My initial selection of the Palm Pre Plus was swayed heavily by webOS and its sophisticated multitasking and notification capabilities. The more I use my Pre Plus, I am finding many other great features worth noting. First, the most basic feature - its functionality as a phone - and second, the small but growing Palm App Catalog.
The most fundamental and important smartphone feature for me is the ability to make and receive phone calls. I can’t believe I have to say that, but in talking to many of my friends and co-workers, call quality isn’t always - surprisingly - a top priority. As a telecommuter without a landline in my home, my cell phone is a crucial life line and I can’t be worried about issues with reception, dropped calls and clarity. So while I would be thrilled to have an app that makes dinner or picks up my dry cleaning, the near perfect reception and clarity of the Pre Plus on Verizon has kept me from wandering around in search of bars and has never caused me to sound like I am talking underwater or in a bathroom.
Reception and clarity, however, are only half the story when it comes to a smartphone’s ability to function as a phone. My smartphone also needs a workable phonebook/contacts feature since there are very few telephone numbers that I can actually recall from memory. Unfortunately for me, when I made the upgrade, the in-store rep informed me that my phonebook could not be transferred to my Pre Plus because my original cell phone was just that old. The thought of manually transferring all of the information was daunting. To my surprise, however, webOS was able to save me a lot of time and effort and did a far better and more comprehensive job of copying my contacts over than I could have. Within the few minutes that it took to set up my emails and Facebook logins, all of the information from those accounts was automatically synced and appeared in my Pre Plus’ contacts. webOS was smart enough to even discern duplicates among the accounts and link them together. Phone numbers, email addresses and Facebook profile pictures all in one convenient location - joy!
Now that my Pre Plus and I have had some quality time together, I’ve had a chance to play around with some of the apps. I wanted to go through all of the ones that have impressed me thus far - and maybe even find a grammar and editing app to discuss for those of you that read my last column (EDITOR'S NOTE: Ba-doom-chick!) - but I'll have to stick to just one this week.
The app that made the cut is PhakePhoney, since it literally saved my sanity this past weekend. After a full day of driving around with my toddler in tow, my husband and I were frantically passing my exhausted daughter every object we could find to keep her from completely unraveling in the car. With our resources of toys, snacks and even empty plastic soda bottles exhausted, the sobs intensified to a near hysterical level. In my frazzled state, I nervously handed over the one thing I had left; my beautiful, unblemished Pre Plus with PhakePhoney opened up. The app calls up a colorful, full-screen number pad that looks like a phone. As a number is pressed, the phone speaks and spells the number aloud. It also has a music button that plays one of ten available songs. Best of all, there's a lock feature that prevents a child from leaving the app and accidentally making a call, sending a text or doing anything else.
PhakePhoney bought my husband and I a few peaceful last minutes to get home safely with our sanity intact, and my daughter was thrilled to be playing with Mommy’s phone. I am also thankful to say that my Pre Plus survived the ordeal and I will immediately be ordering a heavy-duty case and screen protector in preparation for future meltdowns.