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Palm Pre Smoke While European Pre-owners are still waiting for their App Catalog to catch up to the US App Catalog and for paid apps to come along with it, they got a taste of the future recently and for some it left a bitter aftertaste. Thing is, the Photo Dialer app was recently updated and moved from being a free app to a paid one. While this didn’t pose a problem for US Pre owners (those who downloaded the app when it was free will continue to receive updates unless the developer releases a separate version like Pivotal Labs did with Tweed), the App Catalog on webOS 1.1.3 on the Euro Pre isn’t set up to deal with paid apps.

PreCentral Forum member Gizmo21 found this out the hard way. He had downloaded Photo Dialer when it was free and noticed that the paid version had somehow made its way into the Euro App Catalog with the price tag of €1.99 - and it was available as an update through the Updates app. As an intrepid Pre owner would do, he tapped on that Update button and tried to download, but the Pre balked at the request and threw up one of those yellow warning triangles to say it wasn’t working.

No surprises there, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t surprises to be had. After that error, the Updates app cracked and would no longer connect to Palm’s servers. Gizmo tried to get help from Palm, but there was no solution to be found even after several days of work. As you might expect, Palm recommended a partial erase (apps and settings) of the phone to start kind of fresh. Unfortunately for Gizmo, this exposed one of the weak links in Palm’s cloud system: the Backup app. While his apps and some settings were successfully downloaded, many Palm Profile items (including all but one of his 290 contacts) were missing. And since Palm doesn’t keep historical backups from Pre phones, they couldn’t go back and check older backups to see if the contacts were there somewhere.

This brings us to two points. One: If your phone gives you the option to do something you know it’s not supposed to do, think before hitting that button - bad stuff could happen. We aren’t going to say that bad stuff absolutely will happen, but exercising options you’re not supposed to have always runs a risk of things going awry. Two: Backups in one place are not good enough. As we’ve said before, the cloud is a good part of a multi-pronged backup solution. Lets take contacts as an example, there are three places you should be storing your contacts: on your Pre, in the cloud, and on your computer (with the added benefit of accessing them from all these avenues).

This way if one part of the system goes down you still have two backups at the ready. While we like Palm - we are PreCentral after all - we’ve heard enough horror stories about Palm Backup that we can’t advocate that your Palm Profile be the primary storage point of all your contacts and calendar events (right now we can’t do much about your tasks and memos). In addition to storing your contacts on your Pre, in the cloud, and on your computer, we advocate that you have an additional off-site back-up if you can manage, either a second cloud back-up of you contacts (or your computer itself) or a physical off-site backup at a family or friend’s home. What can we say, we like fail-safes.