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Palm Pre & webOS Unveiled

Palm Finally Unveils Next-Generation webOS and Pre Smartphone


A couple of weeks ago I had mentioned that I wanted nothing less than for all people leaving Palm’s CES event to say “Wow, WOw, WOW!!!” and overall I think that this is exactly what happened earlier today as a crowd of hundreds of journalists witnessed the unveiling of the long awaited next-generation Palm webOS and Pre Smartphone.

There is no doubt in my mind that we were all privileged to have attended one of the most important events of the year and the moment that Palm began its turnaround – the Pre smartphone promises to be an absolutely awesome success when it is released later this year…


There’s a lot of information to digest and I suggest that you first take a look at the Palm website where you’ll find features, details, screenshots, video and a gallery of images of this amazing Pre smartphone while I head over to the CES convention center to actually get my hands on one.

In the meantime, I’m naturally extremely curious to hear what your first thoughts on both the webOS and Pre smartphone are so please take a moment to share these with your fellow Treonauts via the survey below:

Palm Pre Smartphone & webOS
How impressed are you by Palm's new Pre smartphone and webOS?

  Ultra Cool: I'm so excited I wet my pants
  Super Cool: Could not be more excited
  Cool: Not bad but I wanted more
  Uncool: Thanks but no thanks

Treonauts are always ultra cool

Posted by Andrew on January 8, 2009 at 06:21 PM

Palm Pre

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» Meet the Palm Pre and new webOS from Mobility Mind
Palm has announced their new-ness : a new smartphone called the Palm Pre, powered by the new Palm OS called webOS (formerly code named Nova). Palm Pre (whats with the name?) certainly looks like a nice phone. I agree with Carlo ... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 8, 2009 7:56:08 PM


by Sicdude | Jan 9, 2009 10:17:10 AM

I'm pretty annoyed that it's a Sprint exclusive. I'm on AT&T and am not leaving any time soon. That aside I have a few more questions...

1)Release Date?
3)Flash Support in the browser?
4)Audio/Video supported formats out of the box?

by SB | Jan 9, 2009 10:32:56 AM

I was excited to see the palm smartphone...I have been a palm user for over 10yrs and still love my 680 but looking to upgrade....and still unsure...I never could bring my self to change to WM or iPhone...due to the ease of palm os and the volume of software I currently own for my current palm...I have 2 disappointments first the exclusiveness with Sprint...I am a AT&T user and still in contract....would change if available on AT&T and secondly the backwards compatibility...I have many time tested software I just don't want to loose...I hope palm listens and makes the minor tweeks before the big release....But, I do like the design and I am sure once seen in hand will like better...hard to determine from a photo...I have my fingers crossed and will hang in there for now......

by Benny | Jan 9, 2009 10:50:25 AM

Have been a long time Palm user:

Had a Handspring visor, then a Treo 600, now a Treo 680. I've been in the market for a new smartphone for a while, and was intrigued by the HTC Touch Pro (Fuze) and Nokia N97.... However, I really wanted to stay loyal to Palm.

The new phone looks cool and the OS seems to have a lot of potential. However, while yesterday's teaser provided some answers, it also created several questions. I'm hoping Andrew, in all his divine wisdom, might have the ability to seek these out:

First the OS / Software.

On Palms website, it has a fairly limited number of supported audio and video formats. I like to use my Treo to watch a TV show while I'm at the Gym. Does the phone support video formats, such as .avi and .wma? If not, will TCPMP be available for this OS.

While it's great that 3rd party developers can create programs with ease, when they are dveloping programs that are just better versions of Palms existing UI (i.e., TCPMP, Agendus, etc.), it not only adds unnecessary icons to your program list, but it also hints that Palms functionality could be easily improved.

In addition, do you know if the packaged OS will include applications that can support Office documents?

They did a great job talking about the integrated IM/ texting, but they didn't mention multimedia messaging (a significant problem for th iPhone). Do you know if it supports this?

Also, does the phone support MP3 ringtones (Again, I initially had to get a 3rd party software for this on my Treo 680)?

Does the OS have front screen "widget like functionality" (like the N97), where weather, news, to-dos will be on my front screen?

While I assume there will be a dedicated facebook app, will there be a dedicated You-Tube app? Can you watch other online videos, like TV shows found on (NBC.com, ABC.com, etc.) Furthermore, does the OS support Flash?

Will it run existing Palm software? I'm not too concerned if it doesn't, but there are programs I would like (i.e., Sling Player for a Sling Box).

Does the phone support any voice commands?

What will the desktop application look like, or will there be one?

Now for the hardware:

Again the phone looks quite usable. I really like the slide out keyboard that allows for a larger screen. Furthermore, the arched slide method minimizes bulk and makes the tilted screen layout a bit easier to read. But again, there are several questions.

First the expansion. Just as others have said, While 8GB is a good start, I am disappointed with the lack of a micro SDHC slot. Take the Nokia N97. That thing is going to have 32GB of storage plus a micro SD expansion. They said there is miniUSB for mass storage, but I assume that means to link to a computer. I need more info on this.

Next, what is the battery size? It's great that it's removable, but how long of a life are we talking about here? Anything less than 1500 (unless palm has done something to run on significantly less power) might be an issue.

Does the camera record video? Is there a zoom?

Andrew, you're the man who has the ability to answer these. Please help. I'm really exicted about this phone, and I want to stay excited about it.

by Dave N | Jan 9, 2009 11:09:08 AM

After being a loyal palm user since the early days (Handspring Visor(s), Kyocera 7135, Treo 650, Treo 700p), I ditched my dying 700p for the ATT Fuze. Sure it took some getting used to with the OS, and I really didn't want to go to Windows, but I think this phone is one the best out there now. Does everything the Treo did + more. My decision was based on the fact that PALM in the past has taken forever to come out with anything innovative. When they do, it seems they have come out with rebranded HTC offerings ie. 750 and Treo Pro (check out the XDA Forums here http://forum.xda-developers.com/ ) So if I was to move to something new (even in the Palm line), and I wanted something fully customizable, huge developer support, and had tons of programs. (that somewhat reminds me of the early Palm/Handspring days). I would move to real HTC phone, rather than a Windows phone in a palm shell like the 750 and the Palm Pro. I just don't think this new Treo is going to be **it**. Maybe after a few more releases we'll start to see more support from Palm. ESPECIALLY by way of firmware releases. We'll see... I'm optimistic for Palm. Maybe they will win me back in the future.

by Darlene | Jan 9, 2009 11:11:44 AM

I have been a Palm user since Palm Professional years ago. I have always used the Palm platform and now have a Treo 755p (Sprint). On this new phone I have a couple of questions?
1. It looks like there is no expansion file for large files etc? Is that true.
2. Also it looks like the headphone and charging area share the same hole? If that is so are there splitters available so that you can charge it while listening to the ear piece?
3. As others have mentioned I have an alot of third party software that I use. Do I end up loosing all my investment in software if I decide to change phones.

I like the design and touch screen however 8 mgs isn't alot of room. I have a 4 mg card that I fill up and I am concerned about not having the additional card space if indeed this phone doesn't have one.

Any answers to my questions would be appreciatied.


by Dale | Jan 9, 2009 11:31:17 AM

I think Palm's deal with Sprint was the right thing to do. That deal will likely mean the Pre ships at least 1 million units in its first year, and that is revenue that Palm really, really needs. If they had come out with an unlocked CDMA or GSM unit, sales would have been a fraction of what they will be now. Face it: we technophiles are the minority here; most buyers will simply pick something from what their carrier is offering.

As to Sprint itself, Palm's options were limited; AT&T has made a huge commitment to Apple, so the only other major player was Verizon. I'm sure Palm approached them, and I'm equally sure that Sprint made a better offer.

And, I'm just as sure that there will eventually be unlocked CDMA and GSM units available, after an exclusivity period. I don't like it either, but that's the way this market works right now.

I second the comments from others that Palm has to get this device out to the market ASAP, while the buzz is hot. But if they have to delay the launch a week or two to add that microSD slot, I can live with that!

I'm hoping that "Pre" means it is the Pre-cursor to a whole range of innovative devices from Palm :-)

by Dale | Jan 9, 2009 11:33:40 AM

Oh, and ps: we're a developer of mobile enterprise applications. The Pre will be at the top of our list of target platforms for our upcoming app.

by David | Jan 9, 2009 11:35:46 AM

I'm impressed. Great look, nice interface. Love the multi-tasking.

Price? That's my big question. I have to believe Palm recognizes that the Pre must be competitive with the iPhone. I'm guessing it'll be in the $350-$400 price range.

Backward compatibility? Not addressed at the unveiling but I can understand why. The debut of Pre was about looking forward...something Palm has not been associated with lately. My gut tells me it will be backward compatible to PalmOS 5.0.

Sprint? Not a concern for me because that's my carrier. Their data plan is 1/3 the price of Verizon and it's it's truly unlimited, unlike Verizon's "unlimited - wink, wink" data plan. If people want the Pre bad enough, they'll switch. Customers have shown that they'll go where the phone is.

All in all, I can see myself getting one when they're available. I just want to see more details about it's built-in software and how it will handle some of my favorite apps.

by RoyJames | Jan 9, 2009 11:38:26 AM

After looking at several videos of the Treo Pre, I will admit, it is a nice form factor phone. Iphone is a great phone for college students and young kids who want to watch youtube videos and listen to music. As a business user, the iphone does not suit my needs and is inferior to other smartphones on the market. I like that the Treo Pre preserved the qwerty keyboard while increasing screen space. It may be a tad thicker (than the Treo Pro) but the egg round shape design looks very comfortable in hand. Unfortunately, I think Palm stole its own thunder from the Treo Pre by announcing its future availability exclusively at Sprint. I would never go to Sprint, even if they sold the messiah of all smartphones. Sprint simply has an inferior network, terrible customer service and fastest customer turnover rate. And, I bet the Treo Pre will retail at about $499.00 with a 2 year contract. Overall, nice phone, bad marketing.

by t | Jan 9, 2009 11:59:58 AM

I've got to say this looks like a brilliant device. Watching the demos I'm really impressed. I especially like how you can integrate multiple calendars and combine the work with personal items. This has always been a problem with me. Who wants to store personal contacts and appointments on a work server?
Also the interface is slick. Nothing wrong with taking concepts that work on the iphone and adapting them and making them better. Given how fast this device runs, I can see now why they were calling it laptop like speeds.
I expect they might consider re-introducing the Foleo. I know there are a lot of naysayers out there, but I can see how it was released too early. With a device that acts more like a laptop, the Foleo could make more sense.

Cons: I have to agree I wish there wasn't these exclusivity deals. After all this waiting, you just have to wait x many more months? Another first launch with EVDO. Uggh. But, I'm sure it made financial sense to them. I will be waiting though, because I am truely won over.

BTW, one complaint about Treonauts though. This has always been a favorite blog, but I've got to say that I'm a little disappointed in the coverage of this release. I know a big review blog entry is coming, but I would have expected a little more live coverage. I found that Engadget and others were live blogging. Now that's a great way to feed us nerds useless gadget info live and distract us from work! I'm not going to stop visiting, but maybe next time you can link up and do it on your Pre?!?

by t | Jan 9, 2009 12:01:30 PM

Oh, and I agree 110% with RoyJames.

by POWinCA | Jan 9, 2009 12:38:23 PM

I'll refrain from "wetting my pants" until after I see it.

I eagerly awaited the Treo 800w and it was a piece of garbage. I've been teased by the Treo Pro and haven't even been able to find one to hold in my hand.

To those who say Sprint sucks...yeah, yeah, yeah, we ALL say that about our carrier. I've had all of them and ALL their customer service sucks. Sprint is cheap and the coverage is very good. Their problem is that they bullied Palm for years. This phone and the Pro should have hit the market more than a year ago.

I agree that Sprint and Palm might die soon due to their own stupidity and lack of talent and imagination. It's a shame that the inventor of the smartphone wasn't very smart!

I agree with others about the lack of price, launch date, and other serious information. It tells me that their research, innovation, development and marketing resources are severely strained!

Pre? The name SUCKS. Every single one of us users know it, but the overpaid blondes with big boobs and Wharton MBA's in their marketing department couldn't figure it out?

It's time to start short-selling Palm company stock.

by CL65 Drvr | Jan 9, 2009 12:38:41 PM

Why is it a shock to you guys that they are going with sprint? These companies always pick one carrier first then to the rest. And yes, 25% of the market is pretty big so i dont fault them for going to sprint. And for those complaining that you dont get good reception in your house on Sprint, I suggest you move out of the boonies ;)

by SiamTong | Jan 9, 2009 1:09:34 PM

Treo Pre? As in PRE-historic? The EVDO network of Sprint is certainly just that. What a shame for such a promising looking gadget. I wonder if it will have less bugs than the 800w or share the same "cracking" problem of the Pro.

by PhilR8 | Jan 9, 2009 3:26:55 PM

Love how Sprint's EvDO network is being called "prehistoric" even though it is currently the fastest in the US and has a great coverage footprint. Huh.

@David(Post 33):

Sprint has a 5GB softcap, so it's not truly unlimited anymore. I'm a bigtime Sprint fanboy, but the cap sucks. Oh well, I've only gone over once or twice and they didn't say anything.

by Dale | Jan 9, 2009 4:52:37 PM

Ah! Now I see why there's no microSD slot:


They're going to put in a 2 terabyte SDXC slot instead.

I approve :-)

by Dale | Jan 9, 2009 4:55:06 PM

BTW, I see that Palm stock has just broken through $5.25 - which means that in the last 24 hours, Elevation Partner's $100 million investment has just appreciated by about $750 million.

Recession? What recession?

by jc | Jan 9, 2009 10:54:44 PM

I'm excited to see that palm has finally released a new phone I would consider buying. I went from my palm 755p to the 800w & have been regreting it. I can't wait to get my hands on this new phone. Luckily I do have Sprint & I get great signal in my area. But, I think Palm should've considered at least providing the phone to both Sprint & Verizon since they both seem to use CDMA. Just my opinion.

by 2little2late | Jan 9, 2009 11:37:28 PM

Looks like it was a good time for me to make the switch to the Storm the day it came out. I was really hoping palm would have proved me wrong with this release but they didnt. Dont see any major improvements over what is already out now. A slide out keypad is horrible.. Who knows how long that will keep up... I see it being a problem after extensive opening and closing. I was a Treo owner from the 600 days but Verizon didnt pick any new Treos up in time for my upgrade so I went with the Storm and happy I did... Looks like I made the right decision... bye bye palm...........................

by dgarts | Jan 10, 2009 11:35:29 AM

I must admit being a little overwhelmed and euphoric while following the presentation via live blog. But, as the dust is settling, some significant questions still remain that are rather troubling...before I mention them, I must say that the multitasking functionality on the Palm webOS is phenomenal, breathtaking, absolutely incredible, for a handheld platform. Alone, that singularly told me Palm has put some solid effort into this. Good for them, good for us. But, not so fast.... some questions still remain...

- no desktop? Hopefully, they were focused on showing the newness and the good old desktop is still around, but just with nothing new. But if I'm wrong and there really is no desktop, I'm troubled.

- no expansion slot? If this and the above are true, then how in the world do we back up our information? That's one of the hallmarks of the Palm PIM's strength. If my arm is bumped on the subway and I drop my Treo and the screen cracks and I don't want to bother replacing the screen, I can just buy a new GSM handheld, pop in my SD card with RescoBackup, his restore system and in 10 minutes my new handheld has all the information and settings I had in the other, I'm good to go. If my arm is bumped and my handheld goes over the ferry rail into the Hudson, I get a new handheld (GSM makes that easy) and hotsync and I'm back in business losing only what went with my palm to the bottom of the ocean. Which brings me to...

- No GSM, CDMA only? Sprint only? C'mon. That's an area of newness we'd really have liked, where the telco is no longer wagging the dog. We (the people around the world) need access to this new handheld. They should have ironed out and published with this presentation a better distribution plan. Seriously.

- this whole cloud thing...if there's no desktop, and now expansion slot, does that mean my Pre is a beautiful brick when I'm in the subway or otherwise not connected to the web? I really hope that, with 8GB on board, my information is on my handheld and not dependent upon being always connected to the internet in order to function. That'd be going from the extreme of not integrating with the web smoothly enough to the extreme of depending too much on it when so much of what the PDA "prosumer" does may be web-independent.

- does all this web dependence mean we'll be paying a mortgage payment to our provider? If so, that better mean

- the price is affordable for regular people. But wait, pricing has not been announced at all, and the early indication if rumours are true is that the price point is aiming higher than $200, which in combination with the limited access through only one carrier on only CDMA standards translates to not a lot of sales. Not good.

- and perhaps the concern I've read the least about...if my contacts are updated with the information from my Facebook and the information from my friends' Facebook page...does that mean when I set up the Synergy component of the Pre, I've got to store all my IDs and passwords and Pre is continuously hitting those sights, signing in, and updating itself? If so, Palm has never been the most secure OS...what have they done about security? Does the new webOS have some kind of encryption? And how will it prevent unauthorized access to my Pre? That same old password login? If the Pre is locked and the phone rings, do I have to enter a password to answer the phone? Once the call is answered, can I while talking update the contact or set a calendar appointment without a password? If I can, that's not secure. If I can't, that's inconvenient.

I suppose in this area there will be opportunity for 3rd party developers to come up with a decent security approach. I tested and reviewed some forms of additional security/encryption for another Palm blog http://mytreo.net/uncategorized/discussing-treo-data-security/ and I was unimpressed any single app at that time was sufficiently better than the thin security of Garnet to justify spending more money on one, so it may remain a challenge for some developer to take a stab at.

by Sam | Jan 10, 2009 1:24:53 PM

No stylus and no SD (or microSD) card?

by Ben | Jan 10, 2009 5:52:09 PM

I'm Super-Stoked for the Pre

by dmm | Jan 10, 2009 8:55:55 PM

For people saying "I'm disappointed Palm went with a Sprint exclusive," remember that most exclusive agreements last 3 months. I can only think of 2 that were longer, both on AT&T: the iPhone, which is longer than any other I've ever seen, and the Razr, which was extended because it was selling like crazy.

For more typical exclusives, look to Palm's history: the Treo 600, 650, 755p and the Centro all debuted as Sprint exclusives in the US. Yes, it was frustrating for those of us on other carriers to wait. Yes, it would have been good if Palm had done a multi-carrier launch. Unfortunately, they didn't.

I have to say, though, that other than the removal of the microSD card and the question of how to sync to local data--since there are some things I don't want in the cloud!--I'm optimistic about the Pre. And I predict that someone will come out with a Bluetooth portable hard drive or something to offer local expansion capability. I plan to get one as soon as I can get an unlocked GSM one--and since Palm has confirmed that there will be a GSM model, I'm counting on them offering it unlocked. They've done it with every single GSM phone since the 600. The good thing: that gives me a little time to save a few pennies for it--as someone pointed out, we're in a recession.

by Rick Fiero | Jan 10, 2009 11:05:05 PM

Good luck to Palm! Pre has some good features and it will take time to see how well the system works. It will also take some time to see what apps are created for it and how well the apps work. Pre has potential and cannot be wholly written off at this point but Palm and Sprint ... will have to get this moving.

One feature that I would like to see because it can and will serve those that use phones and hand held devices is the realization of a simple yet profound change in the physical interface of such devices. The current interface continues because that is what is known and that is what we, as humans, tend to see- that which is familiar.

What would profoundly affect the use of such devices for humans is to place the keyboard above the display. This is how the human hand is designed- the thumbs are up. This realization makes these devices easier to use with greater function, makes them more secure in the hand and is less stressful on the hand. Placing the keys up would be a paradigm changing event.

by prepost | Jan 11, 2009 1:18:21 AM

Once upon a time...Palm led the way with the first decent Smartphone, then let everyone else steadily steal their potential customers because they stuck with on OS that was too simple, had a lousy browser, and was minimally adopted. It appears that some of the folks that originated the smartphone at palm finally took the leap and realized that old palm apps just aren't worth going out of business for....and applied themselves to what customers actually use now rather than 5 years ago. Bravo, looks like a winner.

As for the Sprint discontents out there, it appears that you watch and actually believe all the ATT and Verizon commercials about their coverage, and don't give Sprint its due b/o the stupid CEO commercials Sprint airs. Fortunately the CEO at Sprint doesn't actually run the network which works well, albeit with less exaggerated promises than the other chains.

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