January 22, 2009

Mysteries Of The Palm Pre

Filed under: Musings — mikecane @ 3:02 pm

As exciting as the unveiling of the Pre was — and continues to be — there are several mysteries that surround it.

Phone calls. Can it make one? This was never demonstrated. How odd that Rubinstein didn’t call Colligan to prompt him to come on stage. That would have not only been a great touch, but would have cleared up this mystery!

Voice Memos. My LifeDrive can do those. Can the Pre? And what about the quality of the audio recording? The audio quality of my LifeDrive is abysmal. Everything is drowned by a buzz.

Camera. Does it capture EXIF data? Will it do geotagging?

Emailing photos. What is that process like and what is it like to receive an email with photos attached? The way the iPhone does it has set the standard.

Solitaire. What, no?

World Clock. Is there one?

Word Suggestion. It wasn’t in any of the demonstrations captured on video that I’ve seen. Is it in there? It’d be a great help, even with that keyboard. I know some people will say it could interfere with the Global Search of the Pre, but it could be made an option in applications that require typing, such as Email and Notes.

Notes. How big can they be? And can I import my existing LifeDrive Memos into Notes? Let me point out that I have over two-thousand seven-hundred Memos on my LifeDrive. Some of them take advantage of the improved large size of the Memos. And even if they can be imported, how much of each am I likely to see in that strange bulletin-board like Note apps? I’d like the traditional list view of classic Palm OS.

Weather. What, no Weather application?! Palm might be thinking this better suited as a Dashboard Notification than an entire application. Maybe.

Stocks. See above.

YahooMail. The iPhone offers YahooMail POP built-in. YahooMail POP is usually a fee service. Will the Pre have YahooMail built-in like the iPhone?

Alarm Sounds. For years, Palm owners have begged Palm to let us assign custom sounds to Calendar alarms. Has this wish been granted with the Pre?

MP3 Ringtones. Can we create our own?

Flickr. With a built-in camera, we should have a built-in Flickr app. Or will this be up to a third-party (Yahoo?) to deliver?

Twitter. Inexplicably, I did not see any indication of Twitter built into the Pre. We saw how messaging can span various IM — and even SMS — services. Ed Colligan even made a point of mentioning Twitter (see below screensnap which captures that moment). But Twitter wasn’t shown as part of messaging!

colligantwitter“We Twitter.”

MySpace. There’s Facebook, but where’s MySpace? It needs to be in there. And if this requires MySpace to create an app, will the contacts from MySpace integrate easily like Facebook contacts?

Password Protection. Can we password-protect access to the Pre? What about certain records?

Data Wipe. Remote data wipe is a feature added to the iPhone for corporate users (I’m unclear if it’s for mere mortals too). Will Palm offer a service for Pre owners that remotely wipes data from a lost or stolen Pre?

Phone Tracking. For a Pre that’s been lost or stolen, can the on-board GPS be used to locate it? Or can the Pre auto-send a distress email with its GPS coordinates?

Video Recording. With that camera, why no video capabilities? It can’t be a matter of storage space. Look at the specs for the Flip MinoHD. It has only 4GB of storage — half that of the Pre — yet it’s capable of doing an hour of HD video!

Flash. Oh boy. This is like a cross between the Holy Grail and Atomic Bomb. Holy Grail because everyone wants a phone that can do video services such YouTube and Veoh, plus publishing services such as Scribd, Issuu, and magazine services such as Exact Editions. Is Palm working with Adobe to get Flash onto the Pre? And — the nasty Atomic Bomb side of it — will it be a satisfying experience of Flash?

This list is in no way comprehensive, but all of this has been on my mind.

What have you been wondering about? Leave a Comment.


  1. Great questions. There will be answers. (Can’t say when, yet.)

    Comment by Jon Zilber — January 23, 2009 @ 1:03 am | Reply

  2. […] Mysteries Of The Palm Pre ( Prepoint ) […]

    Pingback by 22 jan 2009 palm pre roundup « Palm Pre Views — January 23, 2009 @ 6:29 pm | Reply

  3. Great questions and great blog – interesting approach to figuring out the Pre. Seems like there is so much we don’t know.

    I’m very curious about the video player app. What is it like, what video formats and qualities are going to be supported? The processor appears to have some capability for hardware acceleration of H264 video, does the Pre video player app take advantage of this? Could 3rd party video players also do so?

    Also generally curious about things like an RSS app, voice dialing, file explorer, HID profile for bluetooth keyboards, screenshot ability, general customization and skining of the app.

    Comment by Galt — January 23, 2009 @ 10:19 pm | Reply

  4. Oh yes, I have another list which includes things such as Bluetooth keyboard, RSS, etc. That will be another upcoming post.

    Comment by mikecane — January 24, 2009 @ 11:26 am | Reply

  5. Another nagging question – the Synergy approach to contacts sounds exciting, and the “separate but merged” approach makes it all work from the mobile device without painful manual contact synchronization across the different platforms, but what’s the process and logic for pushing back changes or new contacts *into* the cloud?

    I’m starting to get a bit nervous about how little detail we’ve seen for some of these scenarios. Has anyone seen the interface to muck with the display brightness, change the audio settings, sign into different services, change email settings, browse the file system, etc? What about the process to upgrade the OS?

    No way is the Pre a Feb 15th launch… hopefully Palm has it all together and is just polishing the edges and slapping together an app store, but what if it is not as far along as it looked?

    Addicted to the Pre-Point blog now, please post every 35 mins. thanks.

    Comment by Galt — January 28, 2009 @ 5:56 pm | Reply

  6. I’ve never thought the Pre would be a February 15th launch. That’s a rumor that persists up to today too. I think some Sprint reps might be mistaking the Pre for the TREo PRo, which other rumors have debuting on that day.

    When the iPhone was demonstrated by Jobs, there were many unanswered questions with that too, but people were generally delighted with its release. I think Palm has changed greatly and we’ll be delighted with the Pre too (especially if they surprise us by somehow including Flash!).

    Post every 35 minutes?! That’d kill me. This is a one-man operation. And barely that!

    Comment by mikecane — January 28, 2009 @ 7:19 pm | Reply

  7. I’m actually worried* that Palm has changed too much and some of the geeky underbelly of old school PDA’s will be shaved off to make things nice and simple for the masses in the same way Apple oversimplified things to a point that many previously standard features were/are ignored in the iPhone. I’ll feel relieved once I see some of the boring details of the Pre’s OS.

    *not justified in any way, just a general fear that something will ruin the Pre

    Comment by Galt — January 28, 2009 @ 7:28 pm | Reply

  8. I think, despite what Palm has stated, the SD slot was left out to make it less geeky. File management is a pain, even on my LifeDrive.

    I think it will mimic the iPhone in seeming simplicity but be more open to the kind of extensions that made PalmOS (at least up to version 4) attractive to developers.

    Finally, I still think, also like the iPhone, Palm will eventually release a native SDK for it.

    Comment by mikecane — January 28, 2009 @ 7:55 pm | Reply

  9. Hope you are right, and this is Palm after all, they do have an excellent (although inconsistent) history of understanding mobile users. The likelihood that they’d forget or drop something significant seems unlikely. In fact, I expect a great deal of polish on this OS unlike some of recent new OS efforts (*cough* BB Storm, *cough*).

    Re: “Eventually” (native SDK)… how far down the road do you think we’re talking? 1st year or longer…? I’m worried about the limitation on hardware intensive apps (like CorePlayer) that need more direct access to hardware and will under-perform if written in managed code. Palm taking a “sorry ’bout the 3D games” stance seems odd given how incredibly popular the iPhone has become as a mobile gaming platform. Maybe Palm didn’t see that coming, or they felt it wasn’t an important aspect of mobile computing, or at least it wasn’t an aspect that they understood well enough to take part in.

    Comment by Galt — January 28, 2009 @ 8:13 pm | Reply

  10. A native SDK will probably be next year’s big CES announcement. (Of course, all gazing into the future comes with the warning, “Economy willing…”) Clearly webOS was not in complete form, which is why we didn’t get a comprehensive demo and no one was allowed to handle the Pre for much time. Overall, they’ve set the direction, though, and it’s exciting.

    Comment by mikecane — January 29, 2009 @ 10:17 am | Reply

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