Ten Things You Should Know About the Palm Pre

You've seen our Palm Pre review, but if you only had to get ten things out of it, which ten things would they be? It would be these ten things.

1) Palm's webOS is tremendously usable. The new concepts they introduce—gestures under the screen, cards to represent running apps, searching for contacts and apps from the main screen—are all intuitive and easy to pick up. The look of the UI is also soothing, with largish icons and largish text, fluid animations and rounded corners. It's definitely a "web" OS in that it takes a lot of cues from web design patterns and motifs.

2) The Pre is a fantastic size and shape and feels natural in both your pocket or your hand. The rounded pebble shape is pleasurable, and the weight is solid without being weighty. That said...

3) When you open up the phone, the story changes dramatically. The edges are too sharp—sharp enough to cut cheese—and the keyboard is tiny and difficult to type on. If Palm had included iPhone/Android-level word correction, basically a system that would basically fix misspellings for you to correct for inaccurate typing, this wouldn't be a problem.

4) Multitasking is handled elegantly. Palm's webOS introduces the concept of "cards" as apps, where you can shuffle them around, scroll through your deck and deal them off your phone to close them. It's great most of the time to be able to swap between emailing and texting and YouTube and your browser without having to close out and lose your spot in each app. Unfortunately, multitasking works the same as it does in your PC in that you have a limited amount of system resources to go around, and using heavy apps will mean you can't do much else without a significant slowdown—like having your music stutter.

5) There will be various hardware editions with this OS. Unlike the iPhone, where there's basically only one phone with the iPhone OS every year, Palm's planning on releasing different phones in different form factors all running the same OS. There's already been one leaked: the Centro-like Palm Eos that's heading to AT&T.

6) It works with iTunes. Palm went to the trouble of making the Pre pretend to be an iPod when synced to iTunes, allowing you to transfer your music and video and photos without a problem. Playlists make it over just fine, but song ratings and play counts aren't supported on the Pre. And your DRM'ed iTunes songs won't make it over either, but your MP3 and DRM-free ones will.

7) Facebook and Google sync well. Not only does it have push Gmail, there's something called Synergy that grabs your Facebook and Google contacts and merges them together on your phone. You may not want ALL your Facebook contacts or everyone you've ever emailed from your Gmail account to be on your phone, but it's all or nothing at this point.

8) It works with your old Palm apps. If you're an old-school Palm OS user that really needs some random app, like the eBook reader or Epocrates medical software (before their Pre version comes out), this can ease your transition.

9) The screen and multitouch are both high quality. Like I said in the review, the screen is crisp and sharp and clear, and the multitouch seems to track slightly better and quicker than the iPhone.

10) The app catalog is tiny now, but will most likely grow quite fast since the phone is slightly more consumery than Android phones (Android is a little more hardcore-based than this). Although I don't see an explosion as big as the iTunes App Store, I do think there will be quite a few apps for the phone eventually.

11) BONUS! The Touchstone charger charges really slowly. If you're looking to charge in a hurry, plug the microUSB charger directly into the Pre. But if you're just docking it at work and want to keep the screen on standby so you can see emails and texts come in, the Touchstone is a decent solution. It does, however, make your phone quite hot.

These are the ten main points, and serve as a fast introductory course to knowing the Palm Pre. If you're interested in doing more research on the device before you buy, here's the review and the FAQ.

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