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My top 5 wish list for the Palm Pre

CNET editor Bonnie Cha lists five things that could improve the Palm Pre and future Palm WebOS devices.

Corinne Schulze/CNET

For a first-generation device, the Palm Pre is quite impressive. Palm has developed a strong operating system in WebOS, beating the competition in certain areas and laying a solid foundation for future devices. However, as with any product, there's always room for improvement.

Earlier this week, I listed five of my favorite things about the Palm Pre and as promised at the end of that post, here are five things that I dislike about the smartphone or would like to see in future updates/devices. Fortunately, some of these issues, as well as others not mentioned here (voice dialing, video recording, Bluetooth tethering), can be resolved through over-the-air updates, but here's my Top 5 wish list based on the smartphone as it is now.

  1. Improved battery life: While the overall reviews (from both tech journalists and Pre owners) have been positive, there's been one universal complaint about the Pre and that's battery life. Palm has already identified a bug with the AIM client that is sucking more power than it should be and has promised a fix for it. There are also ways to optimize the battery life and the smartphone has a user-replaceable battery, so you can always carry an extra with you. However, it's not a completely unlikely scenario that I might be using the device heavily and have no access to an outlet or perhaps forgot an extra battery and inevitably end up with a dead Pre on my hands. Again, an issue that can be dealt with, but it's still a drag.
  2. Enhanced contact management: As I said in my post from Tuesday, overall, I really like the Synergy feature of the Pre and how it seamlessly imports all my contacts and calendar appointments from my various accounts. However, as I also pointed out, there needs to be a better way to filter or group contacts. This really became an issue when I synced my Facebook account, since I don't necessarily know every "friend" or keep in constant contact with them, so it'd be nice to assign them to have some sort of filter or easier way to manage them. Universal Search helps when you've got a specific contact, but if you're simply viewing your address book and have to sort through a long list, it can get pretty unwieldy.
  3. Better Universal Search: The Pre's universal search works well, but right now, it's limited to just contacts, applications, the Web, Google Maps, and Twitter. The Palm Pre holds a lot of information, especially with the Synergy function, and its incapability to search e-mails and calendar entries is a bit of a head-scratcher for me.
  4. Soft keyboard: As I've said many times before, a physical keyboard is a must for me (just a personal preference), but that doesn't mean I think a soft keyboard is completely useless. In fact, the Pre needs one. When viewing Web sites in landscape mode, there's no way to enter text into search fields without having to flip the smartphone back to portrait mode and using the physical keyboard. Does it take a huge amount of effort? No, but it's still inconvenient. We had similar issues with the T-Mobile G1, RIM BlackBerry Storm (lacked portrait keyboard), and Apple iPhone (lacked landscape), all of which eventually resolved the problem with updates, and hopefully Palm will do so sooner rather than later.
  5. More memory: This can't be fixed on the current Pre, but hopefully something Palm considers for its future WebOS smartphones. It might be that 8GB of memory is enough for some people, but I would still like the option of an expansion slot. If not that, then higher-capacity devices. I happen to think that the Pre has a pretty decent-sounding media player and a beautiful screen for viewing videos, so I'd like to load up the phone with a bunch of media without having to worry about the remaining storage. Plus, I like what I've seen so far in terms of applications, and as more become available, I imagine I'll download more. Not that apps take up a lot of memory, but still.

Those are my big-ticket items. Now, once again, it's your turn. I've already received a number of e-mails with wish list items and other issues, such as limited Microsoft Exchange support (specifically PIN service and remote wipe), soft ringtones, limited copy/paste, and not being able to forward text messages, but if you've got the same concerns or new ones, share them below.