CES 09: Palm Announces New OS, Handset

Palm has unveiled its Palm webOS mobile platform, built from the ground up to be constantly connected to the web, and the new Palm Pre, the first phone based on the new platform. Pre is scheduled to be available exclusively from Sprint in the first half of 2009.

“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.”

At its core, webOS leverages web technologies such as CSS, XHTML and JavaScript. It introduces Palm Synergy, a key feature of webOS that brings information from all the places it resides into one logical view.

The Pre features a smooth, rounded ergonomic design and a physical keyboard that slides out only when needed. 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.

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
– Integrated GPS
– 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)
– 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
– 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 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 Touchstone 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.

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.