Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Why I'm still Loving my Palm Pre

While you iPhone lovers gasp and grab the nearest cold drink to calm your nerves, let me explain. As I've said before, I'm the iPhone target market and could easily and gladly be an iPhone user. However, I live and practice in the city that is the world headquarters of Sprint and I have many Sprint employees as patients. They show loyalty to me... I show loyalty to them. Before I get more of those "hater" e-mails from Apple fans, this is not a bash of the iPhone. It's instead praise on a company that is doing somethings very well.

Loyalty aside, Palm has really hit on something with the Pre. Today I'm going to give a quick overview on one feature that I'm grateful for and that many people considering the device may not know about.

If you've been a Palm user in the past, you may very well be considering the Pre as your next phone. In the early days of the "Palm Pilot", Palm may not have invented the idea of synching your data, but they sure as heck perfected it in the late 90's and early 2000's. As you remember, just plug your device into a USB port on the computer, press the button, and presto all of your data is moved back and forth between computer and device. This made sure that everything was the same on both and made keeping track of your life about as simple as possible. Of course, if you were on the road and forgot the cable... well that could make things difficult i.e. impossible to synch.

Now let's discuss the Pre's answer to this. It occurred to me the other day that I now have no need to synch. "Why" you ask? It's simple. The Web OS that Palm developed and put in the Pre uses the "cloud" of the Internet to synch. Let me explain. As a Mac user, I happen to use the Mac default calendar called iCal. However, I also use Google calendar to have access to my data from any computer. I bought and use a program called "Spanning Synch" that keeps my data on my Mac and Google synched. Anytime a change is made, Spanning Synch makes sure it is on both calendars.

When I bought the Pre I simply configured the calendar to use Google Calendar as the default on the new device. Once I had entered my username and password the Pre went to the Net (seamlessly and in the background) and downloaded all that info to my device. A few minutes after setting it up, all of my calendar info was magically on my device. Same with my contacts. Spanning Synch also synchs all of my contacts from my Mac Address Book to my Google contacts. Once the calendar info was there, I set Google as my default contacts profile. Poof! My contacts appeared on my phone.

When I add or change calendar or contacts on my Pre, within a few seconds those changes are wireless sent to Google and the next time my Mac has a Net connection, those changes are synched to it as well.

The magic for me is that all of this is done automatically and transparently in the background. I never synch because I don't' have to.

Congrats to Palm. I thought you were down and out, but I'm happy to admit I was wrong.

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