Right the same day I posted an blog entry about my dilemma between Android and Palm Pre for my next phone, I got the latest LUXGSM folder in my mailbox, which features the Palm Pre (“Palm’s very expected tactile phone” according to the folder). So I decided that Android would have to wait, and I got myself the little beast as an early Christmas present…
The device was only available in german, I guess it’s the same version that is sold on the German market. The documentation is in German but I figured it wouldn’t be a problem; plus the device language can be selected at startup, and includes French and English. The keyboard is QWERTZ, but I already use one at work so no problem.
The thing is, you can’t do anything with the phone until you have linked it with a Palm profile, but to do that you must be on a supported network. Unfortunately my SIM card is Orange, so I had to use my wife’s SIM card (which is LUXGSM) to create my profile. After that I could put back in my Orange SIM card and the phone would start normally. Well almost, because I still couldn’t connect to Orange’s data network, even though there is an option to manually enter the data network parameters. As it turned out, this option is useless if your carrier isn’t in the built-in list of known carriers, which of course didn’t include Orange Luxembourg. Fortunately, there is a method to alter this list so that your carrier is recognized, as described in details in this post. After the manipulation, finally everything worked as expected.
I was truly amazed by the Synergy feature, which allows multiple online profiles to be managed seamlessly. In a blink I had added my corporate Exchange account, LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, Gmail account and my private e-mail account. Similar contacts from different profiles were linked together (with only a few mistakes that needed to be corrected manually). Events from different online calendars appear together in the same calendar view. This is really a dream for those who might be victims of information scattering: synergy brings it all back together.
So far I’m still amazed with the Pre, but it’s not all pink: for those who like using an app store, Palm’s application catalog is ridiculously small in comparison with Apple’s AppStore; only 51 applications are listed as of today, and no paid apps are available. Apparently Palm is delaying the availability of this feature in Europe for who-knows-what reason. The battery capacity is a bit weak, but I’ve been playing a lot with it so it remains to see how it behaves on a “normal” day. I also have to get used to the sliding keyboard, which is not very natural. But so far, I’m very pleased with my new toy 🙂