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  1.    #1  
    Before I begin, I’m only raising this topic to see what people are thinking / predicting Palm has done to provide the functionality of the Treo’s D-pads. No flames to me for being stuck in a Treo mindset – I’m psyched for the Pre and looking forward to different, and many times better, ways of doing things. Further and more importantly, I’m not starting a “No D-Pad, no Pre for me” campaign (which most other here don’t give a hoot about anyway) or making any grandstanding statements demanding Palm redesign the thing…

    In all of the posts since last Thursday, it seems that the most prevalent complaining about the Pre announcement has been related to lack of MicroSD support for memory expansion and onboard backup. The other key theme seems to be the need to have local sync at least as an option to online sync (which many of us think will be available by 3rd party if not included with the launch). But I’m wondering people’s thoughts on the lack of a D-Pad and to a lesser extent the hard key launcher buttons as well – more for their applications usage rather than their launcher function. (the ‘Wave’ will more than suffice as a quick launcher)

    I can’t be the only one who thinks the D-pad on current Treos/Centro’s was the best-in-class interface approach on handheld devices to maneuver and interact with apps. I spent yesterday trying to be conscious of how important the D-pad mechanism currently is to use my T700p (and my 600 before that). Accordingly, I found myself wondering how we’ll move the focus to data entry points and application soft buttons?, can we use the center button to select / open / close things?, and how will we select text for copy/paste (which the D-pad makes extremely easy along with freeware FieldPlus)? The D-pad was also fairly important for scrolling and cycling through links in Blazer--- good riddance to that usage by getting a full web experience on the Pre. I’m sure Palm has put much thought into all of these use cases and device interactions and I find myself wondering if the gesture area around the center button could become a ‘virtual’ d-pad in apps where that type of maneuvering and cursor placement is required – or is the gesture area truly limited to just swipes and not taps? In the use case of sending an email for example, the last thing I want in a one-handed device is to be constantly reaching up into the screen area to place a curser where I want to type… (Select email recipients – reach/tap – type email subject – reach/tap – type email body – & reach/tap to click ‘send’.)

    At the end of the day, it was pretty clear to me that without a D-Pad, existing Palm users will have a major change before us… (no blinding new observation here from me, we all know that using the Pre will be vastly different than using our Treos). Just wondering first of all if anyone else has some ‘concerns’ about eliminating the D-pad (but great faith in Palm to have considered it), and if anyone who was able to use the Pre in Vegas can comment on maneuvering within applications on the Pre as we do today by D-pad (what has Palm done to provide gestures instead?).

    thanks
  2. jagowar's Avatar
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    #2  
    i think a dpad is largely useless on a touch phone.... esp when you have to sacrifice screen size to get one. even the gesture area reduces the need for a dpad.

    to me the only flaw of this phone is the one you mentioned (the 8 gig limit)
  3. #3  
    I use the d-pad constantly on my 755p, but I really don't think I'll miss it when I'm offered OS widgets designed to be manipulated with a finger.

    I have no special love of the d-pad, I just like being able to control my device with one hand, and without taking time to pull out a stylus. If I can do that with a finger, I'm a happy camper.
  4. #4  
    I don't believe I'll miss it, will just have to stretch my thumb a little farther to switch to a different field (tested this on my iPod Touch and it actually felt a bit more natural than having my thumb bent like an L all the time). Might be more of a task for someone with small hands however.
    If you found my post useful then please sign up for a Dropbox Account, I could use the extra 250mb of storage.

    HOW TO: Zip/Unzip via Pre/Pixi using Terminal
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  5. dpc
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    #5  
    While I've always liked the d-pad and use it pretty extensively, I always thought something like the 'pearl' on the blackberries worked better. I don't think I'd miss it on the Pre though if they came up with something just as good.
  6. #6  
    I've been wondering this myself. I use the D-pad alot when editing text. How does it work on other touch phones without a D-pad (or equivalent)? Or is the Pre the first?
    I guess you could have a virtual left-right cursor mover gesture by tapping the gesture area on either side of the button. and a small swipe up/down for line up/line down.
  7. #7  
    You've managed to write the exact thoughts that have been on my mind for the last week greenawayj. I've been very conscious of the D-pad on my Centro recently, just trying to figure out if I'll miss it.

    I'm also quite worried about the 'Fieldplus' funtionality of selecting sections of text, which I use an enormous amount without even realising it!

    Don't get me wrong, I still want to get a Pre ASAP, but i hope I'm not taking a step back in terms of input speed.
    HP Pre 3 (UK)
  8.    #8  
    Thanks. Like I said, I'm not dreading the loss of a d-pad (yet), I do have faith that palm's history of 'one-handedness' and simplicity will prevail. Plus, they've already shown in the browser that scrolling a page at a time by swipe is their preference over reaching up to drag the screen down, so that gives me a good feeling about other related maneuvering to on-screen data entry and buttons. But as a few of you have said (and I totally understand and respect those who won't miss it), you don't realize how much you use the d-pad until you focus on it for a day. (Also, fieldplus and Keycaps -- I really hope they licenced / borrowed that functionality to facilitate UPPER and !#$%^&* entry as well!!)

    Regarding the Pearl, I've never used it, but isn't it more like a mouse cursor that you have to position and click? The simplicity of 'tabbing' to cycle through fields is just nice. But without the clicking annoyance (to me) of the BB scroll wheel (BB's other option).
  9. #9  
    I have always liked the D-Pad and surrounding hard buttons for quick one handed operations like making a phone call or checking my calendar and email.
  10. #10  
    If ALL the features of a D-pad are equally or better served by gestures or something else, then I'm fine with letting it go. However, the D-pad is one of those features of the Treo that should not be given up without a lot of consideration.

    Anyone who disagrees can play around with a Blackberry rollerball or an iPhone for an hour and let me know otherwise.
    Treo 755s in good condition available on ebay for $50-$75. No need to pay for insurance or buy a Pre.
  11. #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by Joad View Post
    Anyone who disagrees can play around with a Blackberry rollerball or an iPhone for an hour and let me know otherwise.
    So how does it work on an iphone?
  12. dpc
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    #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by greenawayj View Post

    Regarding the Pearl, I've never used it, but isn't it more like a mouse cursor that you have to position and click? The simplicity of 'tabbing' to cycle through fields is just nice. But without the clicking annoyance (to me) of the BB scroll wheel (BB's other option).
    If that's true about the mouse pointer then yes that would be very annoying, talk about having a desktop mindset! My Pearl experience is limited, but from what i saw it seemed to scroll through different app icons much like the Treo does. Anyone with Pearl experience care to weigh in?
  13. #13  
    D pad is awesome - best aspect of the phone is the abilty tom do everything w/ one hand from ther pad.

    The expection is that the pre touch screen interface will be even better.
    da Gimp

    Please note: My spelling sucks and I'm to lazy to check it.
  14. #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by B-model View Post
    D pad is awesome - best aspect of the phone is the abilty tom do everything w/ one hand from ther pad.

    The expection is that the pre touch screen interface will be even better.
    One advantage of the D-Pad and hard buttons is I can operate them without even looking.
  15. #15  
    I'll miss the d-pad for games. I know that games isn't a focus for the Pre, but it looks like the chipset would support very nice stuff. Can't imagine "Bike or Die" just using touchscreen/gesture area. Maybe the slide out keyboard can be used, but the d-pad was the perfect 1-finger joystick (with fire button!) controller.
  16. hkklife's Avatar
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    #16  
    I'll miss the d-pad mightily for text editing, games, and one-handed operation. As ADGrant says above, the 5-way navigator is perfect for "blind" operaiton. I've used OS5 for so long that I can practically do everything in my sleep or with my eyes closed. The combination of a hard keyboard + touchscreen + d-pad & hard app buttons ain't pretty but it sure is effective!

    There's no doubt about it, the vast majority of the Pre's functions will require more "touches" (whether they be key presses, screen jabs, swipes or other gestures) than a comparable classic Palm OS-based device.

    Where's Hawkins and the tap counter when you need 'em!?
    Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX-->Verizon Treo 700P-->Verizon Treo 755p-->Verizon Motorola Droid + Verizon Centro--> Verizon Motorola Droid X + Palm TX-->Verizon Droid Bionic + Palm TX
  17. #17  
    As one who reads, writes and edits on my Treo, I'm sad to see the d-pad missing. The d-pad is easy to use and non-tiring. I don't experience any noticeable strain from repetitive use. I hope the gestures turn out to be as user friendly -- or that Palm brings out another model aimed at "words and numbers" users.
  18. #18  
    I am deeply concerned about the loss of the Dpad for my own uses but it seems the mass public have shown that the touch interface is in higher demand. We still do not know all the features so I am witholding my rants until then, because it is touch sensitive a Dpad could be easily emulated around the center button.

    I prefer the speed and ease a Dpad offers so I will have to take a Pre for a test drive before I am sold on it.
  19. #19  
    I suppose my worry is premature but even so. I cant "imagine" having a Treo or a Pre without one. I guess we'll have to see.
  20. #20  
    I just think its a little silly to not have the center button at least be a trackball. If its close enough to one that people were mistaking it for one, why not just make it one? And I don't mean as a mouse pointer or anything like that, but for text navigation it'd be perfect.
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