Six months, thats how long it been since this post on WebOS Connect event in London.
A lot has happened, since then
From Palm being sold to HP, WebOS GBU being spun off – then not, webOS ‘enterprise development environment’ to Leo Apotheker commiting seppuku, to Amazon being rumoured to be the next owner of Palm.
All the while I’ve had a webOS phone in my hand, sadly today I can no longer say that. I’ve made the change from webOS to Android, specifically from a Pre 2 to a Sony Xperia Play.
And its not for the reasons you might think.
In general I don’t need that many apps, in fact my core ‘must have’ number just four:
- Web browsing
The sad thing is that the last one isn’t available on webOS phones just yet, although with all devices now supporting Enyo there must be a way to hack it on to the device….
Regardless, the reason I am leaving webOS a smartphone platform for the second time is that oh so familiar feeling of being adrift I had it in late 2009-early 2010 with my original Pre and once again I feel its time to cash out and go exploring elsewhere.
Now I still have my touchpad, as it was such a bargain and I do still hope (perhaps foolishly) that webOS can yet again rise from the ashes but for now I’m off to see if Android is a worthy replacement.
Preamble: INNTW reviews the Pre 2
I had an rough relationship with the Palm Pre last year, I loved the platform but in the end swapped it for an iPhone 4. The reasons were simple, poor quality hardware and sub par performance.
As highlighted in my earlier posts, I dont tend to use many apps, sure on my iPhone I have plenty installed but my core are twitter, facebook and safari. Secondary Apps are lightbike and kindle. Shocking I know, but those are my main uses of both my iPhone and my iPad.
Kindle is coming to webos but sadly I think light bike is but a dream…
Still I had the Pre – for around two weeks and it went from being a techno joy to being just plain annoying, I suspect that the fact that although my app need were satisfied, ‘this was as good as it gets’ put a dampner on things. Combine this with the dissapointing build quality and sluggish performance (I did overclock it but I feel it should be optional rather than mandatory) meant that the Pre and I were doomed.
So why am I posting about the Pre 2? Well as said I’m a big fan of the WebOS platform and when Palm announced it was setting up a developer device program, I signed up immediately. A couple of months later (due to the overwhelming popularity of the program) and I recieved my Pre 2.
So what’s it like? Pretty impressive.
It corrects many of the Pre’s deficiencies, the touchstone coating over the entire surface of the Pre makes it much nicer to hold, I suspect it will pick up less scratches that the hard plastic of the Pre -. Further enhancing the Pre 2 is the redesign of the front of the phone. These consist of two changes, first (and arguably most importantly) a change to a Gorilla Glass screen. The plastic screen of the Pre – was a real let down for me, it just made it feel cheap and it scratched incredibly easily. The other major change is recessing the ear piece, it’s a simple change but it creates a very iPhone like appearence and brings the Pre 2 closer to a premium device.
The keyboard is much improved, I had found myself getting more and more frustrated with the onscreen keyboard of the iPhone 4, so the transition was welcome. The key action is more satisfying and I find myself making far less mistakes, the cheese grater edge is still present. However, the slider seems to be the same sadly and there is ‘Oreo shimmy’ present, which jars slightly with the rest of the improvements, I don’t have great confidence that the Pre 2 will handle a short fall any better than the original.
Performance is a strange combination of improved and sluggish, launching apps is much improved and TMC has not reared it head just yet. The touchscreen seems to be far less accurate than that of the iPhone 4, I’m not sure of the reason but I find that in some instances, multiple presses are required to make the phone recognise the button press. There are also noticeable pauses when using the gesture area, especially if you switch on ‘advance gestures’.
Now lets get on to the important bit, software.
The changes in WebOS are stunning, I love just type.
It enables me to quickly and easily find/search both locally and on the internet. For example If I wanted to find out where Pecroino Sardo came for, I simply swipe up and start typing and I can choose to search for it using twitter, wikipedia and the internet. I can also instantly see how many emails and messages contain that term. You can also add custom search engines (e.g. WordPress), if a website supports just type a notification will pop up at the bottom of the screen and you can install it.
Stacks, are a simple but very well thought out idea. As we know WebOS is a true multitasking OS but having multiple cards open can make linked information hard to track. Stacks solve this by stacking (shocking I know!) related items on top of each other. So if I have an email with a hyperlink in it, if I choose to open that link it will stay with that email rather than go to the end of the card list. Both are brilliant ideas and available no where else, these are the features that HP need to be screaming from billboards, but that’s a different subject for another time.
Overall the Pre 2 is an improvement, its not perfect but I am making it my main phone, which is as close to a ringing endorsement as you can get.
Finally got back from Belfast at 11pm, I treated myself to 2 double cheese burgers, small fries and a small coke at the airport (about a million calories, but I’m going running tonight so it should balance out), 19 hour days on 2 hours sleep are awesome!
Anyhow, moving on.
With yesterdays post about app stores being the ties that bind us to a particular platform I decided to put my money where my mouth is.
As you may know I sold my iPhone 3G a couple of days ago and am now phoneless (save for a work blackberry), my plan was to get this:
As it would do for now and the plan was going really well until I got the o2 shop and they said they wouldn’t sell it without £10 credit, which means the phone becomes £20 and much less tempting. I then played with a couple of phones, including the new Pre Plus and left the store, resolute in my new plan, to not have a phone.
But during yesterdays trip to belfast, it would have been nice not to have to bring out my laptop just to check my email (I know a stunning observation) and a BlackBerry Curve isn’t the greatest phone to use. So I then thought of a third plan: I could get a new smartphone on contract, use it for two weeks and then return it during the cooling off period and get an iPhone, genius eh? Except that the week of the iPhone launch I’m in Blackburn doing training meaning I wouldn’t be able to send the phone back.
I’d just got into bed last night and was at that point where I was so tired that I couldn’t sleep, so out came the hackintosh for some idle surfing.
And lo I surfed high and low, forums, blogs, wiki’s and then inevitably to eBay. I’ve been thinking a lot about the Pre of late, no phone has really captured my ADD attention like it, but they are all too expensive £160-170 (far too much to play around with) and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to sell it on for the same price. So I do what anyone would do, I started messaging people on ebay asking them for BIN or if they would reduce their asking price.
I wasn’t expecting any takers at my offer of £120 + pnp but you gotta chance your luck sometimes.
And then, something unexpected happened, I got a bite. I knew it was worth a shot being that the Pre is deffinatly a phone unloved by the masses (but with a solid if tiny hardcore developer community) and with the new iPhone coming people are probably looking to shift handsets quickly but still.
So I’ve got a 2 month old Pre £120, its coming tomorrow and no doubt you think I’m crazy but lets look at the TCO:
LG dumbphone £20 (£10 phone with £10 useless credit as I’m on contract)
Palm Pre £120
Now, on looking at it the Pre is far more expensive but I did get it cheap and I know I can sell it for at least £100 in three weeks time. Making the total cost of ownership (less shipping and app purchases), £20.
And I don’t know about you but I think that’s pretty decent price to pay.