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.