The Pre has become my favourite phone over the past month or so despite its wobbly build and mediocre battery life. It has so much going for it elsewhere that I kind of forgive it for its shortcomings. It’s certainly not the hardware that endears it so though but rather Web OS which is my favourite OS and it just works so well, it never gets in the way and you always feel like you are in charge whereas on Android I sometimes feel like I’m fighting it. It’s a bit disappointing to me that there are so many Palm fans and ex-Palm users out there who have just abandoned or dismissed the Pre purely on the basis of an hour or two’s play in an o2 store or through word of mouth. They’re missing out in a way and if Palm can get a better hardware device along the lines of the Pixi form factor out over here then it should be a winner. I just also wish, and again I suspect I’m in the minority here, that more devices these days had a scroll type button/pad/wheel as continually having to touch the screen on smartphones to scroll up and down pages can get a pain. Sometimes, I just like to have a physical scroll button control like there is on the HTC Hero to navigate through longer pages on websites and RSS feeds for example.
Not long to go until March when the promised App Catalogue brings paid 3rd party software to the UK and Europe plus there is the soon-to-arrive v1.4 of the OS which will add video recording and Flash, the latter being something that a lot of people seem desperate for whilst I’m more in the Steve Jobs and Apple “bag of hurt” camp. I’ve already lined up some software and my first purchase will be NewsRoom RSS application. I use this on the Hero and this app is probably the only reason why I still keep the Hero charged and alive. When it’s available in the UK the Hero will be going on eBay. NewsRoom is the best implementation of a mobile RSS app on a device that I’ve ever used, better than any iPhone app and considerably better than any of the limited Pre software in this category.
This is like a golden age for smartphone lovers and the promised land is just around the corner. The iPhone is great and hopefully the next gen model later this year will will lift it higher, there are some great looking Android phones coming out like the revamped Hero/Legend and Web OS is fab as well but just lacks a great device. A couple of years ago I had a succession of duff devices from mainly the Windows Mobile and Symbian stables but since then the stakes have been raised considerably and the phones I currently own are some of the best I’ve ever used. Even the Hero with its iffy keyboard and annoying sliding screen is still way ahead of anything I was using two years ago and I suppose it jolly well should be. Even the much derided Windows mobile looks like it will be back in serious business when v7 appears later this year. That just leaves RIM and BlackBerry out in the cold as their OS is looking a bit flaky and needing an overhaul. Extremely functional they may be but it’s all rather bland and uninvolving and with no mainstream touch screened model available all that tiresome menu clicking and scrolling up and down through long menus becomes a tad tiresome after a bit. It has for me anyway and hence the Bold 9700 will be on eBay soon, there are just going to be too many other better devices out there in the next 3-6 months to justify hanging on to something insipid like the 9700.