Palm Unveils New Phone and Operating System

January 9th, 2009 at 12:00 am

Palm smartphone

After a long wait, Palm has finally unveiled what they think will put them back on the market.  At the CES 2009 in Las Vegas yesterday evening, Palm’s CEO had a press conference and introduced the Palm Pre, a smartphone with a new sleek and internet-centered operating system, WebOS.

First of all the Palm Pre is a mobile phone with an OS designed for the internet. Unfortunately they did not do it right and left out 3G HSDPA capabilities.  Instead, Palm opted for EVDO connectivity. 

Aside from that, it’s got everything else, 3.1-inch 320 x 480 multitouch display, with a silver center button down below and touch sensitivity all down the face — the lower part is for "gestures", full QWERTY keyboard slides out from the phone in a portrait orientation, accelerometer to detect tilting for widescreen browsing, 802.11b/g WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth with A2DP and 8GB of built-in flash storage, 3 megapixel camera with LED flash, mass storage-friendly microUSB plug, 3.5mm headphone jack, and a wireless charger.

Yes, you read it right wireless charger which Palm calls Touchstone.   We’ll be featuring this separately later when more details about how it works surface.

The Palm Pre will also be running the new Palm operating system they call WebOS.  This platform is basically a users’ and developers’ paradise.  WebOS unifies a lot of things between the user’s mobile phone and web accounts. 

For example, the phonebook includes web contacts which the system detects so there’s no need to manually add people from email address books to the phonebook.  Moreover, on the developers’ side, Palm claims that the WebOS platform is friendly to anybody who know CSS, HTML or XML.  This means that developers do not have to learn so much more about the platform and begin developing apps for it immediately.

So, is this going to be an iPhone killer?  According to Palm, they never intended to make an iPhone killer; instead they wanted to make a killer Palm.  Still, re-entering the smartphone market with a non-3G device, it’s hard to see if Palm Pre will sell like pancakes from the get-go.

Nonetheless, if 3G plans isn’t your thing and plan to use  the web on the Pre via WiFi, it’s definitely the best alternative to an iPod Touch or a netbook.