.

Palm Pre Fanatics

June 2, 2009

palm_preAs you may have read from my previous postings, I’ve been eying the soon-to-be-released Palm Pre smartphone. In preparation, I’ve been reading three different Palm-specific forums to gather information on this device. Not so surprisingly, a lot of posters to these forums are fanatical about the Palm Pre and are prepared to do some crazy things to get their hands on this smartphone on launch day (June 6th).

One guy actually had a Palm Pre image tattooed on his upper bicep so he could win a Palm Pre prize (I wonder what was tattooed on his other arm… a Wii Controller?). Other people are strategizing when and where to line up at the various Sprint and Best Buy stores the night before so they be the first to get a Pre phone on the 6th. Don’t these people have a life? Why do they have to get a damn phone on the first day it is offered? Is it really that important? In fact, one person is camped out in front of a local Sprint Store 5 days before the phone will be available. That’s insane. Maybe for a contest to win 1 millon dollars, but not to pay for a stupid cell phone!

And what if these people are camped out for 24 hours and then find out on the morning of the 6th that the store ran out of phones? Of course they will probably scream and shout and whip out their laptops and begin posting hateful messages about Sprint, Palm, etc. to Internet forums, twitter, blah, blah, blah. I also read a posting that indicated Sprint will need to physically take a customer’s Palm Pre and do some configuration before they leave the store, and some people are upset because they will miss the “unboxing experience”. Who cares?!! It’s just a stupid box! Some people are just too obsessed with this kind of stuff.

Yes, the Palm Pre is a highly anticipated cell phone which is poised to be competing with the very successful Apple iPhone. However, this is the 1st generation device for Palm with the new WebOS, so undoubtedly it will have bugs, deficiencies, issues, etc. The entire birth of the Palm Pre seems to follow that of the Google G1 Android phone, in my opinion. Here’s my prediction of life of the Palm Pre:

  1. Palm announces the development of the Palm Pre. News articles are written about it, touting it as the next iPhone killer.
  2. Over the next several months, bits of information are leaked out which get some people really excited.
  3. YouTube videos appear with demos of the Palm Pre in action (under very controlled conditions). Again, more people get excited.
  4. A few weeks before the release date fanatics are strategizing on how to get their hands on the Palm Pre when it is first released.
  5. News of shortages, etc. frustrates some people, making them even more obsessed with finding the right store to camp out the night before the 6th.
  6. Release Day! Some people get their Pre’s and are happy, while others are shafted for some reason and go home empty handed.
  7. Over the course of the next few weeks, the Sprint and Best Buy stores will get shipments of Pres and getting one will no longer be a big deal.
  8. Fanatics will begin posting how wonderful the Palm Pre is, and all the great features. They will boast about the speed of the web browser connection, etc.
  9. Then, the honeymoon will be over. Those same fanatics will begin to bitch and complain about the Palm Pre dropping calls, slow Internet connect speeds, push emails not coming in instantly, the lack of good applications (and having to pay for applications), hardware issues, quality issues, limited battery life, etc.
  10. After about 4 weeks Palm will release an OS update which they claim will fix all of these issues (and it won’t).
  11. Fanatics will try to return or exchange their Palm Pres, while others will jump back to the iPhone.
  12. And, there will be some diehard fans that will stick with their Palm Pre device through the good and bad.

This scenario is what I saw with the Google Android phone, and I see it also happening with the Palm Pre. I hope that I’m totally wrong, but history often repeats itself. So what am I going to do? Well, I plan on waiting until all of this settles down and we have a good assessment of the Palm Pre. I’m also waiting for the Mojo SDK to be released to determine what kind of applications I can create for the Pre phone. I’m crossing my fingers now and hope Palm comes out on top smelling like roses…