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Palm Pre

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Palm Pre
ManufacturerPalm, Inc.
Screen320 x 480 px, 3.1 in (79 mm) HVGA, 24-bit color LCD
Camera3.2 megapixel camera with LED flash, "extended depth of field", and geotagging
Operating systemPalm webOS
InputMulti-touch touchscreen display, volume controls, proximity and ambient light sensors, 3-axis accelerometer
CPU600 MHz (underclocked to 500 MHz) Texas Instruments OMAP 3430 (ARM Cortex A8 + PowerVR SGX)
MemoryOriginal: 256 MB DRAM
Pre Plus: 512 MB DRAM
StorageFlash memory
Original: 8 GB
Pre Plus: 16 GB
ConnectivityWi-Fi (802.11b/g), Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, MicroUSB, A-GPS
CDMA version: Dual band CDMA2000/EV-DO Rev. A 800 1900 MHz
GSM version: Quad band GSM 850 900 1800 1900 MHz GPRS/EDGE and Tri band UMTS 850, 1900, 2100 MHz HSDPA
Battery3.7 V 1150 mAh
Internal rechargeable removable lithium-ion battery
Physical size100.53 mm (3.958 in) (h)
59.57 mm (2.345 in) (w)
16.95 mm (0.667 in) (d)
Weight135 g (4.8 oz)
Form factorSlider smartphone
RelatedPalm Pixi
Hearing aid compatibilityM4 [1]

The Palm Pre (styled palm prē[2]), pronounced as the English prefix pre, /ˈpriː/, known internally as the Castle, is a multimedia smartphone designed and marketed by Palm with a multi-touch screen and a sliding keyboard. The phone was launched on June 6, 2009, and is the first to use Palm's new Linux-based[3] operating system, webOS. The Palm Pre Plus, which doubles the internal storage, was launched on January 25, 2010 for Verizon Wireless. The Pre functions as a camera phone, a portable media player, a GPS navigator, and an Internet client (with text messaging, e-mail, web browsing, and local Wi-Fi connectivity).[4]

The Pre has received positive reviews from technology critics, winning CNET's Best in Show, Best in Category: Cell Phones & Smartphones,[5] and People's Voice for CES 2009.[6]


History and availability

Palm debuted the Pre at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show, as the first mobile phone to use the Texas Instruments OMAP 3430 processor, as well as its initial US exclusive carrier agreement with Sprint, which operates a CDMA network.

The Pre's incorporation of features similar to Apple's iPhone, specifically elements of the user interface, has led to speculation of possible patent infringement litigation, with Apple COO Tim Cook stating that "we will not stand for people ripping off our IP" and Palm responding that they "have the tools necessary to defend [themselves]", hinting at Palm's large portfolio of patents.[7][8]

On May 19, Sprint and Palm announced the Pre would be available beginning June 6, 2009[9] in the United States. The Pre retails at Sprint stores and other locations, including select Radio Shack, Wal-Mart, and Best Buy stores in the United States — as well as locations in Europe.

On May 28, Verizon Wireless announced that it would also carry the Palm Pre in "about six months."[10] A later comment from a Sprint spokesperson indicated that the launch carrier would have US exclusivity rights to the Pre "through 2009."[11] Sprint's CEO, Dan Hesse, commented that his company and Palm had agreed not to discuss the length of the exclusivity deal, but remarked that "it's not six months."[12]

On July 7, Telefónica announced that they would exclusively carry the Palm Pre in the UK, Spain, Ireland and Germany on their O2 and Movistar networks, with availability "before the winter holidays".[13]

On July 27, during the company's second quarter conference call, Verizon chief operating officer Denny Strigl announced that Verizon Wireless will begin selling the Palm Pre in early 2010.[14]

News coverage of the launch noted that the sales quantity was a record for any Sprint phone launch, and estimated sales of approximately 50,000 units for the day, and up to 100,000 for the week.[15]. However, reports stated that sales of the Pre in July and beginning of August were much lower than expected[16][17][18].

On November 11, Palm announced that the Pre would be available in Mexico being the exclusive carrier Telcel. It will start being sold on November 27.[19]

On August 27, Bell Canada has the Palm Pre available. Bell will be supporting the Data services on the EVDO Network

Pre Plus

A new version of the smartphone was announced at CES 2010. Differences include the removal of the center button, 16 GB storage memory (8 GB on the original Pre), doubles the RAM from 256 MB to 512MB, and the back cover is now already touchstone compatible. The keyboard and slider mechanism have also been improved.[20] This will be sold exclusively, along with the Pixi Plus, by Verizon Wireless.


The Palm Pre's CPU is a 600 MHz Texas Instruments OMAP 3430 (ARM Cortex A8 + PowerVR SGX) underclocked to 500 MHz.

Screen and input

The Pre features a 3.1-inch capacitive touchscreen over a 24-bit color 320×480 resolution HVGA liquid-crystal display. The touchscreen allows for manipulation of the UI with fingers instead of a stylus, commonly used with older Palm phones and PDAs. Below the display is the "Gesture Area", a touch-sensitive area with LED underlighting that permits additional touch commands.

Like other recent Palm phones, the Pre features a full QWERTY keyboard. On the Pre, the keyboard slides out and is curved for ergonomics. In addition to the keyboard, the device features a single button in the center of the Gesture Area (absent in the Pre Plus), a volume rocker switch on the side, and a ringer switch on the top.

The Pre features three input sensors that allow it to respond to its surroundings. An accelerometer automatically changes the orientation of the display between landscape and portrait when the device is rotated in the user's hands. An ambient light sensor allows the Pre to automatically adjust the brightness of its display. A proximity sensor allows the Pre to disregard touch inputs when the phone is held close to a user's face during a call.

The Pre also has an integrated 3.2 megapixel digital camera with LED flash.[21]


The Pre will be available with high-speed connectivity on either EVDO Rev. A or UMTS HSDPA, depending on location. The Pre also includes 802.11b/g WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR with support for A2DP stereo headsets. A-GPS with support for turn-by-turn navigation is also included. For charging and data-transfer, the Pre uses a microUSB connector with USB 2.0 support, and audio output is supported by a standard 3.5 mm headphone jack.[21] While the phone reports support for the Bluetooth DUN protocol, Sprint is not permitting use of the Pre in tethered (or "Phone as Modem") mode, and has made no announcements that this mode will be offered in the future.

Storage capacity

The Pre has 8.0 GB of internal flash storage (approximately 7.4 GB of which is user accessible). The Pre does not have a flash memory card slot. The Pre Plus will have 16 GB of internal flash storage.[21]


The Pre is one of the first smartphones to feature wireless charging, using electromagnetic induction through an optional wireless charging dock (dubbed the "Touchstone Charger") and a special back cover, which also is sold separately.[22] Users can still charge the phone using the supplied MicroUSB cable.


The Pre is the first Palm device to use webOS, the Linux-based platform that replaces Palm's previous Palm OS. Developed from scratch for use in mobile phones—whereas Palm OS was originally designed for PDAs—webOS is capable of supporting built-in first party applications, as well as third party applications.


The webOS interface is based on a system of "cards" used to manage multitasking. webOS also supports multi-touch gestures, enabling most navigational input to be made using the touchscreen. The Pre does not include a virtual keyboard, as it includes the slide-out keyboard.


webOS includes a feature called Synergy that integrates information from many sources. webOS allows a user to sign in to accounts on Gmail, Yahoo!, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Microsoft Outlook (via Exchange ActiveSync). Contacts from all sources are then integrated into a single list.


The device makes use of the cloud based services model, but uses no desktop sync client (in the style of Palm's HotSync synchronization method).[23]

Palm has referenced a number of solutions for users who need to sync with their desktop software like Palm Desktop, Microsoft Outlook, or IBM Lotus Notes. Additionally, Mark/Space, Inc. has announced Macintosh desktop sync software, and Chapura such software for Windows.[24] Palm has offered an online guide to help customers.

iTunes syncing

Palm has announced that the Pre will be capable of "seamlessly" synchronizing with Apple's iTunes via its Media Sync feature.[25][26] After Apple's first attempt to disable this feature the Pre achieved this by switching its USB Product and Vendor IDs to those of an Apple iPod, thereby mimicking or "spoofing" the Apple device.[27][28] The update to iTunes 8.2.1 reportedly disables syncing with the Pre.[29] WebOS update 1.1.0, released by Palm on July 23, 2009, restores iTunes syncing natively, but third-party applications can still be used to sync iTunes with the device with previous versions of WebOS.[30] At the same time, Palm reported Apple to the USB Implementers Forum for what it felt was Apple's misuse of the Vendor ID to identify devices linked through the USB interface.[31] The USB Implementers Forum however responded back that Palm was the one misusing the USB vendor identifier and that Apple was correct. Apple responded again on September 9, 2009 with its release of iTunes 9 during their 'It's only Rock and Roll' event. The new version of iTunes effectively re-blocked the Pre from syncing with iTunes.[32] On September 22, 2009 the USB Implementers Forum found no wrong doing on Apple's part and instead asked Palm to explain its apparent violations of USB policy by mimicking Apple's USB Vendor ID.[33]

Third-party applications

Third parties are able to develop web apps that run within webOS. In addition, Palm has announced that they have partnered with certain trusted third-parties that have been given greater access to Pre functionality. At launch, 18 applications were available in the Palm App Catalog. As of January 1st, 2010 there are over 1000 official Apps. One of the apps, available at launch, is "Classic", a Palm OS emulator (for $29.99) that can run a large number of the roughly 50,000 apps for the Palm OS.

Homebrew Apps

There is another popular way to install 3rd party applications outside of the official App Catalog known as the Homebrew app catalog. Unlike the 'jailbroken' apps of the iPhone, this method of installing apps is not prohibited by Palm as there are no exclusions arising out of 3rd party software in their warranty ([1]). Palm has announced that they are going to open up this model to make it official come December 2009 by letting developers obtain Palm generated URLs to distribute their apps without having to go through the official App Catalog approval process, just a self-certification process ([2]).

This Homebrew community has created not only applications but also patches and themes. Patches (a.k.a. 'tweaks') make modifications to existing Palm applications to add/enhance functionality (e.g., view email in landscape mode, view battery level as a percentage, increase number of app icons displayed per page, etc). Themes change the skin of WebOS background and icons to match a particular theme. The source of these Homebrew apps can come from a number of different feeds. Thankfully, the Homebrew community has standardized on a single feed and installation process so that installing applications, patches and themes can be done through multiple independently developed installers that work interchangeably (e.g., WebOS Quick Install, Preware, FileCoaster, etc). This means you can install an app/patch with one installer and uninstall or update it with another if you so choose.

Information gathering by Palm

According to Debian developer Joey Hess, Palm Pre phone is periodically sending users' information to Palm. Palm is gathering users' GPS information, along with data on every application used, and for how long it was used. This information gets uploaded to Palm on a daily basis.[34]


The Palm Pre received favourable reviews from most reviewers. Engadget praised the phone, calling it "an important step in the evolution of mobile computing". Gizmodo's review regarded webOS as excellent software but showed slight disappointment with the hardware. CNET reviewed the Palm Pre and rated it 3 1/2 stars out of five, declaring that its "multitasking capabilities and notifications system are unparalleled". Their review also noted that the Palm Pre has vibrant display and solid web browser, but criticized its short battery life and cramped keyboard.

See also


  1. ^ "Palm Support: Hearing Aid Compatibility". http://kb.palm.com/wps/portal/kb/common/article/45102_en.html. Retrieved 2009-10-24. 
  2. ^ http://www.palm.com/uk/en/
  3. ^ Carrol, Tim (2009-01-19). "TealPoint & Normsoft on webOS: It's Great, But We Want C". Palm Info centre. http://www.palminfocenter.com/news/9689/tealpoint-normsoft-on-webos-its-great-but-we-want-c/. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  4. ^ Keilhack, Kris (2009-01-08). "Palm Announces the Palm Pre Smartphone". Palminfocenter.com. http://www.palminfocenter.com/news/9668/palm-announces-the-palm-pre-smartphone/. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  5. ^ CES 2009 - Consumer Electronics Show - Best of CES Awards: Nominees - CNET.com
  6. ^ Palm Pre Wins CNET Best of CES Awards Posted By: Kris Keilhack Saturday, January 10, 2009
  7. ^ Hachman, Mark (January 21, 2009). "Will Apple Sue Palm Over the Pre?". Opinion/News/Comentary. PC Mag (magazine). pp. 1. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2339344,00.asp. Retrieved 2009-01-27. 
  8. ^ Apple vs. Palm: the in-depth analysis - by Nilay Patel, posted January 28, 2009
  9. ^ 2 weeks ago (2009-06-05). "Palm Pre’s coming out party: June 6th". Wealth Alchemist. http://www.wealthalchemist.com/Blog/2009/06/palm-pres-coming-party-june-6th/. Retrieved 2009-07-03. 
  10. ^ Verizon to sell Palm Pre, new Blackberry Storm - By Sinead Carew and Franklin Paul of Reuters, posted May 28th 2009
  11. ^ Cheng, Roger (May 28, 2009). "Sprint Has Palm Pre Exclusive Through 2009". Opinion/News/Comentary. Smartmoney. pp. 1. http://www.smartmoney.com/breaking-news/on/?story=ON-20090528-000871-1515&afl=yahoo. Retrieved 2009-05-30. 
  12. ^ Reardon, Marguerite (June 5, 2009). "Sprint CEO says Pre deal is longer than six months". Cnet. pp. 1. http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-10258187-94.html. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  13. ^ Palm Pre launches with Telephonica O2 in Europe - TechCrunch
  14. ^ "Weak economy hurts Verizon's earnings". CNET News. 2009-07-27. http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-10296093-94.html?tag=mncol;txt. Retrieved 2009-07-28. 
  15. ^ Palm Pre Sells Briskly at launch |Posted By: Roger Cheng |June 9, 2009 |Accessed on July 14, 2009
  16. ^ "Maybe The Palm Pre Isn’t Selling So Well, After All". techcrunch. 2009-07-06. http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/07/06/maybe-the-palm-pre-isnt-selling-so-well-after-all//. Retrieved 2009-08-23. 
  17. ^ "Report: More Palm Pre Returns? Strong iPhone Debut". blogs.barrons.com. 2009-07-21. http://blogs.barrons.com/techtraderdaily/2009/07/21/report-more-palm-pre-returns-apples-strong-iphone-debut/. Retrieved 2009-08-23. 
  18. ^ "Palm Pre Sales Fail to Meet Analyst Expectations". internetnews.com. 2009-08-14. http://www.internetnews.com/mobility/article.php/3834521. Retrieved 2009-08-23. 
  19. ^ The Official Palm Blog: Palm Pre launching in Mexico on Telcel.
  20. ^ "Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus first hands-on". engadget.com. 2010-01-08. http://www.engadget.com/2010/01/07/palm-pre-plus-and-pixi-plus-first-hands-on/. Retrieved 2010-01-08. 
  21. ^ a b c Palm, Inc. (2009-01-08). "Palm Unveils All-new webOS". Press release. http://investor.palm.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=358392. Retrieved 2009-05-27. 
  22. ^ Palm Pre - Touchstone Charging Kit - Palm.com Shop
  23. ^ Stokes, Jon (2009-01-11). ""Synergy" means no need to "save" or "sync" on Palm's pre". Ars Technica. http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20090111-of-clouds-palms-webos-and-cutting-the-cord.html. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 
  24. ^ "Several Companies Bringing Desktop Synchronization to Palm Pre". Brighthand.com. 2009-06-08. http://www.brighthand.com/default.asp?newsID=15304&news=Palm+Pre+Desktop+Synchronization+PocketMirror+Echo+webOS. Retrieved 2009-07-03. 
  25. ^ "Palm, Inc. - Palm Unveils More webOS Details: Palm Media Sync, Twitter Integration, App Catalog". Investor.palm.com. 2009-05-28. http://investor.palm.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=386488. Retrieved 2009-07-03. 
  26. ^ Fried, Ina (2009-05-28). "Palm shows Pre at D". cnet.com. http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10251363-56.html. Retrieved 2009-05-28. 
  27. ^ "Blog Archive » Syncing music and video to the Palm Pre". nanocr.eu. 2009-05-28. http://nanocr.eu/2009/05/28/syncing-music-and-video-to-the-palm-pre/. Retrieved 2009-07-03. 
  28. ^ "Palm Asking For Trouble With Pre iTunes Sync?". The iPhone FAQ. http://www.iphonefaq.org/archives/97560. Retrieved 2009-07-03. 
  29. ^ "Apple Blocks Palm Pre iTunes Syncing". http://www.precentral.net/apple-blocks-palm-pre-itunes-syncing. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  30. ^ "Palm Support Page for WebOS Updates". Palm, Inc.. http://kb.palm.com/wps/portal/kb/na/pre/p100eww/sprint/solutions/article/50607_en.html#11. 
  31. ^ "Pal Pre Compatible With Apple iTunes Again". Digital Daily. http://digitaldaily.allthingsd.com/20090723/you-can-almost-hear-the-shrieks-of-outrage-in-cupertino-cant-you. 
  32. ^ "iTunes 9 breaks Pre media sync". Engadget. http://www.engadget.com/2009/09/09/itunes-9-breaks-pre-media-sync-what-did-you-expect/. 
  33. ^ "USB Standards Group: Okay for Apple's iTunes to Block Palm Pre". Digital Daily. http://digitaldaily.allthingsd.com/20090922/usb-if-slaps-palm. 
  34. ^ Report: Your Palm Pre May be Spying on You - PC World

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