Palm Pre and the lust that makes a faithful man stray…?



Look, I love my iPhone. I was one of the original nutballs who sat outside my local AT&T store on June 29, 2007 for 5 hours to make sure I got one, and then repeated that the following July with a 6-hour wait outside an Apple Store for the iPhone 3G. And I’m a faithful kind of guy, both in life and in gadgets.

But sometimes, something comes along that makes you lust for it just a little too much. And thankfully, when it comes to gadgets, it’s perfectly legal to have two wives. But does it make any sense?

I managed to fight off my urge to get a Blackberry Bold, or a T-Mobile G1, both of which felt cheap to me when I finally went to the store to hold them in my chubby hand. The Samsung Instinct that Sprint offered last year was enticing too, but ultimately all of the horror stories about the crappy web browser kept me safely at bay after being spoiled with Mobile Safari on the iPhone. And heck, I even got to play with a Blackberry Storm, which it just so happened that our midwife had and was gracious enough to let me fondle it for a bit as we waited impatiently for the birth of my son back on January 29.

And then there’s the Palm Pre that I’ve been keeping tabs on, which Sprint officially announced today as launching on June 6 for $199.99 (after mail-in rebate). From all that I’ve read and seen, the Pre looks to maybe be the first real contender to the iPhone’s throne, and God knows that both Palm and Sprint need a hit badly after bleeding cash the last couple of years.

And here I am again, trying to alternately convince myself that I want/don’t want this new phone. (At least I’m rational enough to know it’s a “want” and not a “need”…) The thing is, I spend very little time on the iPhone, at least as far as using it as a phone goes (using it for data services, on the other hand, consumes a good deal of my day). Most of my communication with folks these days is via e-mail or the occasional IM chat, and that’s how I like it. So what do I need to plunk down another hard-earned $200 plus a minimum of $70 per month for the required voice & data plan, anyway… especially in this crappy economy?

I don’t, a fact that I freely acknowledged to my wife this morning when I gave her the news of the Pre’s launch date. She’s used to this by now, having tagged along with me to check out the other aforementioned harlots… er, phones… that I had wanderlust for in the last year. But the Pre has a stronger pull for some reason, an almost tractor beam-like draw that I can’t quite put my finger on.

Maybe it’s the distant memories of my old Kyocera (remember them?) 6035 phone I had around 2001-2002, one of those beastly monstrosities that attempted to merge Palm OS with a phone, with Frankensteinic results. That was a true love/hate affair with a buggy, early glimpse at what the future might hold. I never bothered with another Palm handheld or phone after that, although some of my friends had them and let’s just say, I didn’t feel like I was missing much.

And then there’s Sprint. I’ve had phones on Verizon (first a cheap, thick flip phone picked up at Costco circa 1998, then the aforementioned Kyrocera), T-Mobile (a Sony Ericsson T610, which is still one of my favorites as far as basic cell phones go) and AT&T (first switched to them for the lousy Motorola ROKR, then “upgraded” to the slimmer SLVR before finding the joy that is iPhone). But I’ve never used Sprint, even though a lot of my colleagues have in the past. (And many of them have had nothing but horror stories.)

My wife says I can get a Palm Pre if I give up my iPhone 3G, which of course ain’t gonna happen… aside from the fact that I’m a bit less than a year into a 2-year contract and would have to eat a $175 early termination fee, a new iPhone is rumored to be right around the corner, presumably with a better camera and maybe even video recording features to rival the little Flip MinoHD camcorder that I’ve been using this year to document my kid’s first few months on planet Earth. New iPhone or not, Apple is bringing out a new iPhone 3.0 OS update sometime in the next 90 days or so, which looks to finally plug the last few remaining holes in an otherwise life-changing gadget.

So would I really entertain carrying around two phones? I complain enough each month when the AT&T Wireless bill comes (whining that lasts only until the next time that I pull the iPhone 3G out of my pocket), so having two bills… well, it’s just too horrifying to think about. I also have too much going on in my pockets as it is, what with the iPhone, sunglasses, ChapStickâ„¢, tissues, keys, wallet and the alarm remote for my truck, and I’ve made a habit of taking the Flip along to capture any moments, too. The last thing I need is anything else to carry!

Of course, Sprint, like most carriers, has a generous 30-day return policy, so I do have an option of buying the Pre and getting a month of use out of it before I commit to taking a second wife… er, phone. But I’d feel a little bit guilty about doing that… just a little. I did sign up for a recent contest that Sprint had to win a free Palm Pre with a year of service (and signed the wife up for the same contest, just as a backup)… but I don’t have much luck with contests, so I don’t expect that to go my way, either.

The irony of this Pre lust is, within a week of buying it, I’d probably be bored with it anyway. There’s a certain sick pleasure in acquiring a new gadget, cracking open the box and peeling the plastic off of it, charging it up and exploring all the cool new stuff you think you can do with it, where your life before it was simply dull and boring. Call me spoiled (and I am), but more often than not, a new gadget disappoints rather than enriching my life. Thankfully this has been the case the least with the iPhone, thanks to continuous updates on Apple’s part to add new functionality, and an App Store which offers nearly-unlimited expandability (which is sure to increase even more with the new 3.0 update).

I tell you, I need to get a part-time job with some of the carriers, just so I have the option of playing around with these things. Either that or find some investors to start a new tech blog (like the world needs more of those!), so I can get review comps.

At any rate, see you at the Sprint store on June 6… or not. 😉



This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 19th, 2009 at 5:54 pm and is filed under Gadgets, Random Thoughts, Seen & Heard, Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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