Palm Pre (updated)

October 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

Given the devices’ UK launch today I’ve republished and updated this JtBP review for your perusal…

For once the hottest smartphone on the planet isn’t made by Apple. Even more incredibly it’s made by Palm, the comeback kid so far of 2009.  On TrustedReviews I have already guided you through the wonderful plus points of this handset but could there be any good reasons not to be buy it?

Read the Rules if you aren’t familiar with my already seemingly cult and contentious reviews’ system. In short, with JtBP I save the gushing praise for every other review you’ll read and bring you the bullet points on any potential deal breakers with something before you commit to the long winded waffle on your favourite sites/publications. It’s a time saver.

After I managed to grab more than an hour with this stunner here’s the JtBP review:

Palm Pre in the wild

Palm Pre in the wild

Just the Bad Points Review: Palm Pre

  • It may be superbly innovative but at 138g the Palm Pre isn’t light
  • The 3MP camera has above average image processing, but it hardly competes with dedicated camera phones
  • The Palm Pre ‘App Catalog’ has made a slow start to life with very few apps and teething problems launching paid apps.
  • The Pre is not compatible with previous Palm third party apps
  • Lacking business support (office document compatibility, editing, etc) though Microsoft Exchange is there
  • Battery life is poor with heavy use requiring two charges per day
  • Build quality isn’t great with a cheap plastic finish and wobbling sliding mechanism
  • The keyboard is neat, but the keys too compact if you have large fingers.
  • No microSD/SDHC slot limiting you to 8GB of onboard memory. Why oh why?
  • Video recording functionality is not ready in time for launch

Wolfram Alpha

May 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

Wolfram Alpha, WolframAlpha, Wolfram|Alpha – however you want to say it – has the Internet very excited. It chooses to avoid the term ‘search engine’ in favour of “computational knowledge engine” and works very differently from Google by providing actual answers to questions rather than links to potential answers. Questions can be as simple as How tall in the Eiffel Tower? to real time mathematical calculation of satellite positions across the sky. If this sounds impressive, that’s because it is and while I’ve written an extensive and enthusiastic piece about Wolfram Alpha on TrustedReviews the fact is it isn’t perfect. So what are the bad points?

The preamble: My cult and contentious reviews’ system. Designed as a time saver to highlight the potential deal breakers in a product before you commit to reading lengthy reviews on your favourites sites and/or magazines. For a more detailed description please read: the Rules


Just the Bad Points Review: Wolfram Alpha

  • It takes time and practice to learn the correct terminology to get good results from Wolfram Alpha
  • Natural language interpretation is poor, more than 25% of queries trigger the response: “Wolfram|Alpha isn’t sure what to do with your input”
  • It potentially damages traffic to traditional websites which spend time answering queries in greater detail
  • Topics such as mathematics, science, medicine and currency help academics but real world public usefulness is much lower at present
  • Many answers have little context
  • Answers take longer to load than the results from traditional search engines
  • Answers can be very dry. A search for Shakespeare, for example, could do with more than just his date/place of birth and a rather cold ‘timeline’
  • We know little of the financial security behind the project other than “Infrastructure for this computation provided by Wolfram|Alpha launch partner Dell, Inc”
  • Google is working on something similar with its Google Squared search project and its huge resources may outgun Wolfram Alpha