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Palm Quatro First Picture ?

Possible First Image Of Next Generation Palm Quatro Smartphone Reveals Unusual T-Swivel Design

Palm Quatro

Over the weekend a mysterious new smartphone (pictured above) sporting an unusual “T-Swivel” design with a full size QWERTY keyboard + large rectangular touchscreen made its first appearance and some people are now wondering if this may be one of the new type of devices (branded Quatro?) due to be released by Palm in 2009.


Apparently, the main clue that this may actually be a real prototype of a forthcoming Palm smartphone is the fact that the key layout (detail above) is literally identical to that found on the Centro – for example you can clearly see the top right “P” key showing the “Screen Brightness” function and the rubber keyboard may also be a clue.

Separately, under the keyboard we also get to see what appears to be a touchpad/trackpad as well as two dedicated but unlabeled hard buttons on either side.  At the top front of the device we also have a camera (for video calling) as well as the familiar round 5Way button and four dedicated buttons.

The interesting thing about this narrow “T-Swivel” design is that unlike other smartphones with a sliding keyboard (such as the T-Mobile G1) you can actually use it with just one hand – something that I personally find extremely important. 

In this respect, the fact is that after much experimentation most smartphones fall under one of three design types below:

  1. Touchscreen-Only (such as iPhone, BlackBerry Storm and HTC Touch HD)
  2. Front Keyboard + Small Screen (Treo, Centro, BlackBerry Bold)
  3. Combination Full Touchscreen + Sliding/Swivel Keyboard (T-Mobile G1, HTC Tilt)

A creative Treonaut had recently also suggested a large rectangular flip screen + front keyboard (concept image below) but the drawback is that it would make the smartphone extremely long and therefore not particularly practical.


In terms of this Palm Quatro and its T-Swivel design I have to say that I’m not against the concept as long as the actual device looks great.  Unfortunately, for now at least the images of this prototype reveal a smartphone that is quite honestly extremely ugly and I sincerely hope that (if true) it will actually look considerably more polished when released.

In the meantime, as the final weeks of the year keep passing by, like many the biggest question on my mind remains whether Palm will actually make good on its promise to “unveil the new NOVA OS before the end of the year”… 

Mysterious T-swivel handset appears on Korean site [via Engadget]
Roteo Concept [via TC Forums]

Treonauts always want to be first

Posted by Andrew on December 8, 2008 at 08:52 AM

Palm Quatro

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by Glenn | Dec 8, 2008 9:38:31 AM

Is that a webcam next to the speaker?

by Palm Fail | Dec 8, 2008 9:58:43 AM


aka Foleo II

by David | Dec 8, 2008 10:45:13 AM

Not very appealing to me. It just looks awkward. While I would love a larger screen, I don't think this is the way to go. I'm not opposed to a slide-out keyboard like the Xperia although I do like single-handed operation. It all comes down to what concessions we're willing to make in our devices.

by BlankReg | Dec 8, 2008 10:46:45 AM

Looks to be a prototype, so there should be much tweaking before a production version. Shame people like "Palm Fail" refuse to even give it a chance. I for one look forward to anything Palm might be doing to move things forward. I saw on a different board that this was supposed to be from sometime back in June, so perhaps much has happened since then. Who knows, but I'll be following it with much interest.

by Sam | Dec 8, 2008 11:12:57 AM

What an ugly looking phone. What are they going for? The Star Trek tri-corder look? Go back to the drawing board Palm.

by CrackheadBob | Dec 8, 2008 11:16:40 AM

Uh oh, is that a crack I see on the right top side of the Quattro? Perhaps Palm should address the cracking problem of the Treo Pro before marketing or releasing a new device that looks prone to the same manufacturing defect.

by lord | Dec 8, 2008 11:40:45 AM

I've switched over to the Nokia E71, & I love it.

Palm seems to be years behind in development. Pity, I was using Treos for many years. Needed a phone with wifi & 3g for work, so had to make the switch.

by dmm | Dec 8, 2008 12:04:39 PM

If you look closely, the "crack" in the top left is actually countouring for the phone speaker. And I definitely hope that--just like some of the "ugly" prototype shots of the Centro--that the final device looks more refined than this.

I'm hard-put to say whether or not I'd go for this device. I've always liked the simple "grab-and-use" style of the Treo/Centro, even if that means a smaller square screen. A slider or this swivel design generally means a thicker device (less appealing to keep in a pocket) and requires moving parts to access the keyboard. On the upside, as Andrew said, it looks like you can use this one one-handed--whether or not you can open the keyboard one-handed!--and that may be the only design option to combine the one-handed keyboard with a bigger screen.

And we haven't even seen it with the screen on yet!

by dmm | Dec 8, 2008 12:05:59 PM

Oh, and as someone said on WMExperts, they could have used one of these in Iron Man (unlike the Verizon phone that wouldn't actually roam in the middle of Afghanistan!).

by TazUk | Dec 8, 2008 12:08:18 PM

@lord, Palm make two smartphones which have both Wi-Fi and 3G ;o) I also wouldn't clasify them as years behind in development either :o\

@Sam, it's a prototype so obviously looks pretty rough.

by Joe | Dec 8, 2008 12:35:15 PM

Andrew, you've mentioned many times that it's important to you to be able to use the keyboard one-handed. Why? What is your other hand doing while you're typing? (And please don't say "driving", the world does not need people texting or making to-do items while driving...)

You can answer too, dmm. :)

by Michael | Dec 8, 2008 1:01:21 PM

Definitely a device I would never ever spend any dollar for.

by Cary Conover | Dec 8, 2008 1:38:31 PM

Man, Talk about a short attention span and unwillingness to look to see what is versus the rush to judgement as to the form and feature. Proto Types are just that. They have a base on what is concieved. Limited to do with what will be. But in base form or fashion.

Jeeze. it is no wonder it is so damned hard to bring anything to market. Sure Foleo died on the vine. Much pent up anger over Palm taking forever to develope the new OS and next gen device.

Come on folks. Sure. Post Constructive Critiques. But if you have NOTHING Good to say, as my Mom always taught me. Keep your mouth shut!!!

by Cary Conover | Dec 8, 2008 1:58:29 PM

Personally, the form factor is not exactly clean. I would like a thinner flip screen that slides to the side. This looks to thick. yes prototype.

Also would like to see the new OS on this thing.

Additionally if this is what it appears to be described as on the Korean Site UMPC? I would think it would be more of a cross over device. Not Foleo like and Not Palm Like. Still one hand operation is good.

I wonder what this feels like in your hands.

Oh, by the way. Koreans have been using Cool looking flat slide to the side screens for the past three years. They work VERY well. I have seen then while traveling. So This is just a proto type I expect it to be closer to the Yahoo UMPC in style but a tad smaller more like the Pro in size but with the slide to the side screen.

Also I applaud the much larger screen. This means a real web browser and screen sensing flip are likely similar to iPhone or gphone.

I have a feeling the process is well underway to refine this little device and give us a much more refined looking final product.

by dmm | Dec 8, 2008 2:08:40 PM


Ok, off the top of my head...

- eating lunch (e.g. sandwich, soup, sushi) in a restaurant or food court, normally while reading email or web articles on the Treo; I also remember one urgent phone call that came in while at lunch--so I had to hold the Treo and keep hitting mute each time I went to take a bite! (I was talking through a Bluetooth headset.)

- looking up an address in Google Maps while holding/referring to a business card/scrap of paper

- holding an umbrella (over the Treo as well as over me!) while I look up a bus schedule on the Treo

- switching between my laptop and my Treo, especially if I'm waiting for web pages to load on either

- walking along carrying a bag of groceries when I need to look something up on the Treo

In a nutshell, it's faster/boosts my overall efficiency if I can be using the Treo, easily, while doing something else. This is the idea that Palm and Sprint were trying to capture with their commercials when the Centro launched ("so efficient they'll wonder how many of you there are" or words to that effect).

Definitely not driving in my case, as for the time being I don't have a car.

by Will Robinson | Dec 8, 2008 2:57:43 PM

Paging Palm Developers, paging Palm Developers, Will Robinson wants his abacus "smart" phone back.

by TazUk | Dec 8, 2008 3:20:54 PM

Continuing dmm's list

Writing a note whilst viewing information.

Looking something up whilst on a land line.

A device which only requires one hand to achieve a task is surely preferable to one that requires two?

by Joe | Dec 8, 2008 6:01:50 PM

@dmm, @TazUk ...

Thanks for the feedback, some useful thoughts there. Though several of the items listed between the two of you were tasks where I'd expect little or no typing to be required. I have no question that being able to USE the device one-handed is valuable; e.g. checking your calendar, answering a call, etc. A touchscreen and a good UI can help a lot to enable that sort of operation. But for actually typing any significant amount of text, even if it's physically possible to use the device one-handed (e.g. Treo form factor), IMHO one's productivity is much less than 50% of what it'd be with two hands. IOW, on my Treo I can probably type 3x-4x faster with two hands than with one -- thus making one-handed typing quite undesirable overall.

by Ellen | Dec 8, 2008 9:11:39 PM

Oh no! Please tell me this is a joke.

by BillBlass | Dec 8, 2008 11:07:22 PM

uhh, with the mousepad replacing the d-pad and the awkward swivel T-shape brick thick form factor, you might as well haul a 8" laptop. If this is a prototype, Palm should fire the development team.

by dmm | Dec 8, 2008 11:53:03 PM

For me at least, I do tend to do anything that involves major typing with both thumbs. And if something involves that much typing, I normally want to make that the main thing I'm focusing on anyway. However, there are a lot of cases where I want to navigate/type something short/just hit a few buttons--which I am glad to be able to do one-handed. That's something I couldn't do at all with a slider. I might be able to with the T-swivel device shown above (depending on how it balances, and I'd like to have more than a picture to gauge that from).

Remember, everything so far indicates that that's a prototype, not whether it's going into production--or what changes have been made since that prototype stage.

by Jos van Swaaij | Dec 9, 2008 3:44:23 AM

Looks like a dummy to me. It's hard to believe they will release it like that in 2009. They are probably making it thinner and the keyboard is probably used as an example to support an idea. In that line of thinking: the touchpad might be a directional pad missing the button.
However I would welcome such touchpad for scrolling pages. It would save you finger prints on your touchscreen.

by Chan | Dec 9, 2008 5:53:36 AM


Bye bye Palm!

by OKwithIt | Dec 10, 2008 4:08:23 AM

It's just a prototype! I like it. Please hurry, Palm. I like a treo-style keyboard that can be used with one just hand. Loathe the wide slideouts, such as the HTC Touch, etc. Everyone, maybe this thing can be used both with or without the keyboard—that would be awesome.

by OKwithIt | Dec 10, 2008 4:09:51 AM

It's just a prototype! I like it. Please hurry, Palm. I like a treo-style keyboard that can be used with one just hand. Loathe the wide slideouts, such as the HTC Touch, etc. Everyone, maybe this thing can be used both with or without the keyboard—that would be awesome.

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