The handheld computer is fast approaching and in many respects is already here. The first iteration was the venerable Palm Pilot; primarily an organizer of contacts and calendars with some boutique apps thrown in with the ability to synchronize data with the old desktop computer. Then came the Handspring corporate offshoot which spawned the Treo; the father of all smartphones. The parallel developement of the Pocket PC eventually led to the Windows-based phone. Palm bought Handspring out and started really working the Treo, eventually producing a version running Windows Mobile and one running PalmOS. There have been others both by manufacturer and Operating System. IPhone comes to mind and is significant for being the first phone with a decent screen.
Throughout the last few years of developement of smartphones the Linux crowd has been chomping at the bit to get a toehold into cellphone Operating Systems. There should be a ripe market for a finished Linux OS given the clunky and resource hoggish OS Windows Mobile and Apple offer.
Just like turning back the clock Palm flips the Pre' out into the marketplace with a Linux based OS (officially WebOS), cloud based resource computing, automatically fully integrated, merged, and synchronized contacts and calendars, a gorgeous capacitive touchscreen at HVGA resolution, a fully capable browser (that's what I said - read it again) and a slick highly intuitive user interface.
Can you tell I'm diggin' it?
I have been using, and I mean using hard, Organizers, PDA's, Pocket PC's, mobile phones, and portable computers of one stripe or another for decades and have been wistfully awaiting the successful integration of all of the above for sometime now. The Pre' has integrated the usefulness of the above listed devices with special attention paid toward the most common and commonly useful functions.
How's That? By running the Web.
Similar in concept to the Vista system whereby the internet browser is the primary interface with the machine, WebOS works along the same lines in hyperdrive with the device itself being the primary interface to web and personal data (as in information - not bytes) but with the addition of a comprehensive merging faculty. It works and it works in the best way - invisibly and unobtrusively; it's almost creepy; like I'm carrying around a thing that knows way too much about me for comfort and automates 80% of the functionality of competing Windows based system.
It never asks, "Do you want me to merge these contacts?" or "Shall I apply this information to that contact?", but it slides it in there and the next time I access it the option for the new avenue of communication presents itself. I go around thinking I am slacking and should be organizing contacts, bookmarks, etc., as I go though the day using the Pre'.
The wifi functionality is singularly impressive and works to conserve battery power when using data intensive apps. Again, it just hums along in the background seamlessly without my input or command.
The camera rocks and recycles very quickly. Took pics of fireworks fer pitysake!
It multitasks well with the proper priorities evident.
Notifications are quick and concise, appearing at the bottom of the screen and are easily dealt with or dismissed by a gesture and without sorting through menus. The middle photo illustrates how the Pre offers a choice between running applications or functions with an interface reminiscent of Ubuntu running with all the optional effects wide open.
The screen rocks. Did I say that already? The screen rocks.
The browser works. Said that, too. Browser Works.
You ever picked up a tool or device and thought, "Well, This here's how these damned things should have been made all along! What's everybody else been thinkin?" and it just seems obvious now that it's been done? That's the Pre'.
PS - Spare me the iPhone comments until that ladies' fashion accessory can Copy, Paste, and do that nifty Multitasking trick.
Anyhow, it's important to maintain your perspective and keep in mind that using Apple products doesn't make you a better person. That's what Linux is for. - Vox Day