Palm unveils new smart phone, operating system
(AP Online Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) LAS VEGAS_Palm Inc. unveiled a new touch-screen smart phone and operating system Thursday, marking its latest attempt to catch up with competition from Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry and Apple Inc.'s iPhone.
At the International Consumer Electronics Show, Palm executives touted their Pre, which looks similar to the iPhone, with a face dominated mostly by a 3.1-inch touch screen and single button. The body of the Pre is black and slightly curved, with a full QWERTY keyboard that slides out from the bottom.
In an effort to capture both business and consumer users, the Pre will come loaded with features, including Wi-Fi, stereo Bluetooth and GPS, as well as 8 gigabytes of storage space, a 3-megapixel camera and music and video playback. The Pre also has a variety of sensors, such as an accelerometer so images on the screen will rotate when a user turns the device on its side.
Many of these features are already available on rival phones, including the iPhone, the latest BlackBerry models and HTC Corp.'s G1 that was released in the fall by T-Mobile and Google Inc. Palm has been overshadowed in the last several years by the success of these products _ especially by the growth of BlackBerry smart phones among business customers and, since its June 2007 release, of iPhones among consumer users.
Palm, a pioneer in the market for handheld digital assistants, now hopes its latest offering can stand out.
"We think it's the one phone you can use for your entire life and you'll really enjoy using it," Palm Chief Executive Ed Colligan said at a news conference.
The Pre will be available in the second half of the year, exclusively on Sprint Nextel Corp.'s wireless network. Palm did not disclose the price.
The device comes with Palm's new operating system, Palm webOS, which the company also debuted Thursday. It is meant to connect various applications _ for example, it will automatically synchronize contacts stored in Facebook, Gmail and Outlook, strip out duplicates and present the information in a master list.
In addition to the Pre and the new operating system, Palm showed off a unique accessory on Thursday _ a wireless charger for the Pre called the Touchstone. When a Pre is placed on top of it, the gadget powers the phone through induction.
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