Palm Pre Eyes-On, Plus Plenty of Pre Questions Answered | webOS Nation

Palm Pre Eyes-On, Plus Plenty of Pre Questions Answered 58

by Dieter Bohn Mon, 16 Feb 2009 8:04 am EST


Just got back from my meeting with Palm (actually it was some time ago, but sketchy internet reigns supreme here at MWC09). The above would be the highlight of the trip: a real live working Pre in GSM flavor.  That's right folks, it's a GSM Pre.  It was live on Vodafone's network and running the same version of webOS we saw at CES, but that's about all the information I could glean about the GSM side of things.  An updated OS is currently undergoing testing at Sprint and presumably will hit the GSM version too.  As for what carriers the GSM Pre will land on, when, and if there will be an unlocked version, Palm was staying mum.

Fret not, though, gentle reader.  I had a smorgasbord of Pre and webOS questions to ask and actually managed to get answers to most of them.  Read on for all the nitty gritty on Synergy, developer support, and plenty more photos.  Oh, and get this, there are actually photos of a real, honest-to-god telephone call.  Using a smartphone to make a call -- imagine that!

Developer Support

The big news of the day today has to be on the development side, with Palm announcing both a partnership with Adobe for Flash on the Pre and the O'Reilly book starting to trickle out, chapter by chapter.  I haven't had a chance to read said book (naturally), but Palm tells me that the first chapter is full of hints about how exactly device memory works and whatnot.

The question of the day, though is just how much the MojoSDK will allow developers to accomplish.  Sure, it's locally-stored web widgets and sure, you can do quite a bit with them (just look at Palm's own apps as examples of that).  But what about games?  What about deeper access to the Bluetooth stack so that developers can get things like Bluetooth keyboards working?  All in good time is the word.  None of that  extra special access will be made available when the SDK is launched in its initial form, but Palm expects to have it later.  So no Bluetooth keyboards at launch, but we're holding out for them later.

As for when that SDK will actually get released in full, Palm is hedging a bit on their initial estimate that it would be available at the same time that the Pre launches.  They're expecting it to "lag a bit" after the launch, which is a good news/bad news sort of thing.  Good news that Palm is pressing hard to launch the Pre as soon as possible, bad news that the SDK won't be available on launch day.

Back to the Adobe/Palm partnership.  Although we're currently looking  at "end of the year" for flash support on the Pre, it turns out that's actually the target date that Adobe and Palm have set for Adobe to finish up their flash support and deliver it to Palm.  Adobe delivering it to Palm and Palm delivering it to customers are, sadly, two completely separate things.  We suppose it will make a very good test case for Palm's promised over-the-air ROM updates.  If they can get the added functionality finished, baked into ROM, approved by carriers, and pushed out in short order, we'll have the final proof that we're looking at a brand new kind of Palm.

One last thing: Palm is well aware of preDevCamp and is absolutely smitten with the idea of people getting excited about the Pre  They're offering as much support to the project as they can, though no official ties are to be found.


Lastly (well, actually we started the conversation with this, but who's counting?) we talked a bit about Synergy.  Specifically, we wanted to know what services would be supported at launch.  Here's the short list:

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Exchange

There will likely be a few more, but it's important to note that Hotmail/Live Mail and Yahoo are NOT supported by Synergy, at least at launch.  Palm said that the APIs for accessing these services are still up in the air and frankly, we have to cut them some slack there because when it comes to IMAP support, Hotmail is definitely still stuck in 1997.  You can get to Hotmail and Yahoo Mail via POP3.

Next I wanted to know what pushed and what didn't and for the stuff that didn't how often information was updated.  The reps I spoke with (all 5 of them, I asked around) honestly didn't know how often Synergy made sure your stuff was up to date with non-push systems.  Most of them said that it never really affected them in day-to-day usage.

One thing that did stand out, though, is when I asked about Gmail Push.  The rep said "Gmail pushes, doesn't it?" Wha wha WHAT!?  After my incredulous response, the reps I spoke with backtracked a little and said that maybe it didn't but they were pretty sure it did, we'll get back to you, and all that.  However it does seem to be the case that if you're working with an IMAP server, email does seem to push.  We haven't gotten a clear answer on this, but provisionally it's looking like the Pre and webOS will support IMAP IDLE.

Making a call

Yes, we witnessed the Palm Pre both make and receive a call.  Yes, it worked fine.  No, we weren't able to extensively test it, but you can see below for in-call screens and the like.  One nice thing, a call coming in looks like any other "big alert," meaning you get your caller ID photo popping up from the bottom, but it doesn't interfere with whatever you're working on.  Nice.


Documents, Attachments, and Errata

Although we know that DataViz is a launch partner with Palm, we don't know yet whether or not Docs To Go document editing will be available at launch (trust us, we'll ask DataViz first chance we get).  In the meantime, Palm intends on making sure that there's full-featured document viewing available and, if you didn't know, image viewing already works great and works inline with email.

One sour note -- no support for zip archives at launch.  Durn.

We also had a few people ask about WiFi, specifically whether or not University-style PEAP authentication would be supported.  The Palm rep we spoke with wasn't sure, but we convinced them to give us a peep into the WiFi preferences, which revealed support for "WEP, WPA, and Enterprise."  Guess we'll have to wait and see just what's inside that "Enterprise" section.

One last thing before we get to the galleries.  The calendar really is stupendous and offers full support for recurring and non-standard scheduling of appointments.  Wahoo!

Ok, really, one last thing: there. is. no. alarm. app.  Palm said that people are very picky when it comes to alarms (that's true), so they figure it's an excellent opportunity for 3rd party developers.

On to the gallery!





no alarm app! what. the. hell?

I've got my fingers crossed that Vodafone get this in the UK, so I'll be able to upgrade to it and keep my existing number!

The no-alarm thing sounds utterly bizarre, though.

When you say "GSM", I assume you also mean the European 3G standard, UMTS. GSM is 2G only.

Also, which frequencies does the GSM (or UMTS, if you prefer) Pre support?

No alarm app! Not really an issue if you use Google Calendar you can set it to notify you by text message or email for appointments.

Pff.. The alarm app in PalmOS is pretty bad as it is, but to have none at all, and to have to wait for one to be available (no SDK at launch..) is just plain stupid...

"no alarm app! what. the. hell?"

I have to support this statement. are they crazy?

The Palm Pre does have an alarm. The phone will allow you to set multiple alarms. I use it everyday to wake me for work.

"No alarm app! Not really an issue if you use Google Calendar you can set it to notify you by text message or email for appointments."

I expect an alarm function to work even, when the phone is off. I do not think that this will work with the google calandar.

You guys are too funny, bot happy with anything. They just anounced Flash, and you guys have an issue with an ALARM CLOCK??? I have a Blackberry now (which I hate) came with an "alarm clock" but in unusable, still had to get a 3rd party app. Use the calender for a month or so, there will prob be 10 alarm apps to buy within a month of launch...

I thought I was the only one thinking this. "Funny" is a kind word in this case. I'm actually upset the Pre does not have two types of screwdrivers and a knife that flips out of the sides. How is this supposed to help me if I decide to go fishing or something. Surely they could have fit that in. It's not like it's new technology. Come on Palm! Instead of meeting our needs, you've decided to do silly things like focus on usability, productivity and style. Who needs a fancy UI if this thing can't even cut a simple fishing line or help me unscrew the back of my Betamax?

YEAH, how crazy of people to expect a $600.00 computer to offer the capability of nearly EVERY PDA, cell phone and digital watch released over the past 30 years or so. Animals!

So to sum up, moving from the Treo 755, I will lose:

1) Alarms
2) Local Backups
3) Removable Flash Memory
4) Battery Life
5) Ability to leave Sprint for another couple years

A "pay as you go" T-mobile phone and TungstenX is looking better and better each day. Already have a couple iPods..

Oh yeah, forgot that I'll have to throw out and repurchase all my OS5 applications (if I can even find an equivalent WebOS app).

Dont forget IR port.

It sounds like you need in the 20th century!

OH NOES - no IR port!

Sure. And lets just leave out all the features that we are getting so that our point comes across better.

Honestly, if your 755 is so much better, why not just stick with that and chill. There will be more devices later. I, for one, will gladly upgrade from my 755p to the Pre.

(I guess you don't use your 755 for alarms?).

Seriously, the Pre has a lot of beauty about it, but I'm concerned it's like a lovely "luxury" car that you open up the doors and lift the hood and find a lot of expected things missing.

Frankly, if a flashy new car is sold without a radio, heater, air cleaner or seat belts nowadays, it would raise eyebrows. Selling such an expensive device that has a calendar but no alarm capability out_of_the_box makes no sense to me, but you're welcome to drink the kool-aid wholesale.

> (I guess you don't use your 755 for alarms?)

Yes, I do use it for that...sometimes...but I'd rather multi-task now and get an alarm later.

I, for one, depend on my Treo waking me up in the mornings. So I'd say this is kind of shocking but I'm not really upset, for many reasons:

1) There still might be an alarm app on the launch. If I'm not mistaken, they only said there won't be a Palm's own alarm app. And if I'm not mistaken they have already given some third party developers access to the SDK (and I'd be surprised if the App store were empty on the launch!) so I'm hoping some of them will see the need (or already did) for such an app and implement it before the launch.

2) Even if the scenario in 1) doesn't happen, I'm pretty sure I can live with calendar events as alarms for a couple of weeks, if that long. So, still not a deal breaker for me. This is only based on my hope some 3rd party developers will come up with such an app very shortly after the SDK launch.

3) Did Palm ever have a dedicated alarm app, at least on their Treo line? I know I had a bit of trouble finding the right alarm for my Treos and eventually settled on TreoAlarm.

BTW, I just realized TreoAlarm has been abandoned, or so it seems, so maybe some of you using another favorite alarm app on your Treos could contact the developers to see how positive and committed they are on delivering a webOS version of their app shortly after the SDK launch (or maybe they already contacted Palm and are secretly working on it).

No alarms... hmmm.

No beeping or buzzing.

I guess that leaves us with just visual notifications.

Palm figured that the costs associated with installing a sound output device into this device were cost prohibitive.

OH WAIT - it's a friggin' phone!

I'm more concerned with the Gmail/IMAP pus email confusion.

I loves me some push email...

Weird, no Yahoo! support. They are #1 by soooo far in the Internet email/calendar/address book world. And I get nicely working IMAP on my Yahoo! right now on my Nokia E71, although it certainly isn't push.

Still, just the fact that a GSM phone exists and can be held in hand is exciting. Wonder if it'll work on AT&T 3G? If so, see ya, T-Mobile.

Okay, I think I understand "no alarm app" to mean "no alarm *clock* app", or maybe "no alarm app that plays songs." I do *not* think the Pre would ship without audible chirps or tones of some kind when calendar appointments come up. Heck, my Casio watch could do that in 1980.

I'm a tad disappointed about having no BT keyboard *on launch*, but very encouaged that a BT keyboard is almost certainly going to be supportable and will surely show up in short order. If Pilokey could allow Newton keyboards to work with Palm all those years ago, BT keyboard is a near-certainty.

For myself, I'm generally happy with my T|X right now (and blew someone else away yesterday by showing her a feature film through TCPMP), and don't want to give up half my storage (16 GB SDHC, courtesy of Dmitry Grinberg's PowerSDHC driver), so I don't see myself leaping at the Pre on launch. Unless my T|X takes a long dive off a short counter or something, I'll likely wait for the next iteration of the WebOS hardware, which will hopefully include removable storage of some kind and the awaited BT keyboard driver. Still, everything I'm reading says that Palm gets it, that the Pre is a super-competitive device, and that it's likely to find a lot of customers. {ProfJonathan}

Yea, it looks like I may need to keep my TX for notes until the SDK is updated for the bluetooth stack support. I may turn my TX purely into a video player/ebook reader/note taker once I get my Pre. Until Palm makes a larger-screen device, of course (like how HTC finally woke up with some 3.8" screen devices @ MWC this year).

If Palm would make a webOS MID/netbook then that plus a Pre would finally rid me of the TX (or even just a big screen webOS device) ;p

Please stop showing me pictures! Stop teasing me! Please launch the Pre! I have never been so excited about a gadget. I have not been as happy with my Centro as I was with my Treo 700p. I was all about jumping ship to iPhone when the Pre teasers started.

Palm, I'm sticking with you. Now please give me my Pre!!!

No alarm clock, no bluetooth keyboard at launch, no unzip, document viewing only, unknowledgable prsenters...I gotta be honest, other than the adobe-flash announcement, MWC isn't impressing me from Palm...

On a lighter note, on my Palm TX, PEAP wifi was an "Enterprise" feature, so the Pre may yet support it. :D

The question of the day, though is just how much the MojoSDK will allow developers to accomplish ... But what about games? What about deeper access to the Bluetooth stack so that developers can get things like Bluetooth keyboards working? All in good time is the word ... Palm expects to have it later.

Clarify. So is this just for things like Bluetooth keyboards, or is this confirmation of an actual binary API that will eventually be released to allow things like games and a Palm OS emulator?

Launcher! I love it! Cannot wait to get my hands on the Pre!

Great news about the non-standard calendar scheduling, big bummer about no alarm though, hopefully 3rd party devs will fill that gap quickly.

Is that lip on the edges of the keyboard still there in the GSM version? Its a little hard to tell in the pictures, but I know I've read on some sites after CES that the lip interfered just a little and that they were considering lowering it a bit, have any slight hardware tweaks happened like that?

No alarm? I think it's great that they are leaving something that lots of people can create that everyone will buy right out of the gate. Spread the wealth.

>I think it's great that they are leaving something that lots of people can create

Palm does that a lot, but the OS has always had the BASICS covered. Alarms are a function that nearly EVERYONE uses, it should be integrated into the OS. Let the third parties build a better mousetrap, but it should be a no-brainer to have alarms out-of-the-box.

What else did they leave off, expecting third-parties to sell to users? A phone application?

How about using an SLR and setting manual focus?? As much as i love having his finger-hairs in focus, I'm here to see the Pre ;)

No alarms is pretty lame. I can understand the complexity of reconciling multiple calendar services, but eliminating alarms in the native calendar is a reactionary solution. I've used my POS device as my alarm clock for over 10 years, and I always keep it off overnight to preserve battery life. I wouldn't want to leave the Pre on overnight (even on the Touchstone) just to get OTA/SMS alarms from Outlook or GCal.

In itself, it's no much of a dealbreaker, but I am reconsidering my dismissal of the STP as an option, since it appears to have a more mature array of EAS and cloud sync services.

They don't say no alarms at all. They say no alarm APPLICATION.

I'd be very surprised if there's no audio tones (or at least the option for them) for calendar events. But it seems like there's no program to tap on to set an alarm clock for the next morning.

Also, I'm a little confused. You need the device on and in 'standby' to play any tones at all, even on POS. Do you mean you turn the screen off? That's not anywhere near turning the device off.

I don't know what the difference between an "alarm" and an "alarm application" would be. I don't have an alarm app on my Garnet devices AFAIK. As long as the native calendar can attach alarms to events, I'll be fine with that. But the impression I get is that it won't.

By "off" I mean screen and connection off, which is what you probably call "standby."

I was reading as meaning alarm application like Palmary Clock, TreoAlarm, etc. were on the PalmOS Treos. I also believe that you can still attach an audible alarm to go off on your calendar. Maybe if we look through the videos we'll see if it makes a sound when the notifications come in, I never actually noticed.

And yes, I'd refer to that as standby, because the device is still really on.

No.... no alarm clock APP. Calendar still does alarams. No specific app.

Of course it supports IMAP IDLE... The guy who developed ChatterMail works for Palm now and they bought the rights to his IP... So there you go-- we all know what a good job Chattermail did at making IMAP into push mail. And yes, free Yahoo accounts can go and tie into their mail using IMAP...

...but google does a better job at mail and calendar IMHO.

Marc no longer works for Palm. he was let go a little bit ago.

I hope the Palm Pre doesn't borrow the strategy of the iPhone: a strategy of stealing all the Eloi functions, adding more Eloi functions, and then screwing the Morlocks out of their fav functions!

It's as if they don't want Morlock hands touching it, but instead a Paris Hilton set of hands. That way it can have a chance be iCool!

Face it nerds! Anything you touch is venom to the chic.

Will it have built in support for other Languages ? specifically Right to left languages (like Hebrew/Arabic) ?

Can you expand a bit on the no alarm thing?

Do mean no waking up to a beep beep or your favorite MP3?

Or do mean no reminder noise?

This is my signal greatest frustration with the iPhone, the nag/reminder functions total suck.
There is zero range of customizations for how aggressively you want to be found/reminded it chirps/vibes once for a notice then goes dark and silent never to heard from again. This sucks and drives me completely crazy. Particular combined with it going screen dark on the cradle and having no LED, there is no way to tell you have a problem without handling the dam thing, and you know what fondling my phone every 5 minutes to see I missed something is not the top of priority list.
I want a reminder missed this or that and especially a calendar system that completely rocks (the palm had a ok one but there where add on apps that made incredible what any to these should be).
I want different escalating aggression levels set on a event level.
Missed call, vibe, noise every minute for five minute repeating every 10 minutes decreasing the interval so it goes ape constantly after half and hour.
SMS single reminder vibe chirp every 10 minutes after new arrival notice/vibec/hirp.
and so on.

Keeping people aware that they have data waiting in HUGE, visual indicators alone suck and rely on this constant fondle idea and that your phone is never off in a office somewhere charging while you live your life (blasphemy I know). This is area where the iPhone completely missed the boat and Palm has a chance to swing back hard,
Yet I hear no alarm and I'm seriously starting to panic. I may go back to my treo 650 because of how 'sick' I am of missing stuff on my dam iphone.

It has been mentioned several times here but bears repeating since there are 100 comments that seem baffled by it. I am SURE that there will be alarms (ie notifications) available for calendar events.

What they were saying is that an Alarm Clock Application (like what is found at the top of the World Clock app in the current Palm OS) will not be included. That is fine with me. Like they said, I'm sure there will be 100 of them out in the App Catalog in short order to suit your daily alarm needs.

They better get an on screen keyboard for when you turn landscape!!! What happens when your doing some heavy internet surfing in landscape mode... you have to turn the unit upright and pull out the keyboard to enter in something? That's crazy.

Everything else about the Pre I'm melting for! I want it BADLY... NOW! Give me Pre! mmmmmmmm

Will this "Snyergy" OS sync/upload all Palm pre data thru the web as does Goolge g1? I'm also trying get calendar clarifictions I have used a great DateBK6 app from Pimlico for many Palm upgrades. This gives a monthly calendar view with all data readable that I can't live without. I have had many hardware issuse/software with the 755p. Even with all the incredible free software on the G1 I'm trying to get use to the calendar but it won't make the cut.

I was looking at the newest video by palm of the calendar in action and about 3/4 through the video when the guy was typing "alfreds" looking for the restaurant for dinner,you can clearly see a speaker icon with the word (sounds and alerts). I'm pretty sure we'll be able to alarm ourselves prior to an 3rd party app.

No alarms? What's the point of appointments / task reminder if it won't let you know when it's time? I'm not going to pull the thing out and turn it on and check the screen every 10 minutes.

My TX's main use is reminding me when to do things. If this one won't, I'll be buying all the spare TX's I can find, to hold me over until Palm or someone else produces something useful.

Als, I don't use facebook, or Google (except the search engine) Will organizer and contacts work without having "accounts" on these web sites? Will I be able to save my private information locally only, and NOT pass it on to someone else? If not, then it's Bye Palm, except to get TX's repaired at lease once a year.

No alarms? What's the point of appointments / task reminder if it won't let you know when it's time? I'm not going to pull the thing out and turn it on and check the screen every 10 minutes.

Of course there will be alarms. It would be IDIOTIC not to have alarms. What they're talking about is a separate alarm application where you setup daily/weekly/monthly/yearly alarms without clogging your calendar. That's all.

So even folks who are used to set up wake up and occasional ad hoc alarms in such separate application will be able to use calendar events for that purposes in the start. It's a little ugly way of doing it IMO but I'm realizing only now maybe some people were doing it like that even on PalmOS.

i hope 2 of the apps are yahoo messanger and should be its on most sprint phones..
i just want this thing to hurry and come out next week is the end of the month for feb so if facts are true bout march 1st

What I'd still like to is whether or not the touchstone also does data syncing

hi the date syc also works with the GPS it text and e-mail and knows where you should be if not on time it will ask you would you like it to send a e-mail or text. alarm it will have one for places,meetings,appointments,but this is on the CDMA dont know about the GSM It will be one of the best mobile phones out.

Will I be able to transfer my calendar and contacts from my Palm Tungsten E2?

I here the palm pre doesnt have video. My question is if your going to out do the iphone why not have this feature. to me the competition is with the blackberry storm than the iphone.

Yeah i heard the pre doesnt support video, & with the way technology is evolving y does the pre not have this feature. if it did there would be no reason to buy another phone. I want to know does pre plan on every adding this feature b/c i will be highly upset that it doesnt. And with that said i still want the phone.

It has video (this can be seen in many of the demos). What it does not have is video recording. Perhaps that's what you meant, but I'm just clarifying in case someone else reads your post and thinks the Pr? can't play video.

yeah sorry that is what i meant that it cannot record video, i have a child & family & among other things i want to use this feature as i do on my palm centro. that should have been the #1 thing people on this board should be concerned with other than the an alarm alert.