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A closer look at the Palm Pre and webOS

updated 09:00 pm EST, Thu January 8, 2009

Palm Pre closer look

Electronista has taken a closer look at the Pre smartphone unveiled at CES. The device is noticeably smaller in person than it seems in previous images. Despite the smaller screen, the display still appears crisp and vivid. The company matched the 480 by 320 pixel resolution of the iPhone, while reducing the overall screen size to fit the smaller housing. Video playback seemed smooth as the Pre played an H.264-encoded movie trailer. Reaction time and flow of the menu items was also clean, without any choppiness or apparent delay.

The webOS interface appeared easy to navigate and fairly simple, with a logical arrangement of functions. Both AIM and GTalk can run simultaneously and text messaging, instant messaging, and calling options are provided on one screen. Rather than manually inputting contact photos, the system can automatically download the latest images from Facebook. The web browser offers multi-touch support similar to the iPhone and automatically snaps to the width of a text column with a double-tap input.

Another unique accessory is the Touchstone inductive charger that holds the phone without inserting any plugs or connectors. The charger base offers a layer of anti-stick material that held strong on a smooth surface, without any permanent glue adhesive. To watch video, the Pre rotates on the base and orients the screen at a slight angle.

Palm representatives were unable to provide detailed information regarding the SDK, Flash support or distribution to carriers other than Sprint. The company has a history of selling phones across multiple carriers, however.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I remember when magnets were the last thing you wanted near a digital device, now they're the new trend. As time goes on, I wonder if there's a danger in having too many devices with magnetic features around each other?
    Magnets in our earbuds, laptop lids, phone chargers, magnetic fields may be invisible, but they aren't inactive.

  1. resuna

    Joined: Dec 1969


    So what is WebOS?

    Which of the half dozen operating systems Palm's fielded over the past decade is this?

  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Look, let's face it...

    The media nerds want this Palm to be the next iPhone killer, so let it be that way. They want to see a Palm resurrection. Fine. Still, having a prototype isn't the same as building production handsets. Palm is most likely going to have teething problems with the new OS. Palm has a lot of catching up to do in a less than ideal economy. If they think people are going to throw out their other devices just to try the new Palm, well, good luck to that think. As it is, the cellphone industry is scaling back for 2009, so Palm will be trying to gain traction in an ill wind with a completely new device. Palm will be burning through it's cash reserve, so any major problems could mean the end for Palm. I think their main competitors will be WinMo and Android devices, so it won't be easy getting past Android since everyone thinks Android is so wonderful due to its openness and Google support.
    Yeh, Palm, nice prototype. See if you can sell 4 million of those Pres next year.

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