07/01/2009, 02:20 PM
Hi, maybe I have an interesting perspective to the Pre. I'm an iPhone user since day 1 that just switched to the Pre more over disdain for AT&T then anything else. Here are my thoughts of where they are with v1 as compared to Apple's third OS:
Phone App: Palm nailed it. Universal Search and Spotlight are about the same, functionality wise here, but being able to type in a name from the phone app's keypad view is a win, with iPhone you have to switch from keypad to contacts or favorites.
Synergy: Amazing! I had to manually link all my AIM buddies, but otherwise, it merged entries from Google, Facebook and a work Exchange account with almost 100% accuracy. A few duplicate addresses are shown (same contact with the same work address listed twice) - but NO duplicate names! I also am an IT engineer by trade, and as such have multiple ActiveSync servers I need to connect to. The Pre does this, whereas iPhone and even Windows Mobile can only connect to ONE Exchange server at a time.
Phone Dialing: I'd like to see them smooth this out a bit. It's easy to start a conference call, but I wasn't able how to figure out merging two calls when you dialed one, and the other is call waiting. Also, I couldn't figure out how to drop one end of a conference call, only how to hang up both lines.
Email: Awesome, although the iPhone just got landscape, and while I know there's a hack for that, I hear it's not quite ready yet as gesture swipes don't work reliably. I think the Pre's font is so good that the app just looks ten times better. One gripe: after replying, you have to tap back into your message and hit delete. On the iPhone, after replying, it takes you back into your message, so it's one less tap. Also, deleting on the Pre should take you to the next message, not back to the list. The font is amazing, by the way, it alone makes the iPhone interface look dated.
Camera: There's a flash and you can take about a frame a second. Say no more, it wins. Yeah, video would be nice, but I feel the same way about my DSLR... video would be nice, but that's not what I look for when shopping for a camera.
App Store: It works as well as the iPhone app store. Unlike some of the laughable alternatives, it's going to be a real great way to browse applications. Obviously the SDK needs to get out there quick so we can get all those apps developed.
Calendars: The Pre wins HANDS DOWN. The display of free time in between appointments, the easy overlay of all calendars, the fact that it shows my Google subscribed calendars such as US Holidays, it's really slick.
Contacts: Again, super slick.
Messaging App: Built in Gtalk and AIM plus actual MMS is great! Also, the nod goes to Sprint here. I receive 9000 text messages a month from work monitoring systems, plus a couple of hundred from friends. On AT&T, any time a email-to-SMS comes in, it's assigned one of 250 unique numbers. To delete after a storm of messages takes up to 250 "swipe, hit delete" actions. Sprint seems to group them by sending mail server, so all of the ones from one system show up as one thread, and it takes one swipe to delete my alerts, no matter how many there are.
Deleting in general is great, in mail, swiping left and right rapidly to delete messages is quick and easy.
SDK: I suspect the SDK is more sophisticated than anybody knows. The Sporting News Baseball app, for example, gives notifications when open about scoring updates and populates a calendar for me with the schedules of favorite teams. iPhone just got notifications for apps, and they are still those annoying pop up over whatever you are doing type. These float in the bottom unobtrusively. And as everybody knows, Apple is loathe to allow apps to update calendars, contacts and do anything in mail other than create a new message. I see Palm is a bit more open about this stuff. It would seem that the iPhone will remain #1 for gaming, but I think the core application possibilities are huge. I'm playing with "The Missing Sync", and that's an app that could never be released for iPhone, since it synchronizes contacts, music and videos, calendars, etc. All things that Apple does not allow.
The number one feature is demonstrated by Pandora. This is the case for background apps. Pandora is useless on an iPhone since you can't do ANYTHING ELSE while listening. This is why I could care less than it's an 8gb device. I just need to get my podcasts on it, and maybe 1 or 2 movies if I'm flying. Music can come from the cloud. iPhone has "Simplify Media" which streams from your home music player (iTunes or WinAmp), I pray that comes out for Pre soon!
One area where the Pre needs improvement is in Videos. I loaded some video podcasts, as they show up in one huge list in Videos with just the filename and length. This was through Missing Sync. Contrast to the music app, which reads the ID3 tags, and lets you browse by Artist, Genre, etc. When I tried loading Podcasts through iTunes, the video ones were missing - I couldn't see them from the Video app, although if I connected via USB the files were in the folder. Apple's iTunes really is an impressive way to organize media and acquire new media. I hope to see that copied, and soon!
Lastly, no matter how you sync, it would seem you can't update play counts in iTunes, they never reflect activity done on the Pre. That's a shame, I use smart playlists to sync only unplayed, recent podcasts to my phone, or at least I did with the iPhone.