Palm's Pre Smartphone Might Turn Palm Around

Once upon a long ago, Palm was king of PDA land... yet recently it's been lagging behind the smartphone revolution. Now it's got a new cellphone out that seems to rival the best of the rest, and it's running a whole new Palm OS.

The new phone is called the Pre, and despite that slightly weak name it's got some great specs. The pebble-shaped candybar phone has a 3.1-inch 320 x 480 pixel display that is also multitouch, and it has a slide-out QWERTY keypad. It runs EVDO rev A. for connectivity, and there's 802.11 b,g Wi-fi and Bluetooth A2DP. Memory-wise it's got a corking 8GB of flash built-in, and it connects as a mass-storage USB device to PCs. The camera is a 3-megapixel version with an LED flash. And crazily it's got a wireless charger, apparently a first for a popular phone.

The OS is an all-new one for Palm too: webOS. Apparently it's easy for people who understand HTML, CSS and XML to program for the phone, so you should expect the developer community to start cranking out apps pretty swiftly. The OS is heavily into touch-control, and incorporates gesture recognition—the touch sensitivity on the Pre even extends onto the non-screen surface of the phone, which sounds pretty interesting.

Though there's no pricing info yet, it seems such a breakthrough device for Palm that the guys over at Gizmodo noticed the company's stock price jumped nearly 35% after the Pre was announced.

It seems that Palm Pre is going to be an interesting competitor to the iPhone, Blackberrys and G1. And that might — just might — help turn Palm around.

[Palm PR and Engadget, Gizmodo]

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