Palm has introduced the smartphone it hopes will return the wireless pioneer to its glory days, as it showcased the “Palm Pre,” at CES. The device is aimed at helping users retrieve and consolidate the usual trove of information that might be scattered across a number of online sites and software programs.
From the Associated Press:
Palm Inc. unveiled a new touch-screen smart phone and operating system Thursday, marking its latest attempt to catch up with competition from Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry and Apple Inc.’s iPhone.
At the International Consumer Electronics Show, Palm executives touted their Pre, which looks similar to the iPhone, with a face dominated mostly by a 3.1-inch touch screen and single button. The body of the Pre is black and slightly curved, with a full QWERTY keyboard that slides out from the bottom.
In an effort to capture both business and consumer users, the Pre will come loaded with features including Wi-Fi, stereo Bluetooth and GPS, as well as 8 gigabytes of storage space, a 3-megapixel camera and music and video playback. The Pre also has a variety of sensors, such as an accelerometer so images on the screen will rotate when a user turns the device on its side.
Many of these features are already available on rival phones, including the iPhone, the latest BlackBerry models and HTC Corp.’s G1 that was released in the fall by T-Mobile and Google Inc. Palm has been overshadowed in the last several years by the success of these products — especially by the growth of BlackBerry smart phones among business customers and, since its June 2007 release, of iPhones among consumer users.
According to data from comScore Inc., as of October, Palm devices accounted for about 15.6 percent of the U.S. smart phone market. Some of Palm’s smart phones run on its own operating system, while others use Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Mobile operating system.
Palm, a pioneer in the market for handheld digital assistants, now hopes its latest offering can stand out.
“We think it’s the one phone you can use for your entire life and you’ll really enjoy using it,” Palm Chief Executive Ed Colligan said at a news conference.
The Pre will be available in the second half of the year, exclusively on Sprint Nextel Corp.’s wireless network. Palm did not disclose the price.
From the Wall Street Journal:
Palm Inc. introduced a long-awaited new operating system and touch-screen wireless phone on Thursday following a nearly two-year long restructuring effort designed to revamp the company’s product portfolio.
Shares of Palm got a lift following the company’s appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The stock has lost more than half its value over the past four months as sales of the company’s aging line of smart phones have begun to stall.
At the event, Palm executive chairman Jon Rubinstein announced a new device called the Palm Pre — a touch-screen phone that also slides out to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard. It will be the first device to run on the company’s new WebOS platform, an operating system Palm built from scratch for a new family of devices.
“We need the right phone on the right platform to compete in the market,” Mr. Rubinstein told the gathering.
At Palm, Mr. Rubinstein has been leading a wide-scale restructuring effort designed to revive the company’s business. Palm was an early pioneer in the smart-phone category with its Treo device, but the company has since lost market share to rival devices such as the BlackBerry by Research In Motion and Apple’s iPhone.