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The Personal Assistant I’ve Been Waiting For

by Tara Kuczykowski on February 23, 2010 · 16 comments

Palm Pre Plus CameraThe following post is from the Deal Seeking Mom Project Administrator, Mandi Ehman:

Like most other moms, I have a lot of obligations to juggle each and every day. While mine include full-time consulting, homeschooling and caring for our four little girls, yours might include play dates, team sports, volunteering or any number of other activities.

When Verizon offered me the opportunity to try the new Palm Pre Plus, which they're marketing specifically for busy moms, I was excited to see how I could use it to help simplify my life. I'm fairly organized as it is (you would hope so since I blog at Organizing Your Way, huh?), but most of my brain lives on the internet -- from my Google calendar and my Gmail contacts to my best friends, who I communicate with daily through Facebook and Skype.

And yet, I don't want to lug my laptop around with me, which often leaves me feeling disconnected from my brain when it comes time to schedule a doctor's appointment, play date or field trip since I don't have my calendar, to-do list or contacts with me. I can't even tell you how many times in the past I've overbooked our family and had to call to reschedule an appointment because I've realized we have a conflict.

The thing I love most about the Palm Pre Plus is that I can instantly scroll through any of my calendars -- work, blogging, personal or homeschool -- to see what I have on my plate, which helps me find that elusive work-life balance.

Although I work hard not to be constantly checking my email or Facebook page while I'm out with my family, I'm able to enjoy my time with them more knowing that I'll see any urgent issues on the notification panel. This allows me to put out any fires from my phone rather than wondering what may be going on behind the scenes while I'm away from my computer during the work week.

Deal Seeking Mom on the Palm Pre Plus

And because Tara has taught me well, I'm able to quickly search for a deal she's mentioned here at Deal Seeking Mom to make sure I'm getting the best prices when I'm out shopping.

With a GPS navigation system that offers maps and directions and links directly to your address book and a camera that takes crisp, clear pictures when you're on the go and don't have your regular camera, the Palm Pre Plus really is a busy mom's tool box!

What feature is most important to you in a smart phone?

Verizon provided me with a Palm Pre Plus at no charge so that I could review its features for the Deal Seeking Mom readers.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amanda S February 23, 2010 at 11:20 am

I like the smartphones (I have a palm centro) but do not like that Verizon double charges you for picture messages. You get charged the message use in your text plan, but they also charge you data usage for sending the picture. I don't think this is ethically right, and as much as I love having the convenience of my smartphone, I could access all of those features from the previous non-smartphone I had and not get charged the double price.

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2 Tara February 23, 2010 at 11:22 am

Sounds like a great solution! I've shied away from the smartphones, but am now finding it harder and harder to keep track of everything in too many different places... After reading this, I'm going to look into it. Re: Amanda S' post above - thanks Amanda, I'll keep that in mind when I'm doing my research!

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3 Marsha February 23, 2010 at 11:57 am

Hmm... The xtra cost for picture messaging is a concern. I was trying to convince myself about not getting and iphone and getting a Plampre as well because I really like that is can serve to send a wifi signal to other devices when you are on the go. I have really bad luck in the past with Verizon and their billing practices. That outweighs the convenience of their nifty phone in my book. But I am still jealous of it because my blackberry broke two weeks ago. Once you experience the convenience of a smartphone, it is really hard to go back.

Marsha

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4 Toni February 23, 2010 at 11:59 am

4 kids, full time job, husband and tons of sports stuff. I love, love, love my Blackberry. don't know what I would do without it. I have my work calendar and my personal one synced together with Google and it dumps into my BB. Personal and work email goes theres too with all my contacts both for work and home. Facebook and Twitter also have their respective spots and the Kindle download from Amazon of course. I'm with Verizon and have the premium family share plan so I have unlimited pix and text messages and my DH has a BB too, so we use BB Messenger anyway. I used to wonder how I would ever learn to fully use it and now I wonder how I ever lived without it.

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5 Danelle February 23, 2010 at 11:59 am

I have to say Im the exact same way with my Blackberry!! I can get to my google calendar right from the home screen on my phone. I haven't tried the Palm Pre (and wouldn't give up my Blackberry for it) but I know a few poeple looking to get different phones so Im going to forward this blog to all of them. Thanks!!

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6 Jessica-MomForHim February 23, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Mandi-
I am also a homeschooling mom of 4 girls (will be 5 girls in May!)

I don't have a smartphone, and I don't know if it would really help my life. If I need to schedule an appt, I call back to do it if I don't remember my calendar. Only having the computer in the office means it limits my computer time--it would be even MORE of a temptation if I had it on-hand all the time.

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7 Kim February 23, 2010 at 12:20 pm

I love my Palm Pre! I have service through Sprint, so I don't get hit with the double charges when sending pictures. I don't know what type of plan Verizon requires with the Palm Pre, but Sprint requires a that you have a data plan. It is worth it since I use the web browser and email functions so much. Included with their data plan is unlimited calling to all mobile numbers, regardless of carrier. You basically only use your minutes when calling land lines. I love having all of my calendars in one place, plus the phone integrates all of my yahoo contacts into the contacts stored on my phone contacts. It is quite nifty.

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8 Rebecca February 23, 2010 at 12:25 pm

My husband and I have both got Palm Pre phones over the summer with Sprint. We LOVE them! For me, as a mom of 2, homeschooling both of them, taking care of household stuff, being active with different groups, and working part time, I simply can't stay near the computer all the time. My phone allows me to stay connected as I'm running around and everything's in one spot. I don't know about Verizon, but we enjoy the Sprint unlimited family plan. The only thing we need to watch is our minutes to land lines, which we barely touch. I use my Palm Pre to watch your blog and am using it to write this message. Can't say enough about this smart phone and the few versions of it out there.

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9 Susan February 23, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Hehe! I love how the disclaimer about the free phone provided was SO SO tiny. Reminds me of the commercials where they type that stuff so tiny you can read it and if you pause it it gets all blurry! haha! I need a new phone myself!

FYI...I am not being mean at all it just made me laugh which is always a good thing!

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10 Amanda S February 23, 2010 at 1:21 pm

With verizon, yes, the data charge would be included in whatever package you have, but you are still charged the message fee (which may or may not be included in your messaging plan.) Since they get you both ways and it is $10 per line for the texting and $30-40 for data package, it seems ludricrous to charge for both since that is where they make their profit anyway. I do love the convenience of my phone, but the double charge is enough to make me stay away from another one.

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11 Audry February 23, 2010 at 3:47 pm

It is $5.00 for texting/picture messaging through Verizon and they don't charge you both, unless you are sending that picture to an email.

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12 Brooke February 23, 2010 at 3:55 pm

My favorite feature of my iPhone is the Facebook app. I like keeping up with all my friends/blogs on-the-go.

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13 Rebecca February 23, 2010 at 7:10 pm

As for the deal aspect, there's no question that these phones are pricey and the plans are more expensive than you might need with simpler phones. But if this is something that really interests you, look into the deals that are out there. Again, we are with Sprint and have enjoyed their services for over 6 years now. We both had upgrade money available to us because we hadn't upgraded our phones in the last 4 years and we took advantage of the mail in rebate deal they had at the time. I also work 6 hours a week for a major clothing retailer. It provides me some extra income, hefty discounts on our clothing, AND an 18% discount off of our cell phone bills (anything we charge to it, including our phones and accessories)...just for being a part time employee! Both of our employers offer discounts for various services that aren't necessarily advertised within the companies that well. Could this be the case for some of you as well???

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14 beth March 4, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Wanted to clarify about verizons picture messaging charges - WHen you have a smart phone, you have to a smart phone package which ranges from 29.99 -45.99 per month, per line. You can block all access, but they still charge you as you cant remove the cost. This package includes all downloads and mb usage so your not actually getting charged for the mb. If you are texting within the "in" network, its free. If not, almost all of the minute packages have unlimited text, pic or video messaging included. if not, its (if i remember correctly) about $10 for the family...

Honestly, I've enjoyed verizon over every other company I've had. I have service where I need it, I dont need to get on the net on my phone when I'm on it (which verizon will more than likely change this soon. the iphone contract with att is up this year and verizons fighting to get it.) And the customer service is amazing. not to mention that they offer SOOO many discounts because of your job or whatever.. We milk the govt employee discount and it saves us atleast 30 a month and we get discounts on our phones and accessories.

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15 MemeGRL March 5, 2010 at 11:54 am

I love my Palm Centro but I do not have a data plan--it's just out of our budget. But I have been devoted to Palm for years and while I love my Mac (and my iPod Touch) I don't understand why Apple hasn't created programs that are closer to what Palm perfected several years ago with the task and notepad. The Pre looks great and if they have really solved the interface issues with Outlook, even better. But I am not spending hundreds more per year for internet access.

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16 Marilyn March 6, 2010 at 2:01 pm

I have an i-phone and love it. I have apps for my shopping list, menu planning, etc. (beside the obvious calendars, itunes, ...)

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