Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Manolo Blahniks And The Palm Pre

As a guy who must not have been paying close enough attention to the footwear of the females in my life, I had never heard of the "Manolo Blahnik" brand of high heeled (and high priced) shoe until I saw Carrie coo over them in the HBO series "Sex and the City." As the fictional footwear aficionado and love lorn columnist Carrie Bradshaw, actress Sarah Jessica Parker would reach near orgasmic levels of delight when she was able to feed her near obsession level passion for acquiring yet another pair of shoes. That is exactly how I behave when it comes to gadgets. I am the Carrie Bradshaw of the cool device, and since it was announced with gusto at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show I have lusted after the Palm Pre smartphone with the same blind, temperature rising, pulse pumping emotion that compels Carrie (and women like her) to turn around and rush into the store with MasterCard drawn and ready when they see the latest style of sleek Stilettos in the window display. She HAS to have those shoes. It doesn't matter that her closet is overflowing with perfectly fine heels. I HAD to have the Pre. It did not matter that I had a perfectly fine high-end phone, an HTC Touch Pro that was less than a year old. Logic and practicality need not apply when it comes to a woman's shoes or a geek's new gadget!


When D-Day (or should I say "Pre Day") arrived I awoke in a cold sweat. In a few hours stores would open with limited supplies of the near deified device, the highly anticipated new darling of die-hard Palm fans and those who want to finally see a smartphone with the smarts to take a healthy bite out of the Apple iPhone pie! Over breakfast I debated with myself. I REALLY wanted the Pre. I REALLY don't need a new phone. I REALLY didn't know what to do. I felt a tinge of nervous anxiety mixed with excitement and anticipation. What's a geek to do? Then it happened. I received a sign from above (the Geek Gods I presume). A perfectly and presciently timed email arrived from Sprint telling me that the Pre was available and that I was qualified for an upgrade (meaning I could extend my contract and get the Pre for $199 - less than a pair of Manolo Blahniks!) Decision made!


Pulse now racing I jumped in the car trying to decide if my odds of successfully beating any lines and buying the Pre would be better at a Best Buy or a Sprint Store. It was 8:45 am. Then I remembered reading that Radio Shack would also be carrying the Pre at launch. There is a Radio Shack less than a mile from my home, far closer than the nearest Sprint or Best Buy store. I sprinted over to the Shack... I was first to arrive and they were not yet open. I pulled on the locked door, failing to get the attention of the lone clerk inside, prepping the register for the day ahead. Should I stay or should I go now? What if they didn't have it and I was wasting valuable time I could be spending to get my place in line at the Sprint or Best Buy store? I was encouraged by the HUGE Palm Pre sign in the window and display in the store, so I took my chances and waited... When the store opened I was first in the door. They had a working demo unit and ONLY 2 Pre phones in stock. If there was any shred of doubt in my mind, it was flicked away the moment I held and played with the demo unit. Like a new pair of Blahniks on Carrie, or Dorothy's Red Slippers in Oz, the Palm Pre in my hand was a perfect fit - pure ergonomic ecstacy! I bought the first of the two units they had, and haven't looked back since.


That was Saturday. Sunday I left for the iMedia Brand Summit in Colorado Springs where I was the only person with a Pre. It turned out to be a great icebreaker and as word spread through the conference that "the guy from Myxer has a Pre" people were literally tracking me down to have a look see. I ended up giving almost as many Pre demos as Myxer pitches, and proudly showed off our current campaign for the 2010 Ford Mustang on the Pre's gorgeous screen. It has only been a few days, but the Pre has already far exceeded my expectations as a mobile device and is without question the best phone, best PDA, and best portable Internet device I have ever owned (and I have owned A LOT of devices!) There are so many small, yet spectacular details that are just right, that just make you smile and say "yes, of course that's how it should be." The Pre has successfully re-thought and re-presented the way handheld hardware and software can and should seamlessly interact. I can't help but be reminded of feeling a similar thrill when I used my first Palm Pilot. Despite their very visible challenges in recent years, it should come as no surprise that this fantastic, fun, functional phone would come from a company that has always had "handheld" in their DNA and a singular focus on devices meant to live in your PALM. For me, getting the Pre was a "shoe"-in!

(This post was written on my Palm Pre!)

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