Daily Archives: November 30, 2011

Ending My Relationship With a Smartphone

Where to start? Where to start?

The end, maybe?  I’ve finally given up on the Betamax™ of smartphones. For those not paying attention, that would be the Palm and HP Pre phones running webOS (Sprint’s Pre “minus,” Verizon’s Pre 2, and the scarcer-than-hen’s-teeth Pre 3, which I don’t think was released by any U.S. carrier).

In this old post, I wrote about my introduction to the Palm Pre. It was a good ride – very good, in fact – while it lasted.  Unfortunately it didn’t last. After I dropped my Pre “minus” on a hard floor and totally hosed the display, I needed a new smartphone. And I wanted to keep my contract with Sprint; so that meant a replacement Pre “minus” to run on the Sprint network.  I bought one online; but it had a problem with the volume control. Some system sounds worked; but I couldn’t control the sound level.  I sent it in for repair (and no, even though I had just purchased it, it wasn’t considered new so I paid dearly to have it fixed).

Above I compared the Pre Phones (and webOS) to Betamax™ for at least one reason: it is probably the best smartphone operating system; but it never got the market share to make it viable.  Blame a lackluster product-launch advertising campaign (remember this lady?) for part of the low market share; but the timing of the sale of Palm (and webOS) to HP meant that there was a long interval between hardware and software releases.

And, just as video content providers did in the “tape wars,” application developers go where the money paying customers are.  And, in something of a vicious circle, the customers go where the apps are.  And they (the apps) weren’t with the webOS devices.

All these factors didn’t do much to lure potential webOS users; they got tired of waiting and went elsewhere. It didn’t do much to bolster the confidence of current users (like me), either.  Many of us early adopters had Sprint contracts that were coming to an end and had nowhere viable to go. This blog states it well.

And we won’t even mention the fact that at the same time I was looking to “hang on” with my original webOS device, HP up and pulled the rug out from under all of us webOS users with this announcement.

So, after my Pre bit the dust (literally?), I needed to find a replacement phone, and it probably wasn’t going to be an iPhone.  Only two ways to go then: Windows phone or Android. The Windows phone was distinctly underwhelming. The HTC EVO 3D was the way I went.  I had a 14-day trial, and in the end I decided to stay with the EVO.

My trusty Pre and all its accessories are now packed up, tucked away, waiting for the time when I’ll need to activate it if the EVO craps out. But it’s an old Pre (almost 2 ½ years old, which is ancient by smartphone standards).  I could try to sell it (and the Touchstone I have, plus 4 batteries, 2 wall chargers and a car charger); but the going rate for a Pre on eBay is abut $25. I exaggerate; but it’s probably not worth the time and trouble to sell it.

In any case, I do have another webOS device (an HP TouchPad), so I can keep my webOS chops tuned up while I’m “slumming” on Android.

And no, iOS and Android do not do multitasking as well as webOS.  And I truly miss swiping to close apps.  And flipping between open & running apps.

And I miss that Touchstone.