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CES: Palm: Revival of the Fittest?

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on January 08, 2009

I’m sitting in the ballroom at the Venetian Hotel here in Vegas, and you’d think from the crowds with me that we are witnessing the second coming of Apple.

It may be the next best thing, though. Palm Executive Chairman Jon Rubinstein, a former Apple alum, just came out to rousing applause as the company attempts to reverse its fortunes with a brand new device and operating system that will take on the likes of Apple, Nokia, Samsung and Google’s Android.

The scene is pretty impressive for a company many have written off as dead. Like MacWorld, there’s hip music playing in the background, a gigantic screen, and the room’s sprinkled with chocolates and fitness drinks.

Now CEO Ed Colligan is on stage, walking the audience through the history of mobile devices and smartphones in particular. He’s hinting that Palm is rethinking the traditional way people use such devices and the applications on those devices. He’s talking about seamless integration of data across a number of devices and settings.

Here’s the announcement: the Palm Web OS. All your information is kept in the cloud and constantly updated so you can get access to your information anywhere. Colligan says the new operating system was built with developers in mind, with industry-standard web tools that make developing applications simple.

Rubinstein steps back onto the stage to rousing applause and introduces the device that will go with it, the Palm Pre. It’s literally a palm-sized device that’s mostly touchscreen and has a single button on the lower portion. It has EvDO, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth with stereo support, 8 GB storage and TI’s newest OMAP processor. 320 by 480 resolution, 3.1 inch display. Has an accelerometer, light sensor and 3.0 megapixel camera with LED flash. Speaker and replaceable battery. Big reveal—small, but neat slide-up QWERTY keyboard. Weighs 4.8 ounces.

In short—a very powerful device that may be limited in the short term by decision to use Sprint/Verizon network rather than global-standard GSM/HSPA.

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Reader Comments


January 9, 2009 02:12 AM

\m/ to rubenstein, but why Sprint??

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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