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Using a $36 Palm Pixi+ on Page Plus Cellular For $2.50 per month



Here's a good deal for PagePlus users or anyone who would like a modern smartphone for under $50 that can be used on the Verizon network for as little as $2.50/month.

Verizon recently discontinued the Palm Pixi+ and either they or HP/Palm have dumped a large number (I heard as many as 5000) of brand new Palm Pixi+ phones on the secondary market. They are easy to find on eBay, Amazon and Internet for between $35 and $50 including shipping. Click to check the current price on Amazon.com.

What you get with the Pixi+ is a tiny QWERTY touch-screen smartphone with full-web browser, push email, a great built in Facebook client, MP3 player with standard 3.5 mm headphone jack, Bluetooth and WiFi.  PagePlus charges $79.99 for an older model refurbished QWERTY dumbphone and used Verizon smartphones typically run $100 or more on Ebay. So getting a brand new  smartphone for $63 is a great deal. For such a small phone the keyboard is remarkably good.  I can type much faster and more accurately on the Pixi+ than with the much larger keyboard on my Boost Mobile Motorola Rambler.

These are Verizon phones. Activating them on Verizon will cost you a $35/month activation fee and require you to pay a minimum of about $80 per/month (cheapest voice plan $39.99 + mandatory $29.99 data plan + about $10 in "taxes and fees").

Of course prepaid users have a better way. You can activate the Pixi+ on PagePlus, a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) that uses the Verizon network.

Activation on PagePlus is free if you call them to activate ($10 if you activate online).  Or you can activate though a PagePlus dealer and get a $2 call credit.  I use and recommend Kitty Wireless which charges $6.99 for online activations.  Kitty's activations are processed 24/7 and typically only take about five minutes.

  • PagePlus has three plans to choose from:
  • $29.95/month for 1200 minutes talk (overage $0.05/min), 3000 texts (overage $0.05/each) and 100 MB of data (overage $0.10/MB)
  • $44.95/month for unlimited talk and text and 20 MB of data (overage $0.15/MB
  • Standard Plan (pay as you go); the minimum payment is $10 every 120 days, $0.04-$0.10/ min voice, $0.05/per text, $0.99/MB data. There's a $0.50/month service charge on the Standard Plan only.
What's the catch? The cost of data! The Pixi+ smartphone features  (email, browser, Facebook, etc) use data and that could get expensive particularly on the Standard Plan.  To put $0.99/MB in perspective desktop websites average about half a MB per page.  Mobile sites are only about a 10th as large.

As an experiment I browsed mobile sites exclusively for about an hour on my Pixi+ and was charged $3.66. I'm on the Standard Plan.  The same amount of browsing at the Unlimited and 1200 plans who have been free using the included data or about $0.45 at the overage rate.

It's easy to turn cellular data on and off on the Pixi+ (instructions below). Whichever Pageplus plan you use I recommend turning cellular data off on the Pixi+ and using WiFi wherever possible.  You can turn data on as needed to pull up a Google Map in an emergency or to send or receive a picture message.

It's pretty easy to activate a Pixi+ on PagePlus. I activated mine on a new Pay As You Go account by doing the following.

  1. I had Kitty Wireless activate the phone on PagePlus. It cost me $4.99 to activate (the current price is $6.99) but I got $2 in free call credit. PagePlus will activate phones for free if you call them but you don't get any call credit and hold times can be long.  Plus you need about 50 cents on the phone to activate and the minimum refill PIN is $10 so using Kitty gets you up and running cheaper.
  2. To activate you will need the phone's MEID code (it's on the box) and the zip code you want you new number in.
  3. Wait until activation is complete. Mine took about five minutes and I got an email with my new number
  4. Turn on the Pixi+. Select English (or your desired language) when prompted.
  5. The phone will offer to activate on Verizon. Ignore that request.
  6. Click the option to make a call and then chose "Emergency Call"
  7. Delete the pre-populated "911" from the dialer screen, enter the PagePlus activation number of *22890 and tap the call icon. You will hear "Please wait while we activate your phone...". Don't hang up until it tells you that activation was successful.  (It takes about two minutes).
  8. Once the activation completes, repeat the process of selecting Call, then Emergency Call, and  deleting 911. But this time enter a regular 10 digit phone number. You will be prompted to choose your voice mail language and told your prepaid balance and then the called number will ring. You can hang up if you want. Don't skip this step.  You must make an outgoing call to complete your activation.
  9. Restart the phone and setup your Palm Profile (a valid email address is required).
  10. A brief tutorial will start.  Don't skip it, it only takes a couple of minutes and is the easiest way to learn the basis of using the Pixi+.


To disable data, click the  phone dialer (phone icon on the home screen), tap where it says Verizon Wireless at the top of the screen then select Preferences and and scroll down to and tap "Data Usage" to turn it off.

If you get stuck there are lots of resources on the web.  Some of my favorites are:
Kitty Wireless' Pixi Plus support page
The HowardForums PagePlus Forum
The Kitty Wireless Forum's Pixi Plus section

Palm's official  support page for new users
The forums at PreCentral.net (the leading independent Palm WebOS online site)

All the closeout Pixi+ phones I've seen are the Verizon CDMA model.  They will not work on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or any other operator except Verizon or Verizon MVNOs like PagePlus.  If you just want to use the phone on Wifi, it's possible to bypass activation Using some developer utilities and a PC. Details on on the Palm Developer site.

85 comments:

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  1. Thank you for taking the time to figure this all out and write this up. This is VERY helpful. Thanks!

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  2. I would like to share some information that I found. You can download the latest Pixi OS for Verizon builds here: http://www.webos-internals.org/wiki/Webos_Doctor_Versions#Pixi_Plus_4

    You must have Java 1.5 or higher installed on your computer.

    However, if you just enable WiFi on the phone you can down load the 24MB webOS 1.4.5 update straight to your phone.

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  3. Do you know if it is possible to use the Palm Pixi Plus as a WiFi only device? I don't care about activation or ever using any of the phone features. I would just like to use as a WiFi enabled device for email and playing mp3's.

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  4. I am a Palm PDA long time user with a tight budget, so would like to use the AT&T prepaid phone cards but have a phone that will sync with my calendar and contacts on Palm Desktop or MS Outlook. Is it possible to use the Palm Pixi Plus or any other unlocked Palm smartphone with an AT&T prepaid Go Phone SIM? Is it complicated to do?

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  5. You can use the phone on Wifi only. OTA activation over a cellular network is normally required. If you are in the Verizon service area it only costs $5 to activate on PagePlus. The account will expire after 120 days if you don't add more money but WiFi will still work when it does.

    It's possible to bypass activation Using developer utilities and a PC. Details on on the Palm Developer site.

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  6. Anonymous, You can use a GSM Pixi Plus or any other unlocked or locked to AT&T GSM Palm smartphone with a Go phone SIM.

    However all the bargain Pixi Pluses I've seen are the Verizon CDMA version and will never work on AT&T.

    Also the Pixi Plus is WebOS not Palm OS and doesn't work with Palm Desktop. It synchs over the air only.

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  7. thanks, Yeswap, for your responses. So, am I correct that if I can get an unlocked Palm smartphone (not identified for any specific carrier) I could use my Go Phone SIM in it and continue to use AT&T prepaid Go Phone service?

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  8. Any phone that supports the GSM radio technology and AT&T's 850/1900 frequency bands and is either unlocked or locked to AT&T will work with an AT&T Go phone SIM.

    Just to be clear, the $55 Pixi Plus I wrote about here is a CDMA (NOT GSM) model. That's a completely different technology which doesn't use SIM cards and will not work on AT&T.

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  9. Thanks again Yeswap. I do understand about the Pixi Plus. Appreciate your help.

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  10. why does this phone take so long to turn on once you power it off..? Is this normal?

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  11. is there an apps for the emotions faces to use in texting? I don't all the combinations... It would be nice to have an option/setting to click on them instead of typing the combinations.

    Also, do you have any pointers on how to make the battery life longer?

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  12. Jen, Yes the Pixi takes a long time to reboot. It's normal.

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  13. Anonymous, I'm new to WebOS and don't use emotions much so I don't know if there's anything like that. Search the WebOs AppStore you might find something

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  14. Yeswap, thanks so much for the clear, concise information you provided. You helped make the activation of my new Pixi Plus considerably less painful.

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  15. I love it,Thanks for the information. I was on verizon, and the bill was breaking the bank. Page Plus is a great value

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  16. Tremendous info! I am searching for prepaid and stumbled upon your article about Palm Pixi Plus and PagePlus wireless service, it all sounds good.
    My question is; can any Verizon phone be activated on Pageplus plans? If so, I have a Samsung i760, Samsung i770 and an Lg Ally all Verizon phones I picked up for wifi usage only, but if they can be activated, that would just be the best deal for me.
    Again great information, I appreciate your hard work

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  17. Any Verizon phone can be activated on Page Plus except those with bad ESNs and those sold as prepaid phones or last used on Verizon prepaid.

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  18. Thank you for the information about the Palm Pixi Plus and PagePlus,so would the Palm Pre Plus be as compatible with PagePlus? In your opinion which of the two would you recommend/prefer?

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  19. A Verizon Pre Plus would work and could be activated following the same instructions.

    The Pre Plus is the better phone (larger screen, faster CPU, potential for WebOS 2 upgradeability with some hacking). But I find the Pixi feels better balanced in the hand and I like its keyboard better than the Pre's. Also the Pre Plus is much more expensive ~$170 new on eBay vs $55 new on Amazon.

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  20. Thank you for your input Pre vs Pixi it helps make the decision easier

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  21. I just read the getting started page on Kittywireless.com It said the type of phones that can not be used but right after that it says "You CAN use just about any other type of CDMA device." Does that mean Sprint or US Cellular or other CDMA phones not just Verizon?
    Thank you for your help!

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  22. Non-Verizon CDMA phones can indeed be used on PagePlus.

    However extensive manual programming is required to get them to work for voice and SMS.

    Getting data and MMS is too work requires even more manual programming and may require that Verizon firmware be flashed onto the phone.

    This is a complex task that requires a lot of research and effort. There is a real risk of "bricking" the phone if you make a mistake. If you are still interested in trying, the Howard Forums Page Plus Handset and Technical Forum is a good place to start your research.

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  23. Thank you again for all your help. I will check with Howard Forums and see if the non Verizon phone is worth the risk and effort. Thanks again!

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  24. AWESOME INFO!! THANX 4 UR TIME.

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  25. Very well-written and informative. Got myself a pixi on pageplus and love it!

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  26. You helped be before and I have another question needing your help.
    I read in another post where you said an ATT Go Phone SIM would work in a phone that was locked to ATT, here's the question. I have a HP iPaq 6920 Cingular, it fits the band requiremnets does it qualify for the ATT Go Phone SIM card or is the phone to old? I really like this old phone it would be great to make it usable.
    I found ATT prepaid GO Phone SIM card on Amazon for a good price, if you say it will work I will go for the Go Phone.
    Thank you again for the information

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  27. The iPaq 6920 should work fine on AT&T Go Phone. I don't think you will even need to unlock it as Cingular was the predecessor to the current AT&T, though I could be wrong about the that.

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  28. Thank you Yeswap for the info I will go for it, it won't be much out of pocket to find out, just needed some trusted affirmation.

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  29. Another question about the ATT GoPhone SIM. I thought of purchasing an ATT A107 Go Phone/SIM included and try using it in my iPaq 6920. Will this work or should I get a new SIM only?
    But if the A107 GoPhone SIM will work should I activate it in the phone it comes with first then transfer it or can I activate it in the Ipaq?

    Thanks again for your help

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  30. You should get a SIM only. They are avaible at AT&T stores and on eBay. The GoPhone SIMs bundled with phones are locked to that phone for 6 months.

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  31. OK thanks for helping me get clear on the Go Phone SIM glad I waited for your answer

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  32. yeswap

    i just bought a pixi plus new vrz on Amazon.

    Will i have GPS service on pageplus

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  33. Yes you should the GPS works in Google Maps in my Pixi on PagePlus.

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  34. Greetings Yeswap,
    I'm still bawking at getting the ATT Go Phone SIM. This thought came to mind and I want your input. The HP iPaq 6920 is a wifi windows mobile phone locked to Cingular/ATT. If I activate this phone with an ATT SIM card will ATT be able to detect it being a smartphone and jump me into a data plan?
    Thanks for your help

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  35. AT&T doesn't force GoPhone users onto data plans.

    On the 10 cent/pay as you go plan you don't get any data unless you buy a data bundle.

    On the $50/month unlimited plan smartphones aren't supposed to have get any included data (you need to buy a data bundle if you want data). Currently most Windows Mobile devices aren't detected as smartphones and get data on the unlimited plan at no extra charge, although that could change at any time.

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  36. Thank you very much for your help.

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  37. I don't know where I heard or got the idea that PagePlus does not activate Blackberry cell phones is this the case?

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  38. That was true until recently but since January PagePlus has apparently, and with no announcement, started activating them again. More info at Kitty Forums: Blackberries back on Page Plus? 01/23/2011

    However I don't recomend using a BlackBerry on PagePlus. There is no BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) on Pageplus so BlackBerry Mail, BBM and some IM apps will not work. The browser and MMS (picture messaging) won't work either until you do some fairly involved manual setup that requires a PC. See: Tutorial: How to program BB Pearl Flip 8230 w/ full P+ services

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  39. Thank you again very much

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  40. What cell phone do you think is the best to use on Page Plus?

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  41. It really depends on your needs. For me the Pixi Plus gives the most bang for the buck of any currently available phones that can be activated on Page Plus. If cost were no object I'd take a high end QWERTY Android phone like the Droid 3 or HTC Merge.

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  42. Thank you for the advice. I have an LG Ally and a HTC Ozone activated. I want to like the Ozone but just can't get attached. I started with winmo but it is nothing to how the android has come along. The Ally is starting to get qwerky and I'm doubting the need for all that it or others like it offer. Although I'm a wirelessaholic, I got more phones than fingers.
    But, I will seriously checkout both of your suggestions. I just need to settle into one for sanity sake and sell the others. thanks again for your help!

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  43. I have a att prepaid cell phone sims card and i would like to use my prepaid att sims card with my Palm Pixi Plus that is a unlocked GSM phone. How would i do this process?

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  44. Put the active SIM in Pixi Plus. Voice and SMS should work. Data and MMS may work too but if the don't see: WebOS Internals Wiki: How to solve 3G data problems

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  45. I have a motorola DROID pro with verizon and I wanted to activate it with page plus service my phone has goggle one I activate it with page plus will I be able to connect to the. Internet

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  46. Yes, data works for Verizon Android phones on PagePlus.

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  47. I have new unlocked palm pixi plus without any carrier, can i activate it with page plus?? I just got my phone yesterday.

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  48. As far as I know all the CDMA Pixi Pluses were Verizon branded. It sounds like you have a GSM phone which will not work on Page Plus which uses CDMA.

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  49. yup my phone is GSM. Thank You.

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  50. Does anyone know if i can just activate it with verizon and get a 10 dollar unlimited messaging just like anyother prepaid phone/??

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  51. Sure, you can activate the Pixi Plus on Verizon Prepaid. It will cost you though. Because its a smartphone Verizon requires a $64.99 monthly plan which provides 450 minutes and unlimited text. Add another $30/month for the required unlimited data bundle and you are looking at $94.99/month!

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  52. But it wouldnt be prepaid, because verizon would require me to get a monthly plan, and prepaid phones dont require you to get monthly plans, on prepaid phones you just go to the store and buy a refill card and thats it, but i cant do that with the pixi right??

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  53. Because the Pixi is a smart phone Verizon only allows it on prepaid monthly plans not pay as you go. That's why I recommend PagePlus which does allow it on pay as you go and has generally better plans although nothing like Verizon's $10/mo messaging plan. Page Plus has two messaging plans:
    2,000 Text Messages for $10.95 per month
    Unlimited Text Messages for $19.95 per month

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  54. Oooh! ok, so if i activate my phone with verizon i would have to get a monthly plan which would be really expensive (if i wanted unlimited txt) and if i activate my pixi with page plus it would be way more cheaper right.... So with page plus i can stop using my phone whenever i want without any extra fees, and not have to worry about going over the limit and be charged extra money...??

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  55. Correct, PagePlus is a pure prepaid service. No commitment, if you use all the money you've added to your account it stops working until you add more.

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  56. Cool! i'm definitely going with pageplus, Thank you sooo much for the info!! it really help a lot!!

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  57. So, if i activate my pixi through kitty wireless, how would i add credit to my account?? would i just buy a prepaid card from pageplus and put it in?? or do i have to buy it from somewhere else?

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  58. There are many ways to pay. You can buy refill PINs from PagePlus, Kitty Wireless and many other online dealers.

    I've been buying all my PINs from CallingMart.com for years because they consistently have the best prices, especially if you use their discount codes which are posted here on Prepaid Phone News.

    Once you have the PIN number you can add it to your account by:
    Dialing #REP (#737) from your mobile phone and following the prompts
    Or, dialing 1-877-359-6695 from your landline phone
    Or, if you create an account on pagepluscellular.com you can add PINs online.

    You can also set up KittyWireless' auto pay service to automatically refill when you are running low using your credit or debit card. I don't recommend PagePlus' auto refill service as too many people have found it unreliable.

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  59. OK, so kitty wireless and page plus are basically the same?? so if i activate my phone using kitty wireless, to refill i would have to buy a pageplus pin??

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  60. PagePlus is a mobile operator, Kitty Wireless is a PagePlus dealer. Both sell top-up PINs as do lots of other places. My local Walgreens even has PagPlus refill PIN cards.

    You can top up using a PIN or an auto top up service.

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  61. So if i want to switch plans, is that gonna take a long process to do, or is it easy??.... If anyone knows please let me know, any info will be greatly appreciated

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  62. It's quick but their are some gotchas. How you do it depends on what plan your are switching from or to. See these two guides at KittyWireless for the ins and outs of everything PagePlus:
    How to Switch Plans
    How get started with PagePlus?

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  63. www.phonenews.com/straight-talk-announces-lg-optimus-q-17775/

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  64. Is the description I copied and pasted here for data only or will it work for calling other phones after adding minutes? "NEW AT&T ATT SIM Card 3G GoPhone Prepaid Phone"
    It wasn't much of a cost so if I got the wrong SIM I can buy another one, the right one. Would you describe what I need if this one is wrong?
    Thanks for your help

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  65. Provided you plan to use it in a GSM phone that sounds like the SIM you need. It should be good for voice, text and data. However, it won't work with the Verizon CDMA Pixi Plus that's the subject of this post.

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  66. Sorry for the interruption, yes it is to be used in a GSM phone that I spoke of in earlier posts.
    Thank you for your help.

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  67. So Yeswap, its been 3/4 months since your last post regarding the Pixi. After all the himen and hawin about android and plans, I still think about the small form factor, convenient keyboard, and neat little screen. What are your thoughts. Did it stand up to the test, is it still standing? Or what?

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  68. The Pixi Plus is a great deal for the price. I too like the form factor and especially the keyboard which I think is really well designed. I can type faster and more accurately on the Pixi than on many QWERTY phones with larger keys. I also really like the WebOS user interface, which I find more attractive and more efficient than any version of the iPhone or Android

    On the other hand, it's a two old low end smartphone. Performance and multi-tasking ability can't compare with newer, and much more expensive phones. The app selection is quite limited and with HP no longer making new WebOS devices unlikely to grow.

    I still have mine but no longer carry as my main phone, though I do use it for mobile site compatibility testing.

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  69. Thought you might say something along those lines. So webOS is mostly done, anything out there that perks your interest currently? And thanks man, I enjoy your work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Android is the most interesting OS to me at the moment mainly for it's relative openness and hackability (rooting, alternate ROMs) and because there's so much cheap hardware it runs on.

      Delete
  70. This the activation on the Palm Pixi Plus is done through Verizon with pageplus, does this mean if I call a Verizon user it will be mobile to mobile free calling?

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, Verizon does not treat calls to or from Page Plus as M2M.

      Delete
  71. Yeswap, Do you still use the palm pixi? I would like to update from my old flip phone and get a front face qwerty keyboard candy bar style phone, but I'm not sure if the pixi is too old now or if there is another one you might recommend? I'd like to sign up for a pay as you go no contract with page plus, tracfone or something like that. Any phone you could recommend would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. I still have the Pixi Plus but I no longer use it. I like many things about it especially the form factor, user interface and keyboard. It's a great phone for texting and real-time push email and calendar updates. But I am a heavy user of the web on my phones and found the browser to be too slow and buggy for me to live with.

      For light web use the Pixi Plus would probably be OK. The Droid Pro is an affordable Android alternative that would be better for browsing than the Pixi. I never owned one but tried it out a trade show and thought the keyboard was as good as the Palm's.

      Delete
    2. Yes, I'm seriously considering the Motorola Droid Pro. It has more than I need on it, but I like the bigger screen compared to Samsung S390G or Blackberry. One more question on the Pixi Plus, can it play youtube videos? and does it have voice command to dial a phone number? Thanks very much.

      Delete
    3. The Pixi comes with a YouTube app that works well. When you click a link to a YouTube video on any site in the browser it opens in the app and plays.

      Other video sites are hit and mis.s Daily Motion, Vimeo and Livestream don't work. Vuclip, SPB-TV and Reuters videos do play. Video quality is quite good on the Pixi, much better than any feature phones I've used.

      Delete
  72. How does this palm pixi plus compare with the Samsung S390G, in your opinion. I'm trying to decide between these two phones. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. I've never used a S390G but it seems like good option among WiFi equipped feature phones - except for the bug where it butt dials 911 too easily.

      The S390G's screen is lower resolution than the Pixi and I don't think there's any calendar sync. No maps or GPS either, which the Pixi has and which work well. I've heard the S390G's build in browser is pretty bad but that Opera Mini works well with it.

      Delete
  73. Regarding the S390G Samsung, I saw a home shopping network HSN video on youtube, demonstrating the phone and I was shocked when they showed it playing youtube videos and said it could stream videos in 3G. Also, they pulled up Google maps on the screen and said it had GPS with turn by turn directions. They mentioned that they were using the wifi that's available at the HSN studio. Do you think the wifi made the difference in being able to get google maps, GPS, etc.? It just seemed odd because I don't think the specs I read listed any of those things being available. Thanks for your help Dennis.

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    Replies
    1. The S390G doesn't have GPS. There is a Google Maps app available that works on it. The app can give you driving directions between two addresses that you enter as a list or plotted on a map but it can't track your location and tell you when to turn.

      Google Maps should work using cellular data as well as with WiFi. Tracfone and NET10 data is expensive however. It's expensive on PagePlus pay as you go too but the Pixi lets you turn data use on and off, the S390G doesn't.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the tip about PagePlus, I think I'll sign up for the $12 plan, as it gives about 10mb of data included.

      By turning data off, I'm assuming you mean when you're in a wifi location you would turn the data off and use the free wifi? Do you happen to know if the Motorola Droid Pro allows you to turn data off?

      I'm considering the Droid Pro, however, all the reviews I read complain about the battery talk time being terrible.

      Delete
    3. With 10mb of data, you better turn off data and leave it off. Remember mms and pic messages pull from the 10mb bank as well. I don't understand people who want a smart phone on a plan that has almost no data.

      Delete
  74. Dennis, Thank you for this article. I was not familiar with page plus cellular, and was about to sign up with tracfone. Now I will go with page plus. Does the pixi plus have voice dialing capabilities? If not, perhaps the palm plus or palm 2 may have that. Do you know?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Pixi Plus and the Pre Plus do not support voice dialing. The Pre 2 does.

      Voice dialing was added in WebOS 2.1 which only runs on the Pre 2, Pre 3 and Veer.

      All Android phones support voice dialing.

      Delete
  75. Thank you Dennis, I appreciate that info. I was confused because some sellers on ebay listed voice dial as a feature of the palm pixi plus, but other websites did not.

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