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I've been online since 1971 and I like to smoothe the way for everyone else. Among other things I co-founded Sympatico, the world's first easy-to-use Internet service (and Canada's largest).

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

What Palm's announcement did not contain

Palm’s January 8th announcement of the Palm Pre and its webOS operating system was extremely exciting for me. Palm’s products have been at my side continuously since 1997, beginning with a PalmPilot Professional and continuing through my current Treo 650. I haven’t been totally thrilled by any of the competing smartphones, not even the iPhone nor the various BlackBerrys, all of which are missing what I consider essential features that are present even in my four-year-old Treo. For instance, I want a touchscreen and a physical keyboard, and I’m astonished that not every smartphone has a switch to silence the speaker. And as for the iPhone’s lack of copy-and-paste, um, well. The new Pre looks great to me and I look forward to its availability in Canada at some point.

The Pre does however lack something that all my Palm devices have had: a desktop application (Windows or Mac OS), together with hardware and software to synchronize with the device. The Pre will not have that. Why not?

Because Palm is moving online. If I’m looking for someone’s phone number on my smartphone and I hadn’t entered it there, I’m not likely to have entered it on my laptop either, so synchronization won’t help. That phone number may however be on Facebook — and the Pre will get it from there. It might cache a copy so that it doesn’t need to fetch it again (well, not until enough time has passed that the number should be re-fetched in case it’s been changed). For a more detailed exploration of this, see this article published today by Ars Technica.

The Palm Pre seems to be a true online device, going even further than the iPhone does when it’s used with MobileMe. Bravo, Palm!

2 Comments:

Anonymous Christina said...

But...but...how will initially I get my contacts from my Blackberry to the Pre?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009 at 9:24:00 AM EST  
Blogger Gord Irish said...

Thanks for the note about the Pre. I too have been a Palm user since the PalmPilot of about 1997. I still use an old Palm Vx I bought at a clearace sale for about $100 a few years ago. It's use has become a bit ridiculous though, all it really is a (very) oversized memory key for synchonizing various copies of Palm Desktop. It's the problem of having 10 years worth data stored in Palm Desktop and deciding what to do with it. Should I move it to MS Office, move to some online service, etc

The Pre doesn't really address that issue either except maybe to make it largely obsolete. Interesting, I have to think about it.

In the meantime. maybe I should run out and grab a Treo 650, they are probably cheap now, just like Vx was and might be the last thing that will work with Palm Desktop. Trailing edge technology has its advantages!

Sunday, January 18, 2009 at 3:59:00 AM EST  

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