Unlike many rival devices, the Pre doesn’t have muiltiple desktops full of apps but instead has a seperate app launcher program. This isn’t a big deal but it does mean there’s generally an extra step to getting to your favourite applications. We presume this has been done to avoid confusion over whether you’re swiping between desktops or applications.
Another major feature in the Pre is its online information integration or Synergy as Palm calls it. This seamlessly marries contact, calendar, email and messaging information from Facebook, conventional and Exchange email accounts, IM, and SMS. So in one folder you can view all your messages no matter where they’re from and one calendar view will take into account all your personal and business appointments. Further to this, all messages exchanged with a contact are brought together in one conversation stream.
As for the core applications, well the web browser is as good as any other we’ve seen, rendering pages quickly and accurately and there’s support for the all important pinch zooming. Flash support is claimed but we found little flash content that actually worked.
The music player is a particular highlight including, as it does, support for my two favourite features. The first is a shuffle all button right there on the first page – I hate having to go to ‘play all’ then selecting a shuffle playback mode just to listen to some random tunes. The second is that the music pauses when you unplug your headphones. Both are really simple additions but along with a slick interface, full support for ID3 tags and album art, and the ease of dragging and dropping music onto the device, it makes for a really nice music player.
Googlemaps and youtube are both catered for with in-built apps and they work particularly well, with the former taking advantage of the inbuilt GPS. The Palm application store, called the App Catalog, also gives you easy access to thousands of useful apps and games.
Another neat feature is Universal Search. You simply open the phone and start typing and you’ll instantly see results for any contacts or apps that match your search. If, as you carry on typing, there are no more local matches the phone then offers to search Google, Googlemaps, Wikipedia, or Twitter.
However, there are a couple of issues with the Pre’s interface.