Palm may have once been at the top of the smartphone heap, but in recent years saw its mobile-device star eclipsed by the likes of Research in Motion's BlackBerry and Apple's iPhone.
However, the company is hoping that its upcoming Palm Pre smartphone will help it regain respect in the industry - and in a further bid to integrate itself, is boasting that it's made the Pre the easiest possible platform on which to develop new applications.
The smartphone was first rolled out for public view at the 2009 International CES in Las Vegas.
"We have made it a priority for the new system to be as easy as possible to develop for," Ed Colligan, CEO of Palm, was quoted as saying at the Mobile World Congress in Spain on Wednesday.
Palm will offer apps for the device through an online store, the Palm App Catalog, which will go head-to-head against Apple's iPhone App Store.
Palm has a major advantage in smartphone development in the form of Jon Rubinstein, who joined the company after leaving Apple in 2006. Considered integral to the development of many Apple products, including the iMac and the iPod, Rubinstein devoted his expertise to the Pre.
That, according to some analysts, could make all the difference in Palm's fortunes in 2009.
"Palm is the new comeback kid. They know that they've got one last chance to remain credible with the market, and that's why there were all those delays in getting this out in the first place," Philippe Winthrop, an analyst with Strategy Analytics, said in an interview. "There are a lot of roots from the pedigree of Jon Rubinstein and the rest of the people who came from Apple, but everything I've seen shows they have their own take on it."
One integral aspect of the Pre's design is the presence of both a 3.1-inch multitouch screen and a real keyboard. The smartphone will also feature Wi-Fi, USB, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS, and a built-in 3-megapixel camera.
The Pre is slated to hit the U.S. market by the end of the first half of 2009, with Palm pairing with Sprint as a service provider. No retail price has been set.