the wraps off the new Pre, which is their latest device that features a unique new Palm webOS. Sprint customers will be the first in North America to get their hands on the Pre when it is expected to start shipping during the first half of 2009.
The device offers a touch screen with a slide-out keyboard that is put together nicely in what can be best described as sort of a vertical “egg shaped” form factor. The Pre will offer all of the features that you would expect, including a 3.1-inch screen with a 320x480 resolution, trackball for navigation, an accelerometer to allow the device to respond to orientation changes, Wi-Fi support, GPS support, stereo Bluetooth, 8GB of RAM, a 3 megapixel camera with flash, and a super fast low power TI OMAP processor. It will feature high speed connectivity using EVDO Rev. A and a UMTS HSDPA version is expected outside of the US.
As for the new webOS, it connects directly to the cloud and uses industry standard web technologies. The choice of using industry standard Web tools should greatly improve the ability to develop for the device. We suspect that this will offer some flexibility over other devices, but Palm will really have to get the backend cloud technology right in order to convince users that this type of a shift in OS design is the right way to go for mobile devices.
From what we can tell so far, the device does break some new ground and clearly has some appeal over what Palm has been doing previously prior to this device. The OS does look good and appears to be snappy and functional. The form factor is innovative and it offers a variety of new features that we have seen in other devices, but never put together like this. Right now, we think the OS shift in this device will be the big question mark and until we know more it is hard to suggest what kind of impact it will have.
Rumored pricing in the US with a contract on Sprint is said to be in excess of US$200, as Palm said that there's no reason for them to price the Pre at less than the iPhone, with Palm's CEO Ed Colligan commenting, "Why would we do that when we have a significantly better product?"
For more details, have a look at the product page which you can find here