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  1. #61  
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott R View Post
    I'm bumping this thread after doing a search here, as it seems like this is the most active/recent thread discussing this topic. I've been thinking about this more and more lately, and I've come to the conclusion that I'll most likely be disappointed with the usability of the Pre.

    I've had Treos for a long, long while (300 -> 600 -> 650 -> 700p) and have occasionally tried switching over to Windows Mobile devices, always returning to the Palm OS. After the announcement of the Pre, I got itchy for a new gadget again, and decided to reactivate my Sprint Touch which had been sitting in its box for a long time. I figured I'd install some of the latest iPhone-esque apps as well as the Android OS.

    WM OS still leaves me unimpressed, but the Android OS is quite impressive. The web browser is great, but I'm still not convinced of the entire concept of showing a full website, instead of a mobile-optimized version. EVDO seems up to the task speed-wise, but until we have phones with 800-pixel-wide screens, you'll always need to zoom in and out, which gets tiresome. But the Sprint Touch w/Android seems like a pretty good preview of what the Pre will feel like in terms of usability. Like the Pre, there's no always-available keyboard, and the screen sizes seem to be pretty close. A lot of people here are arguing that the usability of the iPhone is great, so the Pre will be no worse. First, I don't necessarily agree that the *efficiency* of the iPhone is as good as the classic Palm OS (Garnet). As others have stated here, the always-available keyboard and numerous quick-launch buttons make for a more efficient UI. But because the Pre's screen is smaller than the iPhone's, you're also going to end up mis-hitting things on the screen more often than with an iPhone (and it's not that uncommon with an iPhone either), which is something that I frustratingly deal with regularly with the Sprint Touch w/Android.

    Later today I plan on re-deactivating my Sprint Touch and switching back to the Treo 700p. It was fun to play with Android, but the day-to-day usability/efficiency compared to Garnet just isn't there.

    I really think Palm has made a mistake with the Pre. I think they should have stuck with the concept of the keyboard/D-pad as primary input and the touchscreen as input for situations where it made more sense (e.g., games). I think they should have started with something like the Treo Pro design, and made the screen a bit taller (see the Benq P50 as what I have in mind: BenQ P50 pictures, official photos)

    Also, I see multitouch as more of a gimmick than anything on the iPhone, and I think that multitouch will be even less useful/usable on the Pre due to its smaller screen.

    I'm not sure where I'll end up. I can't see myself sticking with the outdated 700p for much longer. I may end up getting a Pre, despite my criticisms, simply because it, at least, still has a physical keyboard. Or I may end up with an iPhone, which at least made up its mind which way to go (all touchscreen), so you have a larger touchscreen which will make selecting things on-screen less error-prone.

    It's also possible that we could see an Android phone in something like a classic Treo form-factor (in fact, I imagine that it should be fairly easy for someone to get it up and running on the Treo Pro), which could give us the always-available keyboard and D-Pad combined with a modern mobile OS.
    Palm still seems to have MBA disease. They need to listen to their core users, and have a model addressed to them announced at launch and introduced soon after. If the Pre is less useful as a productivity device, with no business version available, it will not be enough to save the company.
    Two things seem quite obvious to me:
    i) You can't simply attempt to make a better iPhone; may as well introduce a competior to Coca-cola.
    ii) Smartphones other than the iPhone need have a core business/productivity/power user audience. To make money on smartphones they must be sold to corporate buyers or individuals who are using them to make money themselves, after that base is established the public will follow -- e.g. BB and Treo.

    It seem the "Pre" should be quickly followed by a "Pro" which includes a card slot for local backup and one-handedness with an emphasisis on text, email, and short document editing. That will probably require returning the D-pad.
    It needs to have hardware quality equal to a BB; those keep going after tumbling off a desk, belt, or sometimes down stairs. The standard battery needs to last for just over a day of heavy use after the battery has aged. It needs to ship with desktop sync and anything else a productivity user or IT dept needs to deploy it.
  2. #62  
    After reading 4 pages of this thread I think some people are forgetting what it was like when they first started using their treos. When I strted with the 650 it took a little while to learn how to hold it, and use the d-pad and touch screen efficiently. But when I did one handed use was unbelievable. I think it will be the same with the Pre. People are just going to have to get used to the gestures. When holding my 755 I can see that it won't take very long to get used to. Just by holding it slightly different I can already make many of the gestures with my thumb and hold the phone with the same hand.
    It may be different, but I have faith that palm would mak the moves easy to perform.
  3. #63  
    Oh, I agree, I'm sure that Palm has thought about these things and that there will be gestures for text navigation, etc., but I really would've preferred if the 'center button' was a 5-way pointer of some sort, whether a trackball, a joystick type thing (which for me would be preferred, I've never liked the ball on the Blackberry), or even just something similar to those on the Treos in the past.
  4. #64  
    Also I forgot to add that Palm is keeping their Treo line active with WM. I know that most here (including myself) don't lik using WM, but that looks to be their answer to people's concern about a corporate fallout from throwing the palmos out the window ...
  5. #65  
    You will be touching the screen constantly with the Pre. It will not be as fast and 'one handable' as an older Palm OS Treo.

    Those are just facts, if you can not accept them Blackberry OS might be a good place to look for your next device. They are the best devices available for one handed use right now.

    The other advantages of the multi touch interface will be compelling enough to make up for the loss of 'one handability' for most users. Palm's current customers arnt enough to keep them in business as anyone can see. They were right to move beyond the old interface paradigm and right to seek a new market in the 'consumer smartphone' space. There is enough room for both Apple and Palm there.
  6. #66  
    the center button is pretty much useless in the grand scheme of things. If it were replaced with a d-pad, it would just make the phone that much more useful. If it were to truly be a "killer" device, why stick with a central button that everyone and their brother has on their new fangled touch phone. Why not carry over something that was incredibly well received on their treo line and just increases the ease of navigation and keep one's oily fingertips off of the glass if possible?
    Pixi: Sold. Pre: Passed off to another rep. Touchpad: Just a toy until Cloud syncing arrives, and a better doc editor.
  7. #67  
    In almost all the video's and hand's on, people are using 2 hands -One hand to hold the device, the other for gestures.
    I think I saw one video where someone was doing his swipes with his thumb, allowing one hand use.
    But try a little experiment with you current device, how far up on the screen can you reach with your thumb while holding the device in the same hand?
    It's doable but quite a stretch, especially for ones with small hands.
    Personally, I don't get real excited over touch screen menu's and commands.
    I'm not sold.
    Just call me Berd.
  8. #68  
    Quote Originally Posted by crogs571 View Post
    the center button is pretty much useless in the grand scheme of things. If it were replaced with a d-pad, it would just make the phone that much more useful. If it were to truly be a "killer" device, why stick with a central button that everyone and their brother has on their new fangled touch phone. Why not carry over something that was incredibly well received on their treo line and just increases the ease of navigation and keep one's oily fingertips off of the glass if possible?
    Agreed. And I don't see it taking up much more space than the Pre's button either. Maybe another example of the undue influence of Apple thinking?
    Last edited by johncc; 02/22/2009 at 12:49 AM.
  9. #69  
    Quote Originally Posted by berdinkerdickle View Post
    In almost all the video's and hand's on, people are using 2 hands -One hand to hold the device, the other for gestures.
    I think I saw one video where someone was doing his swipes with his thumb, allowing one hand use.
    But try a little experiment with you current device, how far up on the screen can you reach with your thumb while holding the device in the same hand?
    It's doable but quite a stretch, especially for ones with small hands.
    Personally, I don't get real excited over touch screen menu's and commands.
    I'm not sold.
    I don't have large hands by any means, but if I hold my Nokia n800 vertically, I'm able to easily move my thumb from the very bottom to the top, and that's a 4.3" diagonal screen (so 1.2" bigger screen than that of the Pre).

    And I mean, people are able to touch the top of their Treos with one hand, aren't they? The Treo 755p for example is 4.4" tall. The Pre is only 3.9" tall closed, and I'd have to imagine that with it open, the keyboard won't add more than another 1.25" (based on the height of the keyboard region on my 755p).

    I really don't think it'll be an issue for anyone with the keyboard closed, and probably not for most with it open, though it probably depends on how you position it in your hand. But if it is an issue for someone, honestly, its not all that hard to shift the position of the device in your hand slightly either, just slide it up or down slightly while still only holding it in the one hand.

    I still would've preferred the center button was a 5-way for text navigation purposes and changing fields in a form though.
  10. Gerorne's Avatar
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    #70  
    Quote Originally Posted by crogs571 View Post
    the center button is pretty much useless in the grand scheme of things. If it were replaced with a d-pad, it would just make the phone that much more useful. If it were to truly be a "killer" device, why stick with a central button that everyone and their brother has on their new fangled touch phone. Why not carry over something that was incredibly well received on their treo line and just increases the ease of navigation and keep one's oily fingertips off of the glass if possible?
    What does the button do that we know? Access to cards, need it to close apps, and how to get to universal search. If you mainly use one app at a time, you'll still need it to close your one app. And at the very least, with it acting as the "universal search button" if do happen to be in an app, it's your Contacts/Wikipedia/Google/"Search for installed app" button. Seems pretty useful to me.

    With that said, I definitely am waiting to see what Palm had in mind with gestures that will capture the ease of use of the d-pad. I'm sure there more we don't know about the gesture area. What we do know is that the lack of a d-pad certainly gives it a very clean look. But until we know the full capabilities of gestures and the gesture area (and other possible methods that people mentioned), I'm up in the air about what I think about the loss of the d-pad.

    And to the Bumper of the thread. Yay for using the search feature of the forums.
    Vx --> M515 --> T|T3 --> T|T5
    --> Treo 650 --> Centro --> Dinc

    Smart Jones - a smartphone webcomic
  11. Biggles's Avatar
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    #71  
    Quote Originally Posted by jhoff80 View Post
    And I mean, people are able to touch the top of their Treos with one hand, aren't they?
    Well, no, to be honest.

    When my Treo Pro is sitting in the optimum position for one-handed operation, ie with my thumb over the D-pad and using the area from the keypad to the softkeys, the furthest I can easily reach without changing my grip is halfway up the screen. If I had to regularly reach the top part of the screen, I would probably bring my left hand into play, something I don't normally see the need to do.

    I was excited by the Pre but, if it isn't designed to be one-handed, I shall stick with the Treo form factor for the foreseeable future.
  12. #72  
    Quote Originally Posted by Biggles View Post
    When my Treo Pro is sitting in the optimum position for one-handed operation, ie with my thumb over the D-pad and using the area from the keypad to the softkeys, the furthest I can easily reach without changing my grip is halfway up the screen.
    I get 2/3's the way up on the screen on my Centro.

    From the very 1st Pre viideo, I knew the only way I would be able to take advantage of all of its features,would be to use two hands.

    So I have to either make the adjustment or stay with my very reliable & stable Centro.

    Good Luck
  13. #73  
    Quote Originally Posted by Biggles View Post
    Well, no, to be honest.

    When my Treo Pro is sitting in the optimum position for one-handed operation, ie with my thumb over the D-pad and using the area from the keypad to the softkeys, the furthest I can easily reach without changing my grip is halfway up the screen. If I had to regularly reach the top part of the screen, I would probably bring my left hand into play, something I don't normally see the need to do.

    I was excited by the Pre but, if it isn't designed to be one-handed, I shall stick with the Treo form factor for the foreseeable future.
    I didn't think I was alone.
    Both in thumb reach and in sticking with Treo form factor.
    I just can't reach far enough up the screen without changing my grip.
  14. #74  
    Quote Originally Posted by TurboTiger View Post
    I get 2/3's the way up on the screen on my Centro.

    From the very 1st Pre viideo, I knew the only way I would be able to take advantage of all of its features,would be to use two hands.

    So I have to either make the adjustment or stay with my very reliable & stable Centro.

    Good Luck
    Only 1/2 way for me.
  15. #75  
    But like I said, the other thing is that you won't actually have the keyboard open all the time, which makes the Pre a quarter of an inch shorter than the Centro too.

    And I think I use a slightly different grip than you as well. With my current phone, a Motorola q9c, I let my pinky cradle the bottom of it, and then the next two fingers wrap around, and the pointer just rests underneath, so I can easily reposition it in my hand if I want to, and I get a better reach that way.

    One other thing that might be a factor when the Pre is open though might be the curve in it, which I would assume would make it just a little bit easier to reach higher up, since the arc would make the top of the screen not quite so far away when the keyboard is open.

    Edit: And obviously, none of us have Pres yet to know, but everything I've read suggests they have designed it around one handed use, leading to the wave launcher, for example. I think it might be a little bit of an adjustment for people, but should be at least as usable with one hand as the WM Treos, and hopefully as good as the Garnet Treos.
  16. #76  
    I believe the Pre lacking a Dpad is along the same line as the current blackberries switching from the scroll wheel to the trackball. Some die hard BB users complained about the switch but eventually gave in and agree that the trackball gives much better navigation. I personally think the Dpad is archaic and outdated especially with the capacitive touch screen and I have used the Treo for years. I do believe however, that perhaps a trackball might be better suited since its more precise in text navigation or to highlight something. But, it would obstruct the asethetics of the Pre, so maybe they figured it doesn't really fit in the grand scheme of things.
  17. Rhody's Avatar
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    #77  
    Since the center button is right in the middle of the gesture area, I don't see why they couldn't design it to interpret taps around the center button as "5-way gestures." Plus, it could interpret movements around the center button to be "dial gestures."
  18. Q
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    #78  
    Here's a gesture idea for field navigation--a downward left-to-right stroke ("\"). Then a double-tap on the gesture area to auto-fill the field, and another "\" to move to the next one if needed.

    Of course, there are some still-unanswered questions:

    1) How many gestures has Palm assigned, what are they, and can any of them be reassigned by the user? (The videos I've seen all focus on the same few basic gestures--back, discard, launch, etc.--with the implication that there are more.)
    2) Does Palm have a utility to add new gestures and assign a meaning to them? (If not, I'm sure a developer will get to work on this once the SDK is out.)

    And just as there are ways to quickly launch more apps on a Treo/Centro, I'm sure that developers will work to customize the wave--maybe two or three rows, for instance.

    Of course, as someone said above, it'll be a shift, just like it was going from a standalone Palm to a Treo.
  19. #79  
    I tried to use the Pre in store on launch day and found the lack of dpad challenging. I was hoping the gesture area might replace some of that functionality, but was disappointed. I kept trying to select just the right space in the text field, but missed to left or right of where I wanted to edit. Does any one know how Palm deals with this?
  20. #80  
    I agree that I miss the d-pad, but for me it's not as much of a dealbreaker as I was concerned it might be when it was first announced, it's working decently for me the way it is.
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