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Palm Touchstone For Pre In Your Car

Options To Charge Your Pre With The Palm Touchstone Charging Dock In Your Car


There’s no doubt that one of the very coolest accessories for any smartphone in the world today is the Palm Touchstone Charging Dock pictured above – a small base and battery cover that allows you to charge your new Palm Pre wirelessly (without the need to have a physical cable directly plugged into your device) and which even iPhoniacs crave.

Strong magnets on the Touchstone Dock combined with small metal plates built into the Palm Touchstone Back Cover (included as part of the kit) ensure that your Pre is securely attached to the base at all times (you can turn your Touchstone upside down and the Pre will still hold on).

As I found out to my delight, the Touchstone Dock is also an ideal solution to hold and charge your Palm Pre in the car (I tested with both the Palm Vehicle Power Charger and Motorola MicroUSB Car Charger).  As some Preonauts have discovered however, the Touchstone will unfortunately not work in all car models – some 12–Volt car adapters such as the one found in my Infinity FX35 and many BMW’s work fine but others simply don’t appear to deliver enough power…

I haven’t decided exactly where I’ll position the Touchstone in my car yet but it will be either on the dashboard (using velcro or industrial strength double sided tape) or somewhere in my center console (where my 12–Volt adapter is actually located).  Ideally though, I would like to see Palm come out with a specially designed Touchstone for the car at some point in the future.


Another determined Preonaut actually wanted an even “cleaner” in-car Pre charging solution – one that would show no wires and that would fit seamlessly in his center console so he mounted a Touchstone on the center console of his BMW (2008 335 convertible pictured above) and ran a Sprint car charger with a mini-USB connector from the Touchstone to the car's electrical system.

The above setup will clearly not work well if you’re planning to rely on the built-in GPS navigation capabilities of your Palm Pre (where you need to have the device in front of you) but if all you want to is to have an elegant and discrete solution to simply charge your smartphone without having to regularly plug and unplug wires then I can’t think of a better option.

Separately, please note that the Palm Touchstone kit will be available in four flavours:

  1. The first one provides you with one Charging Dock + one Back Cover but no wall charger (MSRP $69.99)
  2. The second provides you with one Charging Dock only with no Back Cover to use as a secondary unit in your car or at the office (MSRP $49.99)
  3. The third provides you with one Charging Dock + one International Wall Charger (MSRP $79.99)
  4. The fourth provides you two Charging Docks + one Back Cover + one International Wall Charger (MSRP $139.99)

Also, if you have already tested the Touchstone in your car and it works please let your fellow Preonauts know what car and model you have via the comments link below.

[BMW Touchstone image via ismashphone]

Preonauts are always fully charged

Posted by Andrew on June 19, 2009 at 12:59 PM

Palm Pre Accessories

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by Rick | Jun 20, 2009 3:34:56 PM

I had to use a power inverter to plug my usb and palm carger into then connect that to the touchstone. the car usb charging cable couldn't run the touchstone. I have a subaru impreza. It doesn't make sense to me that the type of car should make a diffence though. I may try to use different usb adapters as power sources for my usb cable later though.

by stop the false advertising | Jun 23, 2009 8:31:37 PM

It's not wireless

stop the false advertising

by IgP | Jun 24, 2009 2:01:49 PM

Are you kidding me? It's obvious to anyone with a higher than a 4th grade education that Andrew means from the touchstone charger to the phone! I have the touchstone and it works great and yes it is wireless from the charger to the phone. Under your interpretation that means wireless internet in a home for example is also false advertising because the wireless router has a physical cable from the router to the internet connection and a power connection. Give me a break 'stop the false advertising'!

by Jim Samuelson | Jun 24, 2009 4:22:55 PM

Flight Capability: A NEW Feature of Palm Pre

The Palm Pre enables users to fly through the air!*

(note: flight is limited by user's individual strength and jumping ability.)

by Todd | Jun 25, 2009 8:57:32 AM

Dude... It isn't wireless. The device has to make contact with the touchstone. It's a cool novelty, but it ain't wireless. Move on.

by Spedo | Jun 26, 2009 4:35:09 AM

Guys, I have seen no wires between phone and touchstone, therefor wireless seems to be correct. However, there doesn't seem to be a pratical improvement towards a normal cradle.

I guess it's up to the customer to decide buying it or not.

by Joel | Jun 26, 2009 1:17:21 PM

Having just purchased two touchstones, one for office and one for car, I was disappointed that my Palm Pre OEM car charger will not fit into the touchstone power slot. I could probably trim the charger end to fit but would like a better solution if anyone has one.


PS I don't think physical contact with the touchstone requires wires ergo it's wireless.

by Todd | Jun 26, 2009 4:24:44 PM

I guess my iPod Shiffle comes with a wireless charger because it makes contact with a dock and not with the wires the dock is connected to. Thanks for clarifying.

by ToddK | Jun 26, 2009 9:18:17 PM

Todd - Stop being a "semantics" jerk, giving us other Todd's a bad name. no wires, no plugs or connectors = wireless.

The touchstone is an elegant, magnetic charging solution, that I love using, (on the nightstand, desk and dashboard - yeah I bought three), and I would LOVE to be able to charge my iPod Touch, the same way as well. (all dock plugs suck, and eventually break)

I hope Apple, and others, adopt the concept. magnetic, induction charging - elegant, and as simple as my toothbrush! ...combined w/ OTA syncing, you'd never need wires and dock connections again!

Cheers, Todd K

by Nick Zacchias | Jun 26, 2009 9:23:33 PM

What's the range of wireless charging?

How far away will it charge the Pre?

by William | Jun 28, 2009 10:03:51 AM

There is no range. The back of the phone must make contact with the touchstone. This wireless charging claim is pure BS and marketing hype.

by Sall | Jun 29, 2009 3:12:49 PM

Great product. I purchased it couple of days ago and i love it. The features on it are really cool.

by dpb | Jun 29, 2009 4:59:51 PM

FYI, it *is* technically charging wireless. It's using inductive techniques to charge:


This is not "marketing BS", but it could be a bit misleading depending on what your connotation of "wireless" is. The inductive coils can only work over a short distance, so in essence it has to be "in contact" with the touchstone charger. Since there is no exposed conductor (wire, metal, etc), it is considered a wireless charging mechanism. The fact that it has to make contact with the touchstone charger is a byproduct of the short distance in which it can work, not the contact itself.

There are mechanisms to charge at a distance with no wires, but those techniques are either theoretical, in active research or are not practice for a consumer (yet). If you are interested, you can read more about those more "industrial" techniques at:


It's actually quite interesting!

by William | Jul 6, 2009 9:00:19 AM

dpb -

I think you need to realize that most consumers aren't rocket scientists and in the consumer space the notion of wireless is pretty universal. Can your phone be charged without touching anything (wires, physical contact, etc.)? The answer is No. Again, I think Touchstone is cool and a great marketing concept, but I'd hardly call it wireless, regardless of what the science behind it says.

by Targon | Jul 7, 2009 7:37:57 AM


If you do not need to "plug" anything into the phone to get it to charge, that satisfies the "wireless" requirement. If people actually look at how the product works, and even have the sense to read the article, they would understand that if there is a magnet there to keep the Pre attached to the touchstone, it makes sense that the purpose is to keep the Pre attached to the Touchstone so it doesn't fall off accidentally.

Now, one thing that makes me curious is if the magnet is strong enough to hold the Pre in the event of a car accident. While I hope to never get into a serious accident, one problem that many people have is having their devices go flying off whatever they have their phone attached to in the event of an accident.

by Skbgiants | Jul 10, 2009 1:07:16 AM

Targon..no matter WHAT system you use to hold your phone in place in an automobile, in the event of a crash (God forbid) it's going to go flying. I speak from experience, one I hope not to go through again mind you, that NO phone "holder" will be able to sustain an accident the magnitude of even a minor fender bender.

That said, I flipped my SUV end over end, granted..a catastrophic accident, and unless you have "OnStar" or something physically built into the automobile, you're going to be out of luck and that totally sucks..trust me.

by Mac | Jul 12, 2009 5:57:49 PM

I think it's funny that you guys have all veered so far off of the path with this discussion on "is it wireless or is it not a wireless charge".... the novelty of the touchstone is the fact that you don't have to pry open that gay charging cover and then have to physically plug a wire into the phone for a charge. THAT is the cool factor. Who gives a crap whether it's "wireless" or not. It IS. get over it.. get one... live life. preferably away from your computer

by kspr | Jul 25, 2009 3:52:27 PM

I have the touchstone (which is supposedly to help give the battery a longer life??) I purchased a faceplate to save my phone, since I cant seem to keep it in my fingers. Is there a way to use the touchstone with the faceplate on? I have the correct back for the touchstone still on the phone, but the magnet is not connecting :( :(.

by Sumratio | Aug 9, 2009 5:01:18 PM

lmao these comments almost made me bust a gut. Idiots, you would have to generate a very large and dangerous electromagnetic field to induce over any range you nay sayers are talking about. A field that would wipe your flash drives and credit cards. It is not rocket science it is high school physics. I use the Touchstone and love it I hate the little usb cover on the phone even though I am giddy in love with the phone for the most part. Also note as it states in the Touchstone manual keep magnetic stips such as you find on credit cards and hotel keys away from phone and charger as prolonged exposer could wipe them. Targon ... you bring up a very good point about the use of the charger in a vehicle, would hate to be in an accident and not be able to reach my phone. I may have to MacGyver something to prevent phone from becoming a projectile.

by Pauly | Sep 30, 2009 8:28:02 PM

Simple, elegant, AWESOME!


by Dorito | Dec 30, 2009 12:07:08 AM

The boys over at ismashphone found a chap who mounted his touchstone next to his stereo. Upon entering the car, all he does is place it on the stone, and it is magnetically held in place facing the driver. So it is now an eye level handsfree phone (bluetoothed to his stereo), a recharger, and navigation. Clean. When will they have this for the iphone??

by dcpostal | Feb 1, 2010 12:47:44 PM

The touchstone will not work via cigarette lighter adapter because it requires 120v. To use it in your car you need a power inverter to turn the cars 12v/15amp into 120v/2amp. It's the same reason you can not use the touchstone through a CPU's USB slot. It needs to be plugged into a wall or a power inverter. That being said, I love it.

I use it in my car and it's so nice not having to fumble around with wires to charge it.

Good job Palm. I think all cell phone should go this route.

by wearlybird | Feb 23, 2010 12:02:44 PM

dcpostal, a gentle correction here. The Pre and the Touchstone work on 5.0 Volts. That is the official USB spec.

I have two Touchstones, one in my house and one in my car. The car Touchstone is powered by a standard Sprint-branded 12V to 5V car adapter with a little electrical tape to make it fit tighter into the Touchstone. It charges the Pre wonderfully.

You could also get a Palm car adapter, the kind that has the standard female USB connector on the end, and use the household charger cable. That should fit snugly into the Touchstone.

The Touchstone is great for commutes. You can spill coffee with full cream and sugar on it and it will survive! No metal contacts to corrode or short.

by SD | Mar 7, 2010 5:16:25 PM

Yes it's wireless, there are no wires connecting the phone to the charger. No it does not have to make physical contact with the charger. Put a piece of paper or plastic between the touchstone and the phone, it will still charge. It may have a very short range but it is still wireless.

by Targon | Apr 23, 2010 10:34:21 AM

Power....no, there are NO consumer devices that can charge a device from across a room, and to be honest, the potential health issues should scare you if they were made available right now. With that said, if you don't have to plug a wire into your PHONE to charge it, that does count as wireless charging. It just isn't "through the air".

This also is not the same as a docking station where you have to fit a connector on the dock into the normal connection for charging your phone, so the Touchstone is not being misleading in THAT way. It really is able to charge the phone just by being in contact with it, and with magnetic mounting to hold the phone in place.

Most people complain about wires, or needing to plug things in to make them work(sync to the computer requires a cable, charging requires a power adapter or plugging the cable into a computer), and so on. The Touchstone just eliminates one of these required wires for charging.

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