CES 2009: Palm announces the Palm Web OS and the Palm Pre device

CES 2009: Palm announces the Palm Web OS and the Palm Pre device

Summary: With Microsoft's rather anemic keynote at CES 2009, the show was up in the air for another company to step up to the plate and garner all the attention from the press. Thus, Palm was in a perfect position to steal the show and after following the various live feeds (Scoble's live video kyte feed was the best) I would have to say that Palm did just that. Palm should have had a live feed themselves since most people's live coverage kept dying out. I was quite nervous for Palm and was hoping they weren't going to come out and show a different color Treo Pro. They really needed to show something big or I think we would see Palm fade away into the history books of PDAs. As I watched the coverage I would have to say that Palm did a nice job with their announcements.

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CES 2009: Palm announces the Palm Web OS and the Palm Pre deviceWith Microsoft's rather anemic keynote at CES 2009, the show was up in the air for another company to step up to the plate and garner all the attention from the press. Thus, Palm was in a perfect position to steal the show and after following the various live feeds (Scoble's live video kyte feed was the best for a couple minutes) I would have to say that Palm did just that. Andrew was there in the room so check out his live blogging post too. Palm should have had a live feed themselves since most people's live coverage kept dying out. I was quite nervous for Palm and was hoping they weren't going to come out and show a different color Treo Pro. They really needed to show something big or I think we would see Palm fade away into the history books of PDAs. As I watched the coverage I would have to say that Palm did a nice job with their announcements and is back in the game.

The press conference started off with a walk down Palm memory lane. Palm then revealed their new Palm Web OS followed by their new device, the Palm Pre. The Pre is an all touch screen device with the following specs:

  • 3.1 inch 320x480 display
  • EVDO REV. A (Verizon or Sprint only for now)
  • New TI processor with laptop-like performance
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • GPS
  • 8GB integrated memory
  • 3 megapixel camera with LED flash
  • 3.5 mm headset jack
  • Slide-out QWERTY keyboard in portrait mode

It looks similar to the rumored mockups we saw, but sleeker and sexier.

Palm Pre open keyboardThe gesture support looks excellent and I am quite pleased with what I am seeing so far, keep it up Palm. Just like the Palm OS, everything you do is save automatically so it makes interacting with the device drop-dead simple. If you have a contact in multiple areas (Google, Outlook, Facebook, etc.) Palm keeps the data separate (as it is naturally), but lets you view it in a central location. Palm is calling this functionality Synergy. The entire OS on the device looks extremely user friendly and it looks like Palm may actually have come out with the "iPhone killer". I have to say again that I was highly skeptical, but am now very excited. I hope it comes to GSM carriers soon or I may just have to drop AT&T and sign up with the Sprint CDMA carrier they are launch on.

Exchange OTA sync is supported (see you later Google Android)! Threaded IM and SMS integration so the conversation stays relevant and continuous. Browser looks sweet and you can open as many "cards" (aka tabs) as you want in the browser. Cool pop-up notifications like what we see on the Google Android are also supported. It sounds like Palm went a long way towards making the new OS developer friendly and open so we should see lots of cool things coming on the platform.

The wireless conductive charger looks very cool too. I had one of these on my MSN Direct Spot watch and it is handy not to have to plug a cable into the device.

I still think we need to see an application store for the new Palm OS to be a leader again. Partners include Facebook, Pandora, Google, Amazon (MP3 store?), and TeleNav (GPS navigation support!). All apps are developed in CSS, HTML and Javascript. Pandora told Palm it took only 3 days to get their application on the new OS.

What about pricing and availability? Let's see if Sprint's Dan Hesse gives us this information. Dan didn't let us know, but Ed came back and said the first half of 2009 - LAME! Palm would have blown the roof off the house if they made the Pre available now.

Congratulations Palm! You needed to hit a homerun today to stay relevant in the mobile space and I would have to say you did just that. I can't wait to get my hands on a Pre and am now really disappointed I was unable to make the trip to CES.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Operating Systems

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13 comments
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  • wow, good for Palm

    can't wait to check one out. About time they got back in the game. Stereo bluetooth? Flash? How's the web browsing?
    eggmanbubbagee@...
  • Will it be enough?

    Sounds great - but will it be enough? They've been out of the game such a long time, I don't think there's any confidence left about them anymore.

    The one thing I fear is that this will be a one time event. Palm has a bad habit of not following up with new devices and software. This is not a one time deal - it's not good enough to get back into the game. They have to stay in. They have to keep releasing new devices, new software, and new updates to their OS.
    CobraA1
    • Palm still has quite a following

      The Palm name is still strong and can bring a lot of people to the table. If this new OS is as slick and easy as it was shown today, then I think Palm stands a good chance of major success. I am sure we will see more devices from Palm, with GSM variants coming shortly. They may even roll out GSM international versions just after Sprint launches it since they need to reach the world to succeed today.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
  • Resolution is a showstopper for me

    320 * 480 is inexcusable in an age where HTC is pumping them out at 480 * 640 and more.

    The other thing that concerns me is that this is yet another mobile OS that might take development effort away from other mobile OSs. While OS monopolies are not good for anyone but the maker, too many OSs is not good for the consumer as it splinters the 3rd party application market too much (assuming that no OS can run programs written for other OSs). Personally speaking, I would be more than happy to see it whittle down to Android (for those who care about freedom and power) and mobile OS X (for those unable to think for themselves and basically want a glorified media player).
    NonZealot
    • iPhone resolution is the same, room for all

      The iPhone has the same resolution as the new Palm Pre and I think it is more than adequate, especially for finger navigation.

      Palm also talked about how easy it is to create applications for the new Palm OS. There is also a vast untapped market for mobile phones and there is room for a number of mobile operating systems. With this announcement, I think Palm may be the new leader, followed by Apple, Google, Nokia, and Windows Mobile. Nokia and Windows Mobile need to take notice of what Palm was able to do here and better be on their game moving forward faster than they may have wanted to.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
      • And iPhone resolution is inadequate too!

        I find that video looks extremely pixelated on the iPhone when compared to both my Archos (800*480) and my Diamond (640*480). I also find that I can use the browser on the Diamond without zooming on some sites but when I borrowed my friend's iPhone, the site was illegible without zooming in. Finally, calendar applications can make great use of higher resolutions to show month views with text in each box.

        [i]Windows Mobile need to take notice of what Palm was able to do here and better be on their game moving forward faster than they may have wanted to.[/i]

        While I find my Diamond to be incredibly powerful, Windows Mobile has a reputation that could give Vista a run for its money. You are right that WM7 needs to come out sooner than the second half of 2010 for marketing purposes. The base OS is currently more than powerful enough to drive any finger friendly application you choose to like TouchFlo, gAlarm, and TouchPal.
        NonZealot
    • What about Windows Mobile?

      For those unwilling to acknowledge the death of a platform.

      Of course, in nz's omission (not to mention Balmer's yesterday), it
      looks as if he's finally accepted the demise of WM. Good thing
      he's only stuck with it for another nine months! :)
      rynning
      • Death of a platform?

        Are you talking about the platform that powered 20 million devices last year? Yeah, WM is DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMED!!!! ;)

        However, I'm more than happy to move to Android when they get more hardware options and Exchange support. The death of WM wouldn't bother me in the least. Take a look at my original post:
        [i]I would be more than happy to see it whittle down to Android ... and mobile OS X[/i]

        :)
        NonZealot
  • RE: CES 2009: Palm announces the Palm Web OS and the Palm Pre device

    This looks like an incredible device. Does it have expandable memory? That would not necessarily be a deal killer for me if it did not, I was just curious.
    mr1972
    • I don't think this model does

      I am pretty sure (in looking at all the live coverage) that this version of the Palm Pre does not have additional storage capacity. However, I have an 8GB iPhone and always have 2 GB left so this isn't that big of a deal for me. Unlike the iPhone, the Pre does support USB mass storage mode so getting content on and off should be easy.

      We may see other variants with external storage cards and larger capacity drives in the future though as this is just the first device running the new OS.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
  • I'm VERY impressed... and like Matthew shocked...

    they've upped the ante. unlike others that have just done a dumbed down,
    unpolished or window dressing version of mobile OSX... they have actually
    gone beyond and improved upon what Apple did with the iPhone.

    I like the card stack idea (really a tabbed interface)... much easier to go
    between apps than in mobile OS X, the gesture area eliminates the need
    for the many nav buttons in mobile OS X... it's polished and beautiful... it
    really very good. in some areas the aesthetic GUI is a little to cute and cuddly for my taste but all-in-all it very nice.

    the only thing that is missing... and it's a big one... is the ecosystem the
    the iPhone has with iTunes integration and iTunes store, thousands of
    apps and developers, games (not sure if the quality of java script, CSS,
    HTML games are going to be able to compete with what can be produced
    on mobile OS X especially when the hardware gets upgraded)... but it's a
    damn nice device...

    this was swim or sink for Palm and looks like they're not just swimming
    they're doing the Michael Phelps! ... unlike Motorola

    Apple actually has some real competition now and are going to have to up
    their game... this is great!
    doctorSpoc
  • Storefront for apps?

    Interesting there's no mention of an application marketplace. How are developers going to "sell" apps for this device? Where's the iTunes equivalent?

    Also, will the device be closed, as in iPhone, or open, as in Android?

    The world wonders..
    psychographer
  • RE: CES 2009: Palm announces the Palm Web OS and the Palm Pre device

    The Pre will be a dud if it isn't quad band for international business travelers. If the power is there and its quad band with folded in Docs to Go, then small and sole business owners will consider it as an alternative to Windows Mobile and Blackberry. What concerns me is that the "gotta have my friends and tunes in my ear all the time" crowd will be catered to and Palm will once again majorly miss the market.
    tuffdeal