I picked up the new Palm Pre on launch day last month – its the first time I have owned a smart phone – and the first time I have owned the latest phone available. I recently found myself wanting a computer that was more portable than my laptop and I debated Apple’s iPhone (including the new 3Gs), Google’s G1 (the G2 was too far out for me to wait), and the Palm Pre. My contract with Sprint was up at the end of May, so I was truly free to pick any phone. The iPhone is with AT&T and the G1 is with T-Mobile. So why did I pick the Pre and stay with Sprint? One factor was coverage – all three of the carriers have adiqute coverage in my area and in the areas I travel to (N. Carolina, Ohio, California) – none of them have good coverage in Maine or Alaska (I have family in both states). Ok – next is the plan – I’m on the Sprint Simply Everything plan (which should be called the not-so-simple-not-so-everything plan). Its $99 a month and comes with unlimited voice, text, and data (including Sprint Navigation). It doesn’t include phone as a modem (tethering) and you can’t buy the tethering add-on even though they offer the add-on for other plans. But what do the others offer? AT&T has an unlimited plan for $99… plus $30 for iPhone data plan… plus $20 for unlimited texting… plus $10 for AT&T Navigation… that’s a grand total $159 a month! Oh and no, AT&T doesn’t allow tethering either. In their defense, AT&T does offer roll-over minutes and I don’t use more than 1500 anytime minutes often but the two times I did in the last year, I was at 3800 and 3900 mins – maybe they have a plan that is not unlimited that would cover me using roll-0ver for those months, but I don’t want to risk it. And T-Mobile? They have an ‘unlimited’ plan for $99… plus $34.99 for text and data… totalling $133.99. I’m sure I could get a cheaper plan that covered my needs, but what if I found what looked like the perfect plan for 11 out of 12 months? And that 12th month I used 100 or 200 or even 800 minutes over at 25, 35, or 40 cents a minute? Ah… no thanks – I”m not going to risk it. Sprint is the clear winner when you compare plans for a heavy phone user. Most of you guys never go over your 500 or 800 minutes – but I do. Now the phones themselves. The iPhone is nice and has more apps than anyone could ever use, but I don’t like that it doesn’t have a real keyboard – and yes, I’ve used the iPhone software keyboard many times – its not good enough for me to give up a real keyboard. That alone was enough for me to look hard at other phones. The G1 – I’ve only had my hands on this phone a couple of times – I like the flip out landscape style keyboard – but the user interface is rigid and stiff compared to the iPhone. It seems like a silly thing, but the way the iPhone moves between pages is fluid – when you swipe your finger across the screen, the page moves as fast as you swipe, continuing even after your finger is off the screen and when you hit the end of a view and try to keep moving, it does this bounce like thing (sorry for the crude description). The G1, from what I remember, didn’t have that fluidness. I did however love the trackball (similar to what you find on most Blackberry’s today). The Palm Pre – doesn’t have the trackball despite the fact that early images made me believe it would. It does have the fluid movement that the iPhone has but goes way beyond the iPhone with the card view. The new iPhone can multitask but lacks the
flash that the Pre has with the card view. And Pre brings a brand new feature with the gesture bar at the bottom of the device. This is how you can quickly switch between apps without going to the card view, you can go back (like a browser back button), scroll in landscape mode, and bring up the ‘wave’ feature of the quick launch bar. Truly a new feature in the phone market. Bottom Line Sprint has really really bad customer service (from experince) but I rarely need customer service – they have a great price point for the everything plan and the Palm Pre is a much better user interface than any of the other smart phones on the market today. It needs applications – there are only 30 apps in the app store today, the app store is still listed as beta, and there is no clear path to get an app included in the app store for developers. But for me – its still the best phone on the market today!