Is Palm Back?

With last month’s $100 million investment from Elevation Partners and the release of the Pre later this year it looks like Palm might be back from the dead. I’m not saying this thing is perfect, but they are clearly going after the iPhone market directly, and it looks to me like they got a lot of things right.

First, they started over with a new OS. While not automatically good, there’s a lot of potential there. It would have been sad to see them take a really cool new piece of hardware and adapt some 15 year old OS to it. The way we use phones has changed a lot. Hell, when they started they weren’t even making phones. Somewhere along the lines they just crammed a phone in a PDA. Know anybody still using a PDA? Anyway, it was time for a fresh start and this look promising.

Next, it’s CDMA. This will make most people cringe, but I happen to be a Sprint customer. They’ve already announced Sprint will be the launch partner. Of course it’s 3G EVDO Rev A, unlike my current Blackberry 8830.  No 4G, but that’s fine since I don’t live in Baltimore.

Now moving through some other things I think they got right:

  • 3.1-inch touch screen, 24-bit color, 320×480 resolution HVGA display. A little smaller and lower res than the iPhone, but should be fine. I don’t plan on buying any more phones that don’t have touch screens.
  • Physical QWERTY keyboard. Not the fact that it’s QWERTY. Of course it’s QWERTY. It’s the fact that it’s physical. No typing on the screen.
  • Integrated IM, SMS, and MMS – This is a big deal, and cell phone makers just don’t get it for some reason. The Pre will use Synergy to group conversations together.
  • GPS,  camera with LED flash, accelerometer, stereo Bluetooth support (take that, iPhone people!), Bluetooth tethering (phone as modem), MicroUSB connector, 8GB of storage, removable battery.
  • 3.5mm stereo Headphone jack. Thank you!
  • Wi-Fi.
  • Real websites – in the previews on Palm’s website it looks like websites display in the browser the way they do on the desktop. We’ll see how they handle zooming.
  • Tabbed Browsing, or it’s equivalent.  You can have more than one page open at a time.
  • Gesture controls.  Gimmicky, perhaps, but it’s the kind of gimmick I like.
  • Slideout keyboard

Stuff they got wrong:

  • Not using Android.
  • No removable storage
  • 3 megapixel camera – kind of weak

Random / Whatever

  • It uses Palm’s inductive charging technology, Touchstone.


  • When does it come out?
  • How much will it cost?
  • Will the developer community care, and will they develop apps for this new OS?
  • Battery life?
  • Will it play Flash video?
  • Why is it called the Pre?
  • Will the processor be fast enough to handle all these features?
  • What is a Gesture Area?
  • Is the touch screen capacitive? Multi-touch?
  • GPS turn-by-turn?
  • Will it run Java apps?  Will there be any 3-rd party apps available at launch?
  • How will it handle attachments? Will it open Office Docs?

2 thoughts on “Is Palm Back?”

  1. I’ll have the answers to your questions now, please. I do like the way it looks, though. And, you were right. This just might be the phone I’ve been waiting for!!

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