Verizon to Reportedly Get Palm Pre Plus, Pixi Plus
The Palm smartphones headed to Verizon Wireless in 2010 won't
the same old Pre and Pixi on the Sprint Nextel network. According to reporting
from the Boy Genius Report, Verizon
will call the former the Palm Pre Plus, and the latter the Palm Pixi Plus.
The tech site says it has learned that the devices will run the
recently released WebOS 1.3.5, and not a newer version - indicating,
perhaps, that a Verizon announcement is closer than many expected. With
the update to 1.3.5, which became available Dec. 28, Palm improved the WebOS
user experience, cleared up some glitches and streamlined several capabilities.
The site also reported that while some changes have been
made to functionality - thus, the Plus
- on the outside, both devices will remain the same. Among the
expected updates are that the Pixi will gain WiFi connectivity.
While Sprint has been tight-lipped about the timeline of its
exclusive rights to Palm's latest and greatest, Verizon Chief Operating Officer
Denny Strigl said during a Verizon quarterly earnings call on July 27 that several
Android phones were on the carrier's roadmap, and that Verizon
planned "to offer the Palm Pre early next year."
Sprint launched the Pre slider-phone in June to good reviews
but relatively modest sales, and followed
in November with the Pixi, a candy-bar style phone with a smaller screen
but a $99 price tag. Within
the week, however, retailers Wal-Mart and Amazon.com dropped the price to
$24.99 - a bit of bad luck for Palm, whose offerings were also quickly
surrounded by an army of new Android-running smartphones, all competing for
Juniper Research analyst Patrick Fairlie, however, believes
Palm's luck is turning around. In a Dec. 24 blog post he pointed to Palm's
results for the second quarter of fiscal year 2010, in which the phone-maker
shipped 783,000 smartphones - a welcome jump up from the 599,000 it
shipped during the second quarter of fiscal year 2009.
"Taking an optimistic view, the company's fortunes may be turning, as ... a tie-up with Verizon Wireless now seems to be on the cards, supplementing the carrier relationship it has with Sprint Nextel," Fairlie wrote in the blog post. "Carrier relationships are, of course, more valuable than gold dust to any handset manufacturer."