Palm's Pre Smartphone Could Topple Google's Android

Palm may be down but it is not out. At CES, the company, which in its heydays symbolised the personal digital assistant market is back with a vengeance. More specifically, a new mobile OS and a surprisingly polished smartphone.

Starting with the smartphone. The Palm Pre (weird choice of name) comes with a 3.1 inch display capable of displaying 320x480 pixels. It is a touchscreen for sure but no words about whether it is a multitouch one and capacitive (rather than resistive). It comes with WiFi, 8GB of storage, a 3-megapixel camera with LED flash, Bluetooth 2.1 EDR with A2DP, a removable battery, built-in accelerometer, a 3.5mm headphone jack and something called a gesture area.

The phone has a slide out keyboard with rather tiny, protruding keys and its slightly curved profile means that you will be facing the screen properly when typing on the keyboard. Another intriguing addition is a technology which is called Touchstone which wirelessly (by induction) charges the smartphone when in contact with a "touchstone" base.

The main attraction though has to be its new WebOS which according to some observers mixes the best bits of many mainstream mobile operating systems. It is simpler to code for, making development way faster and easier (hence cheaper) and should, according to Palm, provide the platform with a technological superiority.

The Palm Pre is exclusively available on the Sprint network for the time being with no announced date for the rest of the world. Although the Pre will be available only in EVDO version, Engadget has already received confirmation that a 3G GSM version is on its way.

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One commentator said that Palm's presentation was like a Rocky Balboa return. Bruised and battered but still filled with passion and stamina. The manufacturer of the legendary Pilot series is back with a vengeance. Wall Street seemed to be ecstatic as shares price rallied after the closing bell, up 41 percent, valuing the company at nearly $500 million.

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