Palm Pixi Plus….sob…is gone, poor little fella

I was getting on just great with the Pixi Plus and then the darn power button bit sort of vanished/fell off. I honestly don’t know what happened to it. The night before I had been out at this pompous dinner (and had the worst meal I think I’ve ever had) and when I got back home I took off the battery cover and swopped SIM cards. The next morning I couldn’t switch it on, I was pressing away and nothing was happening. I reckon that a small bit had just fallen/broken off when I took off the battery cover…

On the subject of battery covers the Pixi has a very odd and not very nice set up. The whole of the back, extending up and round to the sides comes off in a oner and getting it off is quite scary. The original cover that came with the Pixi was replaced early on by me with the touchstone compatible one and in my struggle to get the original off I noticed that I had gouged a bit of it off (it’s very rubbery). Take care with it people.

I was a bit disappointed by this sudden non-working mode but luckily it happened on the 13th day of the 14 day return period so I quickly emailed the seller and he quickly got back saying he would honour the return and refund…phew. The Pixi is a nice little thing. Plus points

  • tiny form factor
  • very slim
  • nice screen
  • great multitasking
  • easy to move from Pre to Pixi with your Palm Profile and redownload your apps
  • great keyboard
  • it has a camera
  • very good phone and wifi reception
  • Web OS has some good Twitter apps
  • very easy to set up and ongoing maintenance is low

Not so good

  • that camera is not very good and the flash is a bit iffy too
  • getting the back off is a nightmare
  • can be laggy at times, often it will just stop for a few seconds
  • getting used to the smaller screen after the Pre/Legend is not easy
  • you’ll really struggle to get a qwerty one, unlocked and without a contract here in the UK
  • bits might fall off….
  • front looks a bit bare…naked even
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Posted in palm. 2 Comments »

HTC….quietly repetitive

Okay, so everyone and their dog thinks that HTC are the greatest thing since sliced bread when it comes to smartphones and can do no wrong. Here’s another new HTC Android phone coming out soon…the Wildfire….and already it is getting plenty positive press. To me, it’s just another re-iteration of their current line up, it’s the same form factor as the Desire and Legend except smaller. I really wish HTC would apply some of their self claimed innovative style to producing an Android phone with either a slide out or front facing qwerty keyboard. I’m still really struggling with the keyboard on the Legend which still seems to have a mind of its own, the phone is a little too narrow to allow you to use the onscreen keyboard comfortably as the keys are too close together. I’ve tried using the compact qwerty but annoyingly it changes itself from ABC mode to predictive from application to application and you’ll start typing and be halfway through a couple of words before you realise you’re in the wrong mode.

And really, is HTC Sense really that great? What does it add? Some extra homescreens may be useful to some but the actual Android launcher is available to launch apps on every homescreen on a normal Android phone anyway and it can be just as quick to open an application using the stock launcher as via HTC Sense. It’s great that HTC are really going for the Android market and are launching so many new handsets but I’d really like to get something a little different from their usual slabby iphone clone form factor.

Silent Hunter Mobile

TUAW’s Daily App: Silent Hunter Mobile.

This looks like my type of game, none of that mindless running around blasting zombies type of nonsense. No, this game looks like it will take advantage of and reward the more skilful, the more discerning, the more intelligent and thoughtful player…in other words, gamers like me…oh yes.

and they’ve now released an iPhone version of the brand, which has you piloting a German U-boat around the North Sea in 1939. It lacks most of the depth (pun intended, sorry) that Silent Hunter is known for; the game is basically a shooting gallery, and while there is a bit of strategy in ship placement, the plan is mostly to kill the other side before they kill you.

Pixi Plus and Pre Plus at o2

I was up town this afternoon, the main aim being to pick up some new shirts for work, and of course I got diverted. Incidentally, I had intended to pop into the T-Mobile store on Princes Street to have a look at their new budget android set which is available on pay-as-you-go very cheaply but the darn shop has gone….well it’s still there, it’s just that it’s not now inhabited by T-Mobile or for that matter, anybody. There is an increasing amount of empty shops up town these days no doubt partly due by how hard the Local Council make it for anybody to actually get into town these days with the ongoing tram works.

I nipped into o2 and was surprised to see both the Pre Pus and Pixi Plus out on display, in their own little section of the shop. I thought they weren’t going to be available until the 28th…..I had a wee play with both of them although they were sort of strapped into their holders which meant you couldn’t actually lift them up or turn them around or anything. Still, I have deduced that the Pre Plus has a much improved keyboard over the original Pre and my attempts to cause the slider to wobble came to nothing so it looks like the build quality is improved too. From flicking through the menus I would also say that the device is quicker as apps seemed to open a bit quicker. Having just had a Pixi Plus the other week I didn’t spend much time with it but I would say it has a great keyboard, the best of any recent device I’ve used and the build quality is good.  The picture on the left is one that I took with the HTC Legend in the store today. I asked the sales guy if they were selling the Pre Plus on pay-as-you-go and was completely blanked, had they been I’d have probably picked one up as the Plus appears to sort the niggles that plagued, to an extent, the original Pre via a much better build and much better  and much clickier keypad. Folk can laugh at the poor maligned Palm Pre but it is a very good phone. It has great call quality, fantastic reception, great wifi reception and other good points.

They also had the HTC Desire on a working display too so I fiddled with that. I don’t know what o2 have done with this particular example but I found it to be a bit slow and laggy which is at complete odds with what everyone else has been saying about it. I reckon I’m just about at the end of my Android experience. The hardware on these HTC phones is top class but there’s just something about Android that is all a bit unpolished and unfinished feeling plus the on screen keyboard on the Legend, compared to that on the iPhone, is very much 2nd class. I really struggle with it and it makes using apps that require text entry, a lot, a pain in the derriere.

Macbuzzer – mac software bundles gone insane…

Macbuzzer – mac software bundles gone insane….

Another bargain bucket of mac software is now available with a twist, the longer you delay buying the bundle the more expensive it gets each passing day.

Nearly a month with the HTC Legend….open or closed case

Using a phone regularly for a few weeks allows you to get used to it, not just the good things but also the small or sometimes bigger things that can get on your nerves. After nearly 4 weeks with the HTC Legend it is difficult to find any major gripes with it, certainly not the phone itself in terms of hardware anyway although you can’t say the same for Android. Well, I can’t anyway.

The Android system is open as most people know…in fact it is wide open and some might say it is too open at times. If you listened to some of the pure Android sites, some of whom are turning into rabid fanboys,  (Phandroid) you’d be led to believe that such a system is infallible and that any other OS that is not as open is either extremely evil or extremely outdated or even worse, both. Not so sure myself. I can see the advantage on paper sometimes and there is the issue of “openness” meaning that anybody and their 87 year old mum can stick an application on the Android Marketplace but a drawback is that sometimes, the quality of 3rd party software is such that you kind of believe it might actually have been made by someone’s 87 year old mum.

I look at it this way as the bottom line. Apple’s system is very closed yet the quality of 3rd party software that Apple have deigned to allow me to purchase through their draconian and communist style App Store is superior, no make that way superior, to the stuff available via Android’s wonderfully open set up. Some of the apps on my Legend are good and almost on a par with software on other platforms but overall, in my view the Android 3rd party scene, for the apps that I use (and I emphasise the “I” part there), is behind Apple and behind Web OS for quality. Heck, it’s also probably barely better, if at all, than Windows Mobile stuff.  Just my opinion. There may be 50 000 plus apps on Android but there is an relatively high percentage of guff there, apps that have nothing in common with the UI or OS except that they there were built on it…if that makes sense. On the iPhone and Palm Pre there is a feeling of uniformity between the device and software and I’m not sure that Android has reached that stage just yet. I’ll give you an example….I have Newsroom RSS reader on both the Pre and the Legend. On the Android version, when you are viewing a feed and then have finished it you have to come out of that feed by going back to the main screen and then open the next feed. On the Web OS version,  you can go to the next feed within the current feed without having to go back to the launcher page. A small thing perhaps but it makes using the same software easier on Web OS. On Android, I’m never quite sure after downloading a trial application whether or not it will hog memory, force close, look like it was designed by that 87 year old mum again or generally cause some grief behind the scenes whereas on the iPhone and Pre, I don’t have that same concern.

Anyway, you can’t argue with the quality of the Legend hardware. Nothing has broken so far in terms of buttons or whatever and neither do you get the impression that anything is going to be falling off/out anytime soon either. I still think however it is too easy to turn the device on by accidentally and lightly tapping the power button which was also an annoyance on the Hero with its front facing power button. Plus, the volume up and down buttons are a bit too easy to hit too and I find myself constantly having to adjust them following inadvertent presses mainly because they are quite sensitive, quite large and are placed right where you tend to hold the device with your left hand.

It also annoys me the way that on start up every single application seems to have free rein to launch itself even though some of them, such as Footprints, can’t open because I’ve disabled all that GPS location stuff. It’s a bit sad that a good application task killer is required even on a supposedly cutting edge OS although to be fair, I’ve noticed very little slow down even with all those start up apps running. Still, it would be good, without having to root, to be able to stop software from launching at start up of its own accord. Before I got the Legend I had been back using the iPhone 2G for a few weeks. One thing I have noticed is how much quicker the HTC phone is in comparison. Over the weekend I used the iPhone 2G again for half a day and found myself irritated by delays in apps opening and switching between menus. The Legend is the fastest device I have ever used, which doesn’t necessarily make it the greatest, but certainly makes it very nice to live with. It’s hard to believe that the Desire is supposedly quicker as the Legend is well quick enough for most people’s general useage.

Update

I wrote the above bit about 2 weeks ago. Since then I have moved back to Web OS and my Palm Pre and I’m not sure why really because on the face of it Android is quicker, is going places, has loads of app (most of it pap) being released and the hardware is better. However, I find it all a bit soul-less, which is a silly way to describe it but I can’t think of anything else to describe it. It’s all a bit functional/robotic whereas Web OS is more like a living breathing OS with a personality. I like it, I like the apps, I like the font, I like the colours and with the HP takeover of Palm I like the way I will be able to say “I told you all so” in a few months time.

Posted in Android. 1 Comment »

Not Much Anywhere

Yes, if you live in Edinburgh then this would be more a more fitting title for the Orange T-Mobile tie-up. I like T-Mobile as they have had a pionerring role in bringing cheap mobile device internet to consumers down the years here in the UK plus I have always found them to be very helpful. It’s just a pity that their coverage in Edinburgh is rather mediocre, many times I have been unable to hold on to a signal at work or when out and about it has been flaky. When I was with Orange, a company for whom I have nothing but bad things to say about, it was similar. I remember paying about £10 a month to get a meagre 8mb of data a few years back from them and I doubt their deals in this respect are truly “unlimited” as they claim now.

Still, if they can improve the quality of reception up here then it will be a step in the right direction. Oddly, I was having a forum discussion on a Palm Pre website the other day with some guy in London who uses T-Mobile and he was saying that he gets great coverage down there whilst his o2 coverage is flaky which is the complete opposite of what I find up here.