An Open Letter to Palm

Dear Palm,

I like your phones. I like the Pixi's form factor, I like the screen, I even like the keyboard. And the touchstone is the coolest charger ever.

I also like your OS. WebOS has a lot of nice design touches and the UI is well thought out and polished. Developing for WebOS is also very nice and easy, and I love how open everything is: I can browse the source for all of the apps. That's neat.

It's these things that let me work with the slowness and the memory leaks and hope that WebOS 2.0 will bring fixes for these things. These are things I can believe in. I can even deal with AT&T's complete failure to provision WebOS updates in a timely fashion.

However, today, my phone decided to hard reset itself in my pocket for the 3rd time in the 3 months I've had it. To make things even better, the 2nd spontaneous reset was yesterday. This is an issue that I can't excuse. Randomly deleting everything on my phone just isn't nice. The only reason this is even remotely bearable is because of your backup service. However, the lack of the ability to back up system preferences, pictures, music, and web pages added to the launcher makes the backup service not quite good enough.

After the first occurrence, tech support claimed that the hard reset is something that could happen in your pocket because it involves holding down two keys on the keyboard and the power button at the same time. While that's possible, when I attempted a hard reset myself after the first occurrence, it didn't have the same behavior as the spontaneous reset: the spontaneous reset makes the phone unusable for like 10 minutes at a black screen with a circle in the center. At the bottom of the screen is text saying not to remove the battery. The grey circle in the center has a while progress bar that goes around it and the phone reboots when it completes the progress bar. When I did a manual hard reset, it immediately rebooted and was reset.

I guess I need to call support again, however, I don't know how far I'll get or if I even trust the Pixi not to do this in the future. I'd really like to trust that my phone won't randomly delete my data, but I don't know how to regain that trust.

So Palm, we'll see what you do about this. As an HP employee (and Palm fan) I do have a bit of a vested interest in seeing you succeed, but this episode isn't making me feel positive about those prospects.

Your rather disappointed customer,


5 responses
Ben, it is not just you. It's the Pixi. I thought it was just me with the memory leaks, the slowing up, the battery needing recharging every few hours..Thanks for bringing the Touchstone up though because I didn't know it existed. I have hard reset mine maybe 3-4 times when it just froze useless.
I am sure because all the memory was eked out of it. The WebOS is cool, but I find "windows" flying all over the place alot up and down, right to left..I probably liked Classic a little more because of that one reason.
I am sorry..just realized your name is Bem
Yeah, the Pixi does have it's share of bugs, and the battery life is pretty bad, but I knew that before I got one. You've actually had to hard reset yours? Mine has froze up on me a few times too, but it usually reboots itself in those situations. And I think I did have it not do that properly once, but removing that battery and replacing it worked quite well.

Speaking of touchstones, if you're thinking of getting one, you should keep an eye on slickdeals: I got mine for $10 from a Verizon deal (and I'm not even on Verizon... :-)

One thing you can be happy about with the Pixi is that the battery life is better than on the Pre: the Pre uses the exact same battery as the Pixi, amazingly enough.

Also, my wife's iPhone has it's share of lockups as well, so some of this is just about having a modern smart phone. (sadly...)

I also figured out why my phone wiped itself, if you're interested:
The battery life is absolutely pitiful. On an average, maybe 3 hours. I have to get me one of those car charger things that accepts the USB wire. It frustrates the hell out of me, but the only thing I could think of is because it is constantly checking email, Facebook updates. My office it roams from time to time so it searches for service..uggghh. Yes, I had to remove the battery from it several times because it froze up totally. The worst thing besides battery life is the memory issue. The windows start moving slowly, one's I have not clicked on pop up. Definitely not thrilled with it, but I just got it so I have it for a Have a good day, read your link..I am sure all these "smart phones" are having these issues.
Only 3 hours of battery life?! That's much worse than I've ever seen. You must use your phone much more than me. I tend to get more like 6 hours, and I can get more like 8 - 10 if I'm on wifi instead of 3g all day.

My friend bought 2 extra batteries for his Pre and a external battery charger so he can swap batteries. He gave me the tip that the Pre and Pixi battery is the same as that in the Palm Centro, so he got cheap Centro batteries and a Centro battery charger. That might be worth looking into.