Palm Pre: will this save Palm’s bacon?

Palm Pre Palm today announced an evolutionary new phone, the Pre.  The Palm Pre is a iPhone/HTC Touch like device, with a slick user interface and tight integration with the web.  The kicker is the slide out keyboard.  The new phone more round than I prefer, but I think that could be over looked given all of the features that the phone packs.  It runs neither Windows Mobile or the old PalmOS Garnet.  Instead, it runs something called Palm WebOS.  I suspect a flavor of Linux, but I have not found out much about what the OS really is.  I suppose it is entirely possible that it is totally new from Palm.  It, ultimately, does not matter.  According to Palm, ‘any web developer’ can develop applications for the device since it relies on javascript, html and other standard web technologies.  There will be, however, an SDK released in the future.

The videos that have been released all show a fluid, smooth UI that is very responsive.  The UI responds to keyboard input, touch input and gestures.  The pull down keyboard features a trackball and the device also has an accelerometer built in which changes the orientation of the screen a full 360 degrees.Very slick.

The operating system is tightly integrated with a slew of web services including those from AOL and Facebook.  Palm will have it’s own services and, judging from what I’ve read, will be much like Microsoft’s Live services.  A Palm app store is going to be available as well.

The device has Wi-Fi and EVDO connectivity in addition to USB.  It comes with a 3mp camera, but does not currently do video, which is a bit odd.

Perhaps the most clever part of the device is the charger: is uses induction.  You simply place the device on the charger.  No wires.  Very clean.

The device has, so far, received positive reviews and Palm’s stock went up after the announcement.  I hope the device does well for Palm.  I have a soft spot for the company.  I’ve owned several PDA’s from them and my wife has a Centro.  My last PDA was a Zire 31, which I still use from time to time.  It was a great PDA, but I used it as a portable media player until I bought the DS Lite and then the Zune.

The Pre will be available later in 2009…no definite date was announced.  Sprint will carry the device initially. 

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