I was delighted to see that the Pre on o2 comes in a crud free state with no o2 apps or garbage and no setting of the browser homepage to some shitty o2 portal. I’ve had some phones in the last couple of years, mostly Win Mob ones unsurprisingly, that comes with heaps of pap sloshed on but it looks like, of late, this is changing and the newer models are almost factory fresh. Hoorah.
The Pre handles multitasking rather well and the card system is very nice to use. In an application, pressing the button on the front that looks like it acts as a trackball but doesn’t (unfortunately) returns you to the home page and from there you can see all open cards. I believe this is known as “card view”. Swiping left or right can be done to find any open apps, a quick tap re-launches that app. To close an open application just flick the card to the top of the screen. Oddly, this is a deeply satisfying experience…or perhaps that is just me. The whole system is elegant and must be the best of any multi-tasking OS out there.
When emails arrive, a notification sound plays and a small email icon appears bottom right hand corner of the screen. Tapping it shows from whom the message has come and tapping that then opens the email app and takes you straight to that message. If you don’t want to go the message just yet then tapping the email and dragging it off to the screen right removes the notification. Tweets or IM meesages can also show up here and sort of stack up. Tapping the generic initial notification icon reveals the stack of messages and stuff waiting and you can then choose which to open. The nice thing about this system is that it never gets in the way of what you are doing and you remain firmly in control. You never have to quit an app or stop doing something to check what is incoming. Palm has done a nice job here. It’s just a pity that as yet you can’t set different tones for different apps like Tweed. IM and email to distinguish between them. You can do that on the HTC Hero and no doubt other phones too.
Over the past few days I have delved into both the official Palm catalogue and the Homebrew set up. Between these two software portals is the grand total of around 430 apps, sounds decent enough but to date I have only downloaded about ten and kept installed half that number. Still, what I have kept has been top class stuff and bodes well for when things hopefully start motoring. The free AccuWeather application is really good with both hourly and two weekly longer term forecasts. It’s as good a weather app as any available for the iPhone in my view and has a nice UI to boot.
Although it is early doors and I shouldn’t commit myself for fear of looking silly again I can see myself sticking with web OS and the Pre for a bit.