Palm Introduces the Provocative Pre at CES

Just when you thought Palm was out of the smartphone battle, it comes back firing with a touchscreen salvo, which appears to have its crosshairs directly on Apple’s iPhone.

It’s the Palm Pre

The talk of CES 2009, the Pre is poised to bring Palm back towards the front of the pack. It sports a new operating system, dubbed WebOS. Like the iPhone and Android, the Pre is easy to develop for because most of the apps can be written in Java, HTML or CSS. From the demos I’ve seen, the screen redraws are extremely smooth.Palm_logo_2000

In the screenshots below, you get an idea of WebOS. Check out the home screen; the phone screen; and call screen with reminders, a missed call, a text message and a song playing.

Palm offers immediate alerts without having to close a screen. The above image displays what Palm calls “cards.” You can move through applications quickly with cards. For instance, flipping from calendar to maps to photos to emails is easy as turning a card.

An interesting concept about the browser is that it displays the actual Web page and not just a screen capture like the iPhone. Mobile Safari has to reload the page when selected, whereas the Palm browser brings up the actual page already loaded.

One of the coolest new features of the Pre is an accessory. Palm is offering touchstone as an optional accessory. Touchstone is an inductive charger/cradle that allows you to charge the phone by placing it on the “puck.”

Another great feature from the why hasn’t someone done this before department is something Palm calls Synergy, which is essentially a contact aggregator. It pools your contacts from all your accounts and social networking sites like Gmail, Outlook, Facebook, Twitter, AIM, etc. and combines them into database or “stacks.” It also does its best to reduce duplicates in these stacks, keeping your contacts organized.

Palm’s Pre is set for release in mid-2009, with exclusive sales through Sprint. For all you ever wanted to know about the Pre, check out Palm’s “Pre view” press release.

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