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Tom's Journey Through Prelandia

Highlighted
Wizard

Re: Tom's Journey Through Prelandia

I ordered one of those adapters - should arrive this week. I'll see if that takes care of the immediate problem. Thanks for the tip, Denny!


Now on to the problem of the day.

The Palm Pre still works as expected, except for GPS sometimes totally refusing to work while my trusty DumbPhone is always eager and willing (and knows where it is).

I don't know if the GPS problem is a software problem with the Pre in general, or some sort of specific defect with this particular Pre. I have seen other people writing about their Pre not being able to find it's current location, but I have absolutely no way to judge how common the problem is, nor it's cause.

The only "mechanical problem" I've had with this device is when I opened the slide Friday evening and found a thin (maybe 1/2mm by 1/8mm, about 8mm long?) piece of plastic sticking out at an odd angle from under the µUSB jack cover on the side.

http://tijil.org/pre_break_01.jpgI stopped what I was doing, opened the "lid" over the jack, and found that it was the tiny little strip of case that is behind the lid, and between the jack and the other half of the phone.

Apparently somewhere along the line, one end of that paper thin strip of plastic had cracked and when I slid the device open this time, it got hung up and rather drasticly bent. The only real solution was to simply break it off completely.

(The red outline in the picture to your right shows where the plastic used to be.)

Having this tiny, thin piece of plastic missing is no problem at all, the lid still fits just fine, the jack is firmly attached to the circuit board, and there is no problem with sliding the keyboard. It is not even noticible unless one opens the lid to get to the jack, and only then if one knows there used to be a thin blade of plastic next to the jack.

Even though this in no way affects anything operational with the Palm Pre, the extreme delicacy and fragility of the design is reinforced in my mind. This unit has been gently handled at all times, and the jack has only rarely been accessed (I charge with a Touchstone).

I realize this isn't a rugged Nextel device, but even an ordinary handset should stand up to normal, gentle, everyday use.

More later...

Highlighted
Journeyman

Re: Tom's Journey Through Prelandia

Tomas wrote:


Now on to the problem of the day.

The Palm Pre still works as expected, except for GPS sometimes totally refusing to work while my trusty DumbPhone is always eager and willing (and knows where it is).

I don't know if the GPS problem is a software problem with the Pre in general, or some sort of specific defect with this particular Pre. I have seen other people writing about their Pre not being able to find it's current location, but I have absolutely no way to judge how common the problem is, nor it's cause.

I have noticed this recently as well and was prepared to post regarding my frustrations. My experience shows the same as far as GPS just refusing to function properly for no apparent reason. For instance while preparing for a trip while still at my mothers home, indoors even, I was able to start the navigation app and get a route within a few seconds, then once in the car a few minutes later the Pre was unable to find itself. I tried everything including restarting the Pre a couple of times and starting and stopping the app, even trying to get a GPS fix with the diagnostics. Then just as suddenly as it stopped working it was fine.

This has happened several times now and always at the most inopportune of times!

Highlighted
Wizard

Re: Tom's Journey Through Prelandia

Very strange.

I've just spent a couple of hours searching to see if there were any upates of WebOS or PRL or anything else that might cause a full reset of the Palm Pre.

Why, you might be asking.

Because this pre was sitting quietly on the arm of my chair, as it had been for hours, when it suddenly shut off and then restarted. That was at precisely at 7PM PDT.

I've looked at every bit of software in the Pre, and none of it had been updated. The PRL was still the one the device came with, and it was not time for it's automatic backup (which I dutifully did one hour later).

Now I am asking why.

Why did this Palm Pre, with no apparent cause and no physical movement of the device for a considerable time spontaneously turn it self off and back on?

Curious minds want to know.

Take care,

Tom


baw_bee.gif "They killed Buzzy! You b_______!"

Highlighted
Wizard

Re: Tom's Journey Through Prelandia

Maybe it got a bee in its bonnet?  Probably as good of an explanation as you are going to get.

It found Buzzy!

Denny

Highlighted
Journeyman

Re: Tom's Journey Through Prelandia

Tomas wrote:

Very strange.

I've just spent a couple of hours searching to see if there were any upates of WebOS or PRL or anything else that might cause a full reset of the Palm Pre.

Why, you might be asking.

Because this pre was sitting quietly on the arm of my chair, as it had been for hours, when it suddenly shut off and then restarted. That was at precisely at 7PM PDT.

I've looked at every bit of software in the Pre, and none of it had been updated. The PRL was still the one the device came with, and it was not time for it's automatic backup (which I dutifully did one hour later).

Now I am asking why.

Why did this Palm Pre, with no apparent cause and no physical movement of the device for a considerable time spontaneously turn it self off and back on?

Curious minds want to know.

Take care,

Tom


baw_bee.gif "They killed Buzzy! You b_______!"

Tom, you are definitely not alone!

http://forums.precentral.net/palm-pre/195507-pre-randomly-shutting-off-after-1-1-a.html

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Wizard

Re: Tom's Journey Through Prelandia

Dennyd wrote:

My son bought this to use with his Blackberry 8330. Works well with my Pre.

http://www.amazon.com/Blackberry-Stereo-Headset-Adaptor-HDW-15306-002/dp/B0010VLYJE

dd

Well, the one I ordered arrived today, and I immediately connected my Plantronics boom-mic headset to it, plugged it into the Palm Pre, and placed a call to my other Sprint handset. I let the call go to voicemail, left a message, and hung up.

I could hear fine through the headset, although the volume was no where near what it should have been.

The problem, as I expected, was that the "message" left had no content other than line noise. The mic was not working with the Pre.

That puts me back to the same problem I started this complaint with: There appears no adapter available to connect a three-wire mono headset with boom mic and a 2.5mm plug to the four-wire, stereo out plus input 3.5mm jack on the Pre.

I will be writing Palm requesting information on "recommended wired, boom-mic headset" to use with the Pre. (Yes, I'm skipping Sprint on this. So far my replies from Sprint have all boiled down to "use Bluetooth." Wrong answer.)

It's the little niggling details like this that can make a person doubt that the Pre is really ready for professional use.

Take care,

Tom


baw_bee.gif "They killed Buzzy!" "You b_______!"

Highlighted
Wizard

Re: Tom's Journey Through Prelandia

Well, I've asked Palm, and one of their Tech Support people has been very quick to respond, but the answers have gotten me no closer to being able to use my existing communication headsets with the Palm Pre. If Palm will at least provide me with the information on their audio jack wiring I can make an adapter (which would still allow the headset to be use on other standard devices).

Here is what I currently know about the Pre audio wiring:

http://tijil.org/headset_plugs00.jpg

Here is a link to my thread over at the Palm corporate user support forums:

http://forums.palm.com/palm/board/message?board.id=weboshardware&thread.id=4250

More later...


baw_bee.gif "They killed Buzzy!" "You b_______!"

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Journeyman

Re: Tom's Journey Through Prelandia

Tom, I had the same problem until I purchased an adapter very similar to this one for my Instinct and thankfully it works "perfectly" with my Pre & Plantronics headset with boom mic.

http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.2662

I don't remember from where I purchased mine.

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Wizard

Re: Tom's Journey Through Prelandia

Well, we just got back from a driving trip to Hamilton, Montana and I worked the Palm Pre pretty hard both on the drive and while there, impressing the locals with my magic black box...


On the Road

In the drive over I had the Pre mounted on the Touchstone in the car. (I know! I know! palm doesn't like that idea as the magnetic mounting isn't secure enough to keep the Pre from flying about the cabin should the ride get a bit violent.)

I my car, it is fairly simple to secure the Touchstone to a gooseneck mount, in a position where the dash itself assists in holding the Pre to the Touchstone. I had no problems with the Pre coming adrift in nearly 1200 miles of driving.

On the way to Hamilton, I used Sprint navigation for roughly the last 100 miles of the drive, as I had not made that drive for nearly a year, and there was a fair amount of new consruction making it seem even less familiar.

Luckily, the Pre was having a good day and the GPS fired right up and locked on. The accuracy and quickness of the Palm Pre's navigation was better than the navigation on my trusty Sanyo (but I had the Sanyo fired up just in case). There were two odd little glitches in Missoula when I was travelling in a straight line per the instructions of the lady-in-the-box, where she suddenly changed her mind and instructed me to make a U-turn, then corrected herself seconds later and told me to continue straight ahead for another few miles. This happened on both the Sanyo and the Pre, so was a fault in the TeleNav database, not the Pre (the Sanyo did the same thing several times in Missoula last year...).

What was amazing to me was when I pulled off to get fuel and being merely 20 feet off the street was enough to get the lady-in-the-box excited at my being off course.

Most interesting thing in using the Pre on the touchstone is that it kept it fully charged even while running Sprint Navigator, whereas the very same Palm car charger that was connected to the Touchstone WILL NOT keep the Pre charges in the same situation while direct connected... Something wrong there.


In Hamilton, Montana

While in Hamilton I resorted to the Palm Pre numerous times to pull up answers when I was asked specific questions I did not have answers for. The various folks there were amazed and very impressed with the abilities of the Pre, and it was not at all unusual for me to run the battery down to nearly nothing before people were through playing with it.

Most were, though, in the final analysis, extremely concerned with the ruggedness and durability of the Pre, and it's ability to survive in the dust and hard use a phone gets there. In that respect, most were more impressed with my MIL SPEC Sanyo, and wanted information on it.


On the Road Again...

On the return trip I again had the lady-in-the-box guide me for about the first 60 miles of the trip, and again the GPS was well behaved.

I was very impressed with the Pre's ability to recover after signal dropouts, and to pick up the navigation chores right where it left off.

All in all, the Pre performed flawlessly in the trip.

Take care,

Tom


baw_bee.gif "They killed Buzzy!" "You b_______!"

Highlighted
Wizard

Re: Tom's Journey Through Prelandia

Well, folks, it is getting very close to the end of my three months with the Palm Pre, and I suppose I need to recap my overall thoughts and feelings about it.

Overall it is a delightful device that is enjoyable to use and quite competent in the way it does things.

The way it interacts with it's user and in turn with all the data it has access to is remarkable. It honestly appears to be the first of a new type of device specifically designed for "Cloud Computing" from the ground up.

Being v1.0 in both hardware and software means that not all the little details are perfect, but v1.0 products are by definition learning opportunities - it is where the folks making the hardware and software get their first "reality check" by the general public.

As one of the "general public" given an opportunity to use the device for an extended time with no expectations of how good or bad it might be, I've tried to be very honest about what I've observed, both good and bad.

To save those with a short attention span the pain of having to read through to the end of this extended review, let me say here what my final opinion is: For those who need or want a small portable device with the functionality the Palm Pre offers, there is nothing else on the market that does what it does any better.

Is it worth the price? Compared with everything else currently on the market, it is a bargain.

Would I recommend it to to others? Absolutely! But I would also caution those folks about some of the limitations of this v1.0 device.

My next two posts on this will focus in separately on the hardware and software...

More later...

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Wizard

Re: Tom's Journey Through Prelandia

Hello again!

This is my next-to-last post in my extended review of the Palm Pre.

This post will deal with the mechanics of the Pre, it's physical design.

First off, the Pre is a VERY compact device with a smooth friendly shape. It slips into even a shirt pocket very easily, and with it's rounded shape doesn't feel like it is trying to force it's way out.

The screen is about as large as it can be in a device of this size, and the actual touch-sensitive "active" area covers almost the entire front, all the way down to the middle of the single rounded button on it's face.

The working parts of this device take up roughly 100% of the available space. The PCS antenna, GPS antenna, Bluetooth antenna and WiFi antenna are all gold alloy that look almost like they are just painted on the internal frame of the phone.

Cramming this much powerful, high speed technology into so small a space has it's tradeoffs: Correspondingly small battery and lots of heat produced in a small area.

The battery is about average size for a typical wireless phone, but the large display, high-speed processors, multiple receivers (PCS, GPS, Bluetooth, WiFi) and transmitters (PCS, Bluetooth, WiFi) lighted keyboard, camera, stereo audio, etc. all take their toll on battery life.

A battery that would run a normal device of this size for days sometimes struggles to make it through one day trying to power all of this.

The obvious thing to do is to have turned on only those things you are using. This saves the battery quite a lot.

Let's face it, when you come home after a long hard day terrorizing the peasants, you don't immediately have the servants turn on every electric light and appliance in your castle. Most real folks just turn on what they are expecting to actually use.

One should do the same with their Palm Pre. If you are not using WiFi, GPS, or Bluetooth right now, turn them off - they are really easy to turn on and off, and it takes mere seconds.

Same for the screen. If you are not using the screen, touch the button to turn it off. If you ARE using the screen, there is usually no need to have the brightness turned up all the way.

Just those simple and obvious actions can easily double the battery life.

There are some very nice physical features that differentiate the Pre from other devices out there. Some that immediately come to mind are the Touchstone charging system (Excellent!) and the physical keyboard.

Speaking of the keyboard, yes, it is tiny, and takes some getting used to. It is not perfect, nor is it the best in its size, but it is there, and gives direct physical, tactile feedback. You can feel the buttons, you can feel when you have pressed them, you KNOW what you touched and that the touch was recognized. Basically, it is the Palm Centro keyboard.

One thing that is seldom mentioned is the choices designers make in positioning the "non-alpha" keys. On the Pre, the "@" and "." keys are on their own. You don't need to touch two keys to use "@". Makes entering email addresses a snap.

Some people prefer a larger on-screen virtual keyboard, some prefer keeping the screen free of the clutter and having a keyboard you can actually feel. If you are the physical keyboard type, you can learn to use the Pre keyboard, even if it seems too small. (It would be better bigger, but we are talking very tiny device here. It's all compromise.)

Lastly, there is the undeniable fact that the body of the Pre is a thin plastic shell stretched over a very full package of electronics. Being thin, it is delicate. No matter how tough the material is (and the plastic used is very tough), anything this thin is not going to be rugged. It is for the most part as rugged as it needs to be to survive careful use, but don't drop it, sit on it, squeeze it hard. I might survive, but then again it might not. Treat it carefully. After all, it may be small, but it IS an over $500 micro computer.

Next: The software...

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Journeyman

Re: Tom's Journey Through Prelandia

Hi Tom,

Your reviews are very insightful. Have you tried any of the extended batteries for the Pre? I heard really good things about some of them.

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