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Palm's CES Event Expectations

Taking A Look At What Palm’s New-ness May Have In Store For Us At CES In January 


While we wait to discover _exactly_ what the Palm New-ness Coming at CES is really all about, let me open some additional speculation about what I and many Treonauts are expecting to see/hear at Palm’s CES event on January 8th.


Palm has been working on its top secret new NOVA OS (aka Palm 2.0) for years now and aside from a few minor hints here and there about what this operating system might deliver the fact is nonetheless that we know literally nothing about it.  Having said this, here below are a few thoughts about my expectations:

  • A stunning Graphical User Interface (GUI) that makes it a pleasure to interact with as well as being ultra-fast and ultra-intuitive (basically more of the fabulous Zen of Palm that previous Treo smartphones offered).
  • A full multithreading OS that allows you to run multiple applications simultaneously (including WiFi, GPS and more).
  • Best-in-class open source Linux components that have been optimized to provide a flexible, customizable and open operating system that makes it ultra-easy for third-party developers to create applications.
  • Superb built-in applications for communications (Phone, SMS, eMail, IM, Browser), entertainment (video, music, streaming) productivity (PIM Contacts, Calendar, Notes/Memos, Tasks, MS Office Documents) information (Maps, GPS, Weather, Stocks, Calculator, RSS, Clock/Alarm), and social media (Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube, etc).
  • Native over-the-air synchronization (“Cloud” sync) of the entire smartphone and also a full-featured desktop synchronization software with high-speed access to all data included on device and memory cards with full screen control and access to on-board apps and settings.
  • Support for multiple application environments including NOVA OS, Garnet OS (compatible with existing Palm OS applications) and also JAVA (to run most existing mobile JAVA applications).
  • Support for stylus + touch + full QWERTY keyboard interfaces with accelerometer (G-sensor) + handwriting recognition (new Graffiti).
  • Support for large 800 x 480 pixels resolution displays with 256,000 colours in portrait and landscape modes with video-out port.
  • Completely new one-click application installer.


It’s obvious that with the release of a completely new operating system Palm has already confirmed that it will also release an entirely new family of smartphones (possibly Palm Quatro ?) but here again we have little to no information as to what these new devices might look like.

Having said this, smartphones currently really only have three types of form factors that Palm could use:

  1. Front touchscreen + full QWERTY keyboard (as existing Treo)
  2. Full touchscreen only (as iPhone 3G and BlackBerry Storm)
  3. Full touchscreen + slide-out/tilting keyboard (as HTC Tilt)


In this respect, the recent leak of a prototype image seems to indicate that Palm is working toward the third option above with a full touchscreen and tilting keyboard that would arguably provide the best of both worlds but which may make the device larger and thicker than the other options.

In terms of specifications, the recent Edelweiss and HTC Touch HD smartphones can provide us with some clues as to what we may expect to see inside such a Palm Quatro:

  • Main Display: 3.5” LCD FWVGA at 480 x 850 pixels with 262,000 colours
  • Touch Panel: Capacitive, glass, anti-fingerprints, anti-glare
  • Tactile Feedback: Vibration Feedback
  • Keyboard: full QWERTY with touchpad
  • Memory: 8GB or 16GB Internal
  • Camera: 3.2 Megapixels, autofocus, 3x Digital Zoom
  • Processors: Dual processor (TI OMAP 3 Series Processor + BB Processor)
  • GPS / AGPS: Built-in GPS Module
  • Wireless Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b/g (54Mbps), HSDPA (3.6Mbps), Bluetooth 2.0 (A2DP + AVRCP)
  • Sensors: Tilt, Proximity and Light Sensors with adaptive handling
  • Sync & Charge: MicroUSB connector with _full_ USB 2.0 support
  • Audio Connector: Standard 3.5mm audio jack for stereo headset and voice communication
  • Cellular Technologies: GSM (Quad Band), GPRS, EDGE, WCDMA (UMTS Triple Band)
  • Battery: Removable Lithium Ion, 1450mAh with 8+ hours Talk Time and 550 hours Standby Time
  • Video Codecs: MPEG, MPEG4, H261, H263, H264, 3GP, 1420, OGG, WMV, MOV, QT, ASF, 3GPP
  • Audio Codecs: MP3, WAV, WB/NB, AMR-NB, AAC, AAC+, MIDI, Real Audio
  • Physical Dimensions: ???
  • Weight: ???

Naturally, whatever there is inside this new Palm Quatro it would be a rather welcome development if the design of this new smartphone could be so spectacular that it can become as iconic as the Palm Pilot and Treo have been in the past…


Palm has repeatedly hinted that the release of its new NOVA OS and Quatro smartphones does not spell the end of Palm OS and its Centro family.  Given the superb form factor of the Treo Pro some people suggested that Palm should simply incorporate the Palm OS into this body instead of using Windows Mobile but here again we just don’t know what the company’s plans might be.

It’s not impossible that Palm may use the event at CES to unveil an entirely new ultra-low-cost Centro smartphone with a redesigned form-factor that is much lighter and slimmer…



Aside from all the Palm New-ness Coming at CES the fact is that there are quite a few Treonauts that have been anxiously awaiting the first carrier release of the Treo Pro in the US – a smartphone that I have been _very_ happily using for the last couple of months.

According to the latest leaked Sprint Product Roadmap (screenshot above) I’m delighted to see that we can apparently finally expect the Treo Pro to be released by Sprint on or around January 25th.

The forthcoming availability of a CDMA Treo Pro on top of the existing GSM version now also opens the door for a Verizon Treo Pro to eventually be released in 2009 (possibly within 3 to 6 months after Sprint).  Naturally, I would also like to eventually see the AT&T Treo Pro but so far there has been absolutely no indication of this.


Although expectations are sky-high for what Palm has in store for us at CES the fact is nonetheless that I cannot believe that the company will let us down – it has somehow miraculously escaped demise so many times before with new products that have completely revolutionized or defined a market that the odds are that it may just be able to do so once again…

I’m naturally very curious to hear about what your own dreams/hopes/wishes for the next generation NOVA OS, Palm Quatro, Centro and Treo smartphones are so please take a moment to share your thoughts with your fellow Treonauts via the comments section and/or poll below.

Palm 2.0 Unveiling at CES
Do you believe that Palm can deliver an "extraordinary" new OS running on "gorgeous" new smartphones?

It's very possible
Not likely


Treonauts are always ready for a revolution

Posted by Andrew on December 15, 2008 at 08:53 AM

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by dmm | Dec 15, 2008 9:59:53 AM

Andrew, as I recall Ed Colligan has referred to multiple new form factors--so we may see more than just the design diagrammed above, whatever they unveil in January.

Also, since AT&T has said that they want all their phones to be 3G, I think we may see at least some "under the hood" changes for future Centro products--e.g. a quiet shift to Nova--whether or not any of those changes are evident to the user. I've said before that I would expect something similar to going from the original Zire to the Zire 21 (a quiet jump from Palm OS 4 to 5).

by leon | Dec 15, 2008 5:36:28 PM

Not likely, it's too little too late from where I sit. Palm is done, the only option for Palm lovers is Android...

by EasterBunny | Dec 15, 2008 6:04:50 PM

Ok, I will spill the beans on Palm's big announcement on January 9, 2009. Since Santa has gone Centro, and with Easter looming on the horizon, it is time the Easter Bunny has gone Centro with his own new and improved off pink shell colored Centro! What a way to lay an egg Palm.

by Jay | Dec 15, 2008 9:28:50 PM

I don't believe the many ex-Apple iPod champs that are making the new Palm stuff will allow themselves to fall flat on their faces after so much hype and I've never seen anyone more convinced they have a blowout winner. I believe them. It is the tired & jaded Palm refugees who refuse to see the obvious and keep the faith.

by David | Dec 16, 2008 10:15:40 AM

I'm cautiously optimistic that Palm will come through with a great OS. Honestly, I don't need to see anything earthshattering. If the new OS is on par with other systems available today with the flexibility for future improvements, I'll be very content.

The current OS may not be the slickest thing out there today but it offers the best overall functionality for me. While I want to see a more polished GUI, I don't want an OS that puts polish ahead of performance.

by It Ain't New | Dec 17, 2008 4:46:00 AM

Palm app store

selling and giving away last decade's buggy-ware

by mark | Dec 17, 2008 7:45:22 AM

if they fall flat on their face,
how long would you wait for the next round of announcements?

what would you buy if your patience runs short?

i started with palm when it was just a piece of wood in a shirt pocket.

by Be | Dec 18, 2008 11:45:32 PM

Palm is doomed.

The EX- in EX-Apple is most telling...

Anyone remember Jean Louis Gassee and BeOS?

hmmm, I thought not.

by q | Dec 31, 2008 12:38:09 AM

I would really like them to put the new OS into the Pro. I hope its not that T thing that was rumored.

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