to the smartphone sweepstakes. The beleaguered pioneer of personal
digital assistants has finally pushed out a smartphone it hopes will rival the popular
Apple iPhone and Research In Motion's BlackBerry devices, introducing the Palm
Pre on Jan. 8 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las
Palm aims to gain on Apple and RIM with a new smartphone operating system
dubbed WebOS, with the Pre as the first model out of the shop. The Palm Pre is
scheduled to be available first in the United
States exclusively from Sprint in the first
half of 2009, and to be followed by a world-ready UMTS (Universal Mobile
Telecommunications System) version for other regions. Sprint's pricing for the
phone was not disclosed.
The 4.8-ounce Pre features both a 3.1-inch touch-screen and a full QWERTY
keyboard that slides underneath the touch-screen when not in use. The device
also features EvDO (Evolution Data Optimized) Rev A, stereo Bluetooth, a
three-megapixel camera with flash and Texas Instruments' new OMAP processor.
"WebOS and Pre bring game-changing simplicity to an increasingly mobile
world by dissolving the barriers that surround your information," Palm CEO
Ed Colligan said in a statement. "It's technology that seems like it's
thinking ahead to bring you what you care about most-your people, your time and
your information-in the easiest and most seamless way."
Click here to see first images of the Palm Pre smartphone from CES.
The Pre links contacts in Outlook, Google and Facebook and presents users with
one listing. Multiple calendars can be layered together in a single view and
various messaging systems such as text messaging and instant messaging can be
presented in a chat-style view.
Palm's new smartphone also uses MicroUSB 2.0 and can be used as a USB
mass storage device. A speakerphone, 3.5mm audio jack and a removable battery
are also included.
"Palm products have always been about simplifying lives and delivering
great user experiences," Colligan said.
According to Palm, the new operating system leverages several
industry-standard technologies, including Web technologies such as CSS,
overall user experience and has provided a deep integration of all elements
within the platform, the company said.
"As our lives revolve more and more around the Web, devices like Palm
Pre that transform how we interact with the Web will lead the way," said
Sprint CEO Dan Hesse. "We are focused
on bringing our customers a superior experience that includes easy-to-use
devices, simple pricing and value."
The Pre will support a variety of Sprint services,
including Sprint TV with live and on-demand programming and Sprint Navigation,
which provides GPS-enabled audio and visual turn-by-turn driving directions,
one-click traffic rerouting, and more than 10 million local listings. Sprint
also offers more than a dozen streaming radio applications, including Sprint
Radio with more than 150 channels.