Palm has unveiled its new iPhone competitor, dubbed Pre, and its new operating system, webOS (rather than Nova). The successor to Palm’s relatively ancient Treo handset, the Pre will be exclusively distributed by Sprint.
Black in color, the Pre has a 3.1-inch, 480 x 320 pixel touchscreen and a sliding keyboard, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3 megapixel camera with LED flash, 8 GB of storage, pre-programmed finger gesture support, EVDO rev.A, micro USB and GPS navigation. The battery is recharged on a dock rather than via a plug-in.
Chief executive and president of Palm, Ed Colligan, told The New York Times, “The default thinking of this platform isn’t to hook up to a desktop PC, it is to connect to the cloud”. And if that idea defines Palm’s marketing strategy behind the Pre, it’ll be a good one. To me that evokes pictures of a mobile internet device rather than a smartphone. With the iPhone being the definition of ’smartphone’ in the mainstream consumer mind right now, this is the best shot Palm has got.
The new webOS is interesting. Not so much because of its vastly greater user interface compared to previous models–it looks pretty sweet–but because of its emphasis on easy application creation. According to Palm, developers only have to be comfortable coding with HTML, CSS, and XML to design apps for the Pre.
This is interesting. Really the entire operational design of the phone is cloud-based allowing for all kinds of innovation. It also likely means its performance will be speedy. In fact, all the demonstrations of webOS at CES 2009 have resulted in reports of its seamless operation and quick response.
The UI seems to be a mash-up of some of the other greats on the market right now in terms of look, usability, and finger control. Some of the stand out features include Synergy which pulls your contacts from all your social networking profiles, email addresses, etc., to one spot. It can also recognize duplicate contacts and remove them. I also like the ‘beyond the screen’ look of the UI. Rather than leave an application to do another task, you can simply boot something else in the forescreen and have a faded but visible page behind.
The Palm Pre will launch sometime in the first half of 2009 with a variety of content and application partners such as Facebook and Google. No word on pricing yet.
Update: The full press release is after the jump. It looks like after the Palm Pre is launched on Sprint, a “world-ready UMTS version” will follow. I’ve also added more pictures.
Palm Unveils All-new webOS
LAS VEGAS –(Business Wire)– Jan 08, 2009 Palm, Inc. (NASDAQ:PALM) today unveiled its groundbreaking Palm® webOSTM mobile platform, built from the ground up to be constantly connected to the web, and the new Palm PreTM, the first phone based on the new platform.(1) Pre is scheduled to be available exclusively from Sprint in the first half of 2009.
Palm webOS is a brand-new kind of platform, invented exclusively for mobile use. webOS recognizes that you want your people, calendars and information to move with you, wherever you are, wirelessly, as opposed to being bound to a personal computer. Palm webOS is the first mobile platform to automatically bring your information from the many places it resides – on your phone, at your work or on the web – into one simple, integrated view.(1) The new Palm Pre and webOS are designed to be so in sync with your needs that it feels like Pre is thinking ahead for you.
“Palm products have always been about simplifying lives and delivering great user experiences,” said Ed Colligan, Palm president and chief executive officer. “webOS and Pre bring game-changing simplicity to an increasingly mobile world by dissolving the barriers that surround your information. 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.”
“Pre continues Sprint’s leadership in open access to the content customers want for a great web-connected experience,” said Dan Hesse, Sprint chief executive officer. “We look forward to bringing this remarkably innovative device to our customers on America’s most dependable 3G network.”(2)
The new platform was designed to allow a vast ecosystem of partners, including developers, hardware suppliers, and accessories manufacturers, to develop core solutions to complement the platform and product line. For developers, webOS shatters traditional barriers to mobile-application development by offering a rich open development environment that’s familiar to tens of millions of web developers. More people can develop for the platform and can do it faster than ever before. The platform’s flexible environment will also allow developers to distribute their applications over-the-air via an on-device Palm application store.
Your Life, Brought Together
The new platform introduces Palm SynergyTM, a key feature of webOS that brings your information from all the places it resides into one logical view. You don’t have to worry about tracking multiple calendars, contacts and messaging applications – Synergy brings it to you for a more comprehensive and truly representative view of your life.
* Linked contacts – With Synergy, you have a single view that links your contacts from a variety of sources, so accessing them is easier than ever. For example, if you have the same contact listed in your Outlook(3), Google and Facebook accounts, Synergy recognizes that they’re the same person and links the information, presenting it to you as one listing. And if you update a contact on your webOS device, it also will be updated in your various accounts, whether on a personal computer or on the web.
* Layered calendars – Your calendars can be seen on their own or layered together in a single view, combining work, family, friends, sports teams, or other interests. You can toggle to look at one calendar at a time, or see them all at a glance.
* Combined messaging – Synergy lets you see all your conversations with the same person in a chat-style view, even if it started in IM and you want to reply with text messaging. You can also see who’s active in a buddy list right from contacts, and start a new conversation with just one touch.
Your Information, Effortlessly
By smartly integrating your information, webOS is designed to think ahead for you and keep you on top of the things that happen in your life, but that’s just the first step. The platform’s unique interface brings your information to you with the ease that only Palm can offer.
* Web-connected applications – Applications are seamlessly connected to the web and always active(4), ensuring you have the most up-to-date information.
* Run multiple applications at the same time – Palm’s revolutionary webOS lets you manage multiple activities more effectively than any other mobile platform today. It lets you keep multiple applications open and instantly flip from one to another.(4)
* Instinctive user interface – With its multi-touch interface, webOS lets you move easily between activities like flipping through a deck of cards and rearrange items simply by dragging them; when you are done with something, just throw it away. And finding what you need is easy with universal search – as you type what you’re looking for, the OS narrows your search and offers results from both your device and the web.(5)
* Intuitive and unobtrusive notifications – When important things come up or new updates arrive, you’ll receive notifications with a diplomacy that’s a radical departure from other mobile platforms. For example, if you receive a text message or email, a scrolling notifications bar at the bottom of your screen lets you address it right away or leave until later. webOS alerts are one step ahead, ensuring that you never miss a thing, but never lose your place or train of thought.
Palm Pre: The First webOS Phone
Pre has a breakthrough interface and hardware design that makes it the most integrated and user-friendly phone for mobile users. Featuring a smooth, rounded ergonomic design and a physical keyboard that slides out only when needed, Pre is engineered to feel natural in the hand and comfortably small in the pocket. When closed, the phone is ideal for phone calls, web browsing, music, photos and videos; when open, Pre is optimized for email and text messaging. With its curved slider and gesture-controlled touch interface, Pre fuses exquisite design with the revolutionary webOS software for fast access to anything on the device or web. It’s an instinctive user experience that seems to anticipate your needs.
“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 Hesse. “We are focused on bringing our customers a superior experience that includes easy-to-use devices, simple pricing and value with Simply Everything all-inclusive offerings, plus Ready Now, our exclusive retail program that helps customers leave the store feeling comfortable and confident they know how to use their new device.”
Pre will support a variety of differentiated on-device Sprint services, including Sprint TV®, offering an extensive selection of live and on-demand programming. Sprint Navigation 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.
Palm Pre features include the following:
* High-speed connectivity (EVDO Rev. A or UMTS HSDPA)
* Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g(6)
* Integrated GPS(7)
* Large 3.1-inch touch screen with a vibrant 24-bit color 320×480 resolution HVGA display
* Gesture area, which enables simple, intuitive gestures for navigation
* Slide-out QWERTY keyboard
* Email, including Outlook EAS (for access to corporate Microsoft Exchange servers), as well as personal email support (POP3, IMAP)
* Robust messaging support (IM, SMS and MMS capabilities)(4)
* High-performance, desktop-class web browser
* Great multimedia experience and performance (pictures, video playback, music), featuring a 3-megapixel camera with LED flash and extended depth of field, and a standard 3.5mm headset jack
* Bluetooth® 2.1 + EDR with A2DP stereo Bluetooth support
* 8GB of internal user storage (~7.4GB user available)
* USB mass storage mode
* MicroUSB connector with USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
* Proximity sensor, which automatically disables the touch screen and turns off the display whenever you put the phone up to your ear
* Light sensor, which dims the display if the ambient light is dark, such as at night or in a movie theater, to reduce power usage
* Accelerometer, which automatically orients web pages and photos to your perspective
* Ringer switch, which easily silences the device with one touch
* Removable, rechargeable battery
* Dimensions: 59.57mm (W) x 100.53mm (L, closed) x 16.95mm (D) [2.35 inches (W) x 3.96 inches (L, closed) x 0.67 inches (D)]
* Weight: ~135 grams [4.76 ounces]
An array of compelling accessories also will be available for Pre, including the first inductive charging solution for phones (sold separately). Simply set Pre down on top of the elegantly designed Palm TouchstoneTM charging dock without worrying about connection, orientation or fit. Pre is active while charging, so you can access the touch screen, watch movies or video, or use the speakerphone.
Availability and Pricing
Palm Pre is scheduled to be available first in the United States exclusively from Sprint in the first half of 2009, and will be followed by a world-ready UMTS version for other regions. Sprint’s pricing for the phone has not yet been determined.
Customers who would like to register to receive additional information about Pre and be notified when it’s available can register at www.palm.com or www.sprint.com/palmpre.
About Palm, Inc.
Palm, Inc. is a leading mobile products company, creating instinctive yet powerful mobile products that enable people to better manage their lives on the go. The company’s products for consumers, mobile professionals and businesses include Palm® TreoTM, PreTM and CentroTM phones, as well as software, services and accessories.
Palm products are sold through select Internet, retail, reseller and wireless operator channels throughout the world, and at Palm online stores (http://www.palm.com/store).
More information about Palm, Inc. is available at http://www.palm.com.
NOTE TO EDITORS: Multimedia materials, including photos and video, are available at www.palm.com/MeetPre.
Please add the tag #MeetPre to your tweets or “MeetPre” to your blog posts about the Palm Pre phone, and follow Palm on Twitter at www.twitter.com/palm_inc
Video highlights of today’s Palm press event at CES will be available via satellite at the following coordinates:
Start Date/Time: Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009 4:00 PM ET (1:00PM Local)
End Date/Time: Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009 4:15 PM ET (1:15PM Local)
Package will broadcast twice:
First Broadcast Start Time: 4:00PM ET (1:00PM Local)
First Broadcast End Time: 4:07PM ET (1:07PM Local)
Second Broadcast Start Time: 4:08PM ET (1:08PM Local)
Second Broadcast End Time: 4:15PM ET (1:15PM Local)
Galaxy 17 / k 20 slot B 9 MHz
Uplink freq: 14395.5 H
Downlink freq: 12095.5 V
Digital Unencrypted SD 4:2:0
Data Rate: 10.167974
FEC: 5 / 6
(1) Use of this device requires providing a valid email address, mobile phone number, and related information for account setup and activation. Unlimited usage data plan strongly recommended; additional data charges may apply. Within wireless coverage area only. Number of applications and actual performance will vary depending on applications used and actions performed.
(2) Claims: Largest based on square miles (including roaming). Based on independent, third-party drive tests for 3G data connection success, session reliability and signal strength for the top 50 most populous markets from March ‘08 to Sept. ‘08.
(3) Within wireless coverage area only. Requires data services at additional cost. Microsoft Direct Push Technology requires Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 with SP2 or Exchange Server 2007. Additional fees may apply.
(4) Within wireless coverage area only. Use of some third-party web applications may impact performance.
(5) Searches web and user’s applications, contacts, and dialing information. Web search within wireless coverage area only, requires data services at additional cost.
(6) Within range of 802.11b/g Wi-Fi network. Some Wi-Fi hotspots require fee for usage.
(7) GPS requires data services at additional cost. Coverage not available in all areas at all times.
Palm, webOS, Pre, Synergy, Touchstone, Treo and Centro are among the trademarks or registered trademarks owned by or licensed to Palm, Inc. All other brand and product names are or may be trademarks of, and are used to identify products or services of, their respective owners.