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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

Palm-Pre-BatteryAlthough 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

Palm-Pre-Best-BuyThe 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

Palm-Pre-PriceThe 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

Palm-Pre-GSMAlthough 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.

News Sources:
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


Posted by Andrew on January 20, 2009 at 12:35 PM

Palm Pre

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Comments

1
by Joe | Jan 20, 2009 3:15:07 PM

Actually, as far as battery life goes, the fear is that the battery life will be much inferior to the Centro or 800w, because the same battery has much higher demands: more hardware and more complex software. I'm guessing that Palm's reluctance to publish runtime estimates isn't a good sign.

2
by PalmNut | Jan 20, 2009 3:37:58 PM

This video is great! I only hope that his utility belt become lighter with the new Pre in his hand. Check out more of my thoughts on http://palmnut.blogspot.com

3
by Dennis | Jan 20, 2009 3:48:10 PM

If out of the box the Pre don't import my calendar, tasks, contacts etc, then I'm not that interested as that would just confirm how much they care about their users...

4
by q | Jan 20, 2009 5:32:29 PM

Excellent video. McNamee makes some great points. I am really interested about some of the other platforms Palm may have in store.

5
by serge ouaknine | Jan 20, 2009 6:52:49 PM

I had 10 years of fidelity to Palm because:
1) It was Mac OS compatible
2) No way for me to dive into the Windows nightmare
3) I had a huge amount of datas in my addressbook
4) Besides lots of missing elements ( good photos, wifi, etc) I enjoyed pretty well thought machines...
5) Nice to read books, write notes, and have access to a lot of dictionaries etc.

If all this is gone with the the Palm pro and the Palm pré what Palm expect from me with this saga of Pro/pré...
Do you find this smart and fair?
Hello Andrew are you listening ?
Will you answer only once to my questions ?

6
by Marc | Jan 20, 2009 8:32:27 PM

This guy is a kook. Elevation Partners has thrown so much good money after bad over the years by investing in Palm. This guy will say anything to hype the company and the stock.

The Pre and webOS were a pleasant surprise from Palm when they were unveiled at CES. However, I don't think it's the game changer or home run that was needed. Had they released the Pre and webOS years ago when they promised a new OS, they would have beaten Apple and everyone else to the party with a new groundbreaking device. Instead, they are introducing a phone in the summer of 2009 that isn't much different then what Apple already delivered (the iPhone will have been out 2 years by the time the Pre and webOS are released).

The bottom line is that when you consider how long Palm has been stringing people along, what they delivered doesn't cut it and isn't anything innovative.

7
by Jro | Jan 22, 2009 9:05:03 PM

My concern is the keypad is that weak little squishy form like the Centro. I have used multiple keypads and the Treo 755p is in a class of it's own. Does anyone have word on what the keypad will feel like?

8
by dmm | Jan 23, 2009 9:30:04 AM

Joe--While you're right that the Pre will put more demands on the battery than the Centro or possibly the Treo 800w (both of which use that same battery as the Pre probably will), I attribute Palm's waiting on providing battery life estimates to the fact that they're still optimizing it. Yes, it would have been nice if they'd been able to use the Treo Pro's battery; that would have made for a bigger device, though. I've read in several places that it's engineered down to the last millimeter--and that therefore the microSD slot that we'd also like to see was "squeezed out"...

9
by dp | Jan 29, 2009 4:14:36 PM

Don't forget that the Pre uses an all-new CPU, which has far superior power management capabilities. We may be pleasantly surprised by the battery life, but at a minimum I don't think we'll be disappointed vis-a-vis the competition.

10
by david | Feb 10, 2009 9:51:54 AM

Must support legacy apps. Must support Java apps and Flash websites, including Flash video.

MUST SUPPORT LEGACY APPS.

These guys are fools if they think alienating their huge installed user base is a sound market decision. Surely this hot new processor and lean OS has the cycles to run the entire OS5 in emulation. I'll jump like a cricket on a frying pan when that happens.

11
by JeffO | Mar 2, 2009 5:45:05 PM

Does anybody know if the Pre will have any kind of memory card slot like the Treo's of Palm past.

I think the onboard 8GB plus ability to swap micro sd cards or the like would give the pre a huge advantage to any iphone. Can't imagine Palm would be dumb enough not to build that into this new device, but I have not seen any mention of it anywhere.

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