Palm Pre Review, Competition For The iPhone

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Initial Setup & User Interface


When you first boot up the Palm Pre, you’ll be asked to set up a Palm Profile. This process takes a few moments and provides access to several services such as backup and restore settings, remote erase, and over-the-air updates. You’ll also be given the option to transfer data from your desktop client(s). If you already rely upon Google, Facebook, or Microsoft Exchange, this transfer process will be relatively easy since Palm’s new Synergy feature can pull your data as soon as you provide your account information.

If your information resides in iCal and Address Book, Palm Desktop, or Outlook, you’ll be required to set up a Google account and then you’ll need a third-party application such as Google Sync or CompanionLink to synchronize your data with Google and then to the Pre. If you want to sync the Pre over a Wi-Fi network, you’ll also need Chapura PocketMirror for Outlook.

For users who are migrating from a Treo from Palm Desktop, iCal and Address Book, or standalone Outlook, Palm provides the Data Transfer Assistant that will transfer data from your desktop to the Pre. After moving data to the Pre, Palm will help you select a web service supported by Palm's Synergy feature.

   

The Pre’s Home screen is relatively simple, with a tray at the bottom that provides access to a few commonly used applications and the Program Launcher. After opening the Launcher, you’ll see various programs that can be opened. To switch between the Launcher’s panels, swipe your finger across the screen. Small vertical lines in the lower left and right corners of the Launcher screen let you know which panel of applications you are viewing.

   

On the second panel of the Launcher, you’ll find the App Catalog. Palm’s App Catalog is still in beta, so the program options are limited for now. Even so, there are still some good options available today, including Pandora, AccuWeather, Fandango, and more. The Pre comes preloaded with Google Maps, DataViz's DocView for viewing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files, a PDF viewer, a YouTube app, Sprint TV, Sprint Navigation, Sprint NASCAR, a memo pad, a task list, a calculator, and a clock.

The Gesture area just below the screen provides easy access to some commonly used functions. By swiping your finger from right to left in this area for instance, you can go back one screen. Two small LEDs and the center button illuminate white whenever the Pre registers a gesture command. Palm documents the gesture commands in an opening tutorial on the phone as well as in the Get Started guide.

To open more than one application at a time, you can use the Quick Launch feature by dragging your finger from the Gesture area upward or you can press the Center button and open an application from the tray. When you’re in an application, tap the upper-left corner of the screen to open any relevant menus for that application.



At any time, you can switch to another open application using the Pre’s Deck of Cards feature. To do this, press the Center button and swipe your finger left or right to view open applications. Tap once to bring an application to full view. You can also rearrange the cards by pressing and holding a card and then dragging and dropping the card to the position you prefer. When you’re finished in an application, flick its card upward to close the program.

The Pre also provides fast access to the connection manager – simply tap the upper right corner of the screen and you’ll have access to the Pre’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth settings as well as the Airplane mode.

In general, the Pre’s interface is easy to use and provided smooth transitions. As with any new phone, it will likely take you a little bit of time to adjust to the user interface of the Palm Pre, but this learning curve should be relatively short.

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