Palm Pre News
Tech Ticker Interview With Roger McNamee of Elevation Partners
A great interview conducted by Sarah Lacy with Roger McNamee from Elevation partners this past Friday at Yahoo! Finance’s Tech Ticker reveals some of the reasons that the company invested in Palm and believes that the new webOS is the operating system to take Palm back to the top.
Among others, McNamee comments about the reaction that John Rubinstein (Palm’s current Chairman) had upon first seeing the new webOS that Palm had been working on: “John [Rubinstein] goes Wow!, this is the next big thing, we’re going to really change the nature of computing, change the nature of technology [over a period of time] around mobile devices.”
Additionally, McNamee discusses the shortcomings that he sees in both the iPhone and BlackBerry compared to the strenghts of the Palm Pre and new webOS which centers on automated functions that “does stuff for you” without you having to constantly “pull” information. In this respect the Palm Pre may very well prove to be the very first “real intelligent” smartphone on the market when it launches later this year.
One of these automated functions includes an integration of GPS, Maps, Clock, Calendar, Contacts and eMail to, for example, that lets people “automatically” know that you’re going to be late for a scheduled meeting via email or SMS.
Palm Pre Battery
Although everybody is delighted that the Pre has a removable battery the lack of hard information regarding the actual battery capacity and battery life had led some to speculate that somehow the battery may prove to be the Pre’s “Achilles’ Heel”.
Having said this, Palm later confirmed that the Pre battery capacity will be 1150mAh – a battery that is identical in dimensions and capacity to the existing standard Centro battery and Treo 800w battery – but still left the rather important matter of battery life untouched.
Given that the small Centro manages to deliver 3.5 hours and the Treo 800w 4.0 hours or Talk Time I have to assume that the Pre will at a minimum fall within the same range but it’s also possible that the new webOS will allow for better battery management and optimization to reach upwards of 5.0 hours and possibly much more.
Best Buy Mobile To Be Exclusive Palm Pre Retailer
The official commercial launch of the Palm Pre is still months away (expected release date between April and June) but some rumours already point to this latest smartphone becoming exclusively available at Best Buy Mobile (in addition to Sprint stores of course) for the first two months following launch (ETA June).
Palm Pre Pricing
The price of the Palm Pre also continues to be a mystery but some quarters are guesstimating that a subsidized (with 2 year contract) unit will range from $149 to $199 while an unsubsidized or Unlocked Palm Pre unit will range from $399 to $499.
Naturally, depending on competitive pressures the actual final pricing of the Palm Pre may prove to be lower to allow this terrific smartphone to more effectively compete against the likes of the iPhone and BlackBerry.
Palm Pre GSM Will Be Available
Although some people have complained about the Palm Pre exclusivity with Sprint for the US market, Palm has nonetheless already confirmed that a GSM version of this smartphone will also become available.
At first this GSM Palm Pre will likely be released in Europe (with rumours that Vodafone will be the carrier of choice) around the same time as the Sprint version becomes available in the US but I anticipate that shortly thereafter an Unlocked Palm Pre priced at $399 or $499 will be available to purchase in the US.
JPMorgan Analyst Dowgrades Palm
In a note to investors today, JPMorgan analyst Paul Coster downgraded Palm from “Overweight” to “Neutral” citing that “we are not prepared to add to positions in the stock ahead of a series of execution challenges”.
Leaving aside investment matters however, Coster also pointed out that “We believe Palm has authored possibly the best (operating system) in the handset market," and "the Pre is a good device too, with specifications that position Palm well in the smartphone market in 2009." Additionally, “we believe PALM can do it; we think the webOS/Pre is sufficiently differentiated to spur demand and cause a major disruption in the global handset industry."
Palm Developer Network
Although it appears likely that the Palm Pre will NOT support existing PalmOS applications the recently unveiled Palm Developer Network website nonetheless points out that “there are a number of ways to migrate data from an existing PDB file (PalmOS) to your new webOS app. Stay tuned for more information for developers with Palm OS applications who want to build webOS applications”.
I am hoping that some developers will be smart enough to offer owners of existing PalmOS applications a considerable discount to entice them to buy the webOS version of their software if/when they make it available.
Why Elevation Partners Invested $425 Million in Palm [Tech Ticker]
Ahead of the Bell: Palm Downgraded [Forbes]
Palm may sell Pre for $149 [Silicon Alley Insider]
Does Palm Pre-fer Best Buy? [Fool.com]
Treonauts always want the latest news…