Entrepreneur and SAI contributor Sachin Agarwal just returned his Palm Pre Plus to Verizon Wireless after a little more than three weeks of use. He says he’s going to stick with his dumbphone for now until the Google Android Nexus One is available for Verizon or until Apple announces the next iPhone, which might also work with Verizon. Here, Agarwal explains why he got rid of his Palm.
I just couldn’t do it. Despite the solid hardware, innovative approaches, and possibilities of the platform, I just couldn’t justify holding onto my Palm Pre Plus any more. Using the phone required too many compromises and it wasn’t worth the additional cost over the dumbphone I had lying around.
For the benefit of Palm management, here’s a list of all the things that pushed me over the edge:
- The touchscreen is atrocious. Having to hit the call or hang up button six times for the press to register made me want to throw the Pre against the wall on a daily basis. (This is probably something relating to the OS or memory or something, but when I tapped the touchscreen, it didn’t work the way it was supposed to. So I’m blaming the touchscreen.)
- The battery life is atrocious. The device would barely last the 16 hours between when I left for work and when I returned home. If I missed a charge, the phone went dead.
- The GPS is atrocious. Apparently, this is somehow actually Verizon’s fault as they’re pushing people to their 10-bucks-a-month Verizon Navigator. But I paid for Navigator and the GPS on the Pre Plus sucked just the same.
- Having text messaging and instant messenger in the same app is clinical. Yes, they’re both text. No, they are not anywhere close to the same thing. If I wanted to receive IMs on my phone, I’d have the IM app open. Signing in/out of AIM in the Messaging app isn’t the same as just opening the IM app when I want to use it.
- Copy and paste? I’m told it’s on the device in the user manual. It never worked. The iPhone does it well. Palm should have just stolen Apple’s implementation instead of trying to do their own thing.
- Editing text is atrocious. Again, Palm should have just stolen the magnifying glass from Apple. Instead, I have to hold down the grey (orange on original Pres) key and try to move the cursor slowly. I ended up just erasing whole words and re-typing.
- The apps are underwhelming. Finding new apps in the App catalogue is an embarrassment. You’d think Palm would be able to do a decent job with just 1,500 or so apps. You’d be wrong.
- There was more, but I’ve forgotten them already. That’s how uninspiring the phone was.
As I wrote in my previous posts, I think Palm management was fixated on matching the iPhone on paper, feature-by-feature, rather than doing the smart/hard thing and trying to match the iPhone experience-by-experience. And to be sure, some of the things on the Pre are nice: The “Synergy” feature’s ability to consolidate Gmail/Yahoo/Facebook address books, the card metaphor for multiple applications, the portrait slide-out keyboard — these are all home run innovations. But they don’t make up for the numerous compromises. Most of my issues are probably fixable in software. But I wasn’t going to wait, and neither should you.
Palm’s management: get your stuff together or Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha is going to pick at your carcass in twelve months’ time.