Early Palm Pre Review: WebOS Off to Great Start But Bad Keyboard

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BoyGeniusReport publishes the first hands on review of the upcoming Palm Pre. Palm has been especially secretive about allowing media access to their device, so this represents one of the most detailed looks of the device.

BoyGeniusReport breaks down the review into Screen, Keyboard, Size, Feel, OS, Multimedia, Battery Life, Browser, and Apps. Some aspects were difficult to test at this early stage including Apps, Multimedia and Battery life. The site gave the phone high marks for the operating system and screen but found both the keyboard and feel of the device to be poor. Specifically, the physical keyboard which distinguishes itself from the iPhone's soft keyboard was described as disappointing:
It’s really not good. My hands aren’t that big (I can type faster than you could ever dream on a BlackBerry, iPhone or E71) and my thumb literally takes up 3 or 4 keys on the keyboard. There’s less space in between each key than say, a BlackBerry Curve 8300 keyboard, and the texture takes some time to get used to.
....
You can’t compete with RIM in the keyboard area and you can’t compete with Apple in the soft-keyboard area, so how are people going to enjoy using your product when the data entry isn’t perfection?
Still, the reviewer was enthusiastic about the OS and expects the device to be successful.

Article Link: Early Palm Pre Review: WebOS Off to Great Start But Bad Keyboard
 

fanbrain

macrumors 6502
Jan 31, 2005
275
48
So. UT
I still don't get how WebOS is now so cool when it was frowned upon during the iPhone's infant stages?
 

dmiller

macrumors member
Aug 11, 2008
62
0
is it the same keyboard that comes with every other palm or is it smaller? i can type like hell on my treo. my contract is up soon and i'm seriously considering a pre... the only downside i can see is the lack of the apps. to me the iphone is decent as a phone but the apps are what make it a must have device. decisions decisions
 

MarkMS

macrumors 6502a
Aug 30, 2006
992
0
It's all relative to the user. I found that the BlackBerry 88xx/9xxx series with the buttons right next to each other to be better than the BlackBerry Curve 83xx/89xx that has its buttons spaced out. And on the 88xx, my fingers cover 4-5 buttons easily, but somehow I'm able to type with minimal errors.

Everyone has to go into Sprint and Best Buy to see if this is for them.
 

eclipxe

macrumors regular
Jun 28, 2007
148
61
I still don't get how WebOS is now so cool when it was frowned upon during the iPhone's infant stages?
Palm's WebOS is *nothing* like the original iPhone Web Apps. Just because apps on the pre are written using Javascript/HTML5/CSS doesn't mean they are simply web apps. Local storage, device access (calendar, phonebook, etc), pixel level painting and 3D rendering in HTML5, as well as native installation and offline access means apps on WebOS will be much different than standard iPhone web apps.
 

TheSpaz

macrumors 604
Jun 20, 2005
7,032
1
I can't wait to see the Pre not outsell the iPhone. I don't think I could ever use a hard keyboard... I hate 'em. I love the touch screen keyboard and I hope Apple never chooses to change to hard keys.
 

themoonisdown09

macrumors 601
Nov 19, 2007
4,319
15
Georgia, USA
I thought that the keyboard looked pretty cramped. One good thing about the soft-keyboard is that you can use it in portrait or landscape mode (with the 3.0 software).
 

.Andy

macrumors 68030
Jul 18, 2004
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The Mergui Archipelago
This is a concern to hear. I'm a fan of physical keyboards but the palm one has looked awful since the start. It could really make or break the device. Still going to give them the benefit of the doubt as they should know what they are doing by now.
 

Penguinwrangler

macrumors regular
Sep 12, 2006
186
0
Edgewater, NJ
Been saying this for weeks...

I've long held that this keyboard design is awful for a number of reasons, and I imagine we have not heard the last of that complaint. How can you type quickly on a device that is going to be wobbling around like crazy?
 

inkswamp

macrumors 68030
Jan 26, 2003
2,759
845
Palm's WebOS is *nothing* like the original iPhone Web Apps. Just because apps on the pre are written using Javascript/HTML5/CSS doesn't mean they are simply web apps. Local storage, device access (calendar, phonebook, etc), pixel level painting and 3D rendering in HTML5, as well as native installation and offline access means apps on WebOS will be much different than standard iPhone web apps.
Oh, come on! That's bordering on apologist drivel. Palm may have given developers some hooks into their system, but Javascript/HTML is hardly a replacement for a real development environment. Beyond all the obvious issues, it's not efficient or fast enough for anything but the most casual of uses. And until someone ports Quake or Monkeyball over to the Pre using HTML and Javascript, I'll remain unconvinced.

Anyway, I agree completely with the OP. Seems weird to me too that there was such a relentless outcry about the iPhone having web-based development only, and yet, not a peep out of those same folks when Palm does it.

And as a programmer and Web developer myself, I have to wonder about the wisdom of retrofitting local storage and device access on to a language not originally designed with local system security in mind. Could be a Pandora's Box that Palm is opening up here.
 

mholtz2323

macrumors member
Mar 6, 2008
75
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As noted in the comments section of his site, this isn't final hardware. This wasn't given to him by Palm nor Sprint. I wouldn't take this review too seriously. Hopefully someone gets the finished model soon because CNET got to try one out and says the keyboard is great.
 

kugino

macrumors 65816
Jul 10, 2003
1,086
51
i actually hope palm does well...competition is good, and will spur apple to be at the top of their game. regardless of whether the hardware and the OS are good, though, i think it all comes down to the app store...palm will really have to figure out how to attract developers in that space.
 

Donz0r

macrumors 6502a
Jun 29, 2006
901
22
exactly the reason I won't get one

It's coming to ATT by Feb 2010 at the latest, I would consider holding off if the iPhone updates are ho-hum (even though they totally won't be :D) but the keyboard kills it
 

Packersfan27

macrumors 6502
May 29, 2008
262
0
Eh, I think it comes down to this. If you want a virtual keyboard get the iPhone. If you want a physical keyboard get the Pre. The keyboard does not look much different then the keyboard I cam currently using and I can type fine with it.
 

zombitronic

macrumors 65816
Feb 9, 2007
1,115
6
I still don't get how this one is going to be the one to match the iPhone. I've heard that line before.
 

rstansby

macrumors 6502
Jun 19, 2007
493
0
I can't wait to see the Pre not outsell the iPhone.
They only have a couple of days to sell the Pre before the new iPhone OS (and presumably new iPhone hardware) is announced. I think the iPhone announcement will eclipse the hype over the Pre.
 

RyanFromQA

macrumors member
May 15, 2008
40
20
I think it's the portrait-slide form factor that kills it for me. It's the bananaphone. Why not go landscape-slide like the very successful HTC offerings?
 

northy014

macrumors regular
Aug 26, 2008
157
0
I really don't think that this will have been finished hardware - especially if the OS on the device was not complete - as the non functioning of such a critical app as Music implies. Seems likely that the release version will have worked out many of these kinks.
 

pimentoLoaf

macrumors 68000
Dec 30, 2001
1,976
1
The SimCity Deli
When I upgraded my AT&T wireless plan a few weeks ago, I could've had a Treo -- only the keys were ludicrously small. No matter how I tried to work with its keys, I was always getting errors.

An ol'-fashioned Nokia with traditional keypad got my vote.
 
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