The Palm Pre went on sale nation-wide on June 6, 2009. The Pre costs $199.99 with a two-year service agreement, and after a $100 mail-in rebate.
With the introduction of the Pre, Palm now offers its "Synergy" feature set, including contacts and calendar syncing, a "layered" calendar that lets you view your calendar by work, home appointments, etc., and combined messaging including IM and text messaging. Using Synergy, the Pre also can "combine Outlook, Google, and Facebook calendars together for one logical view of your day. And if you have the same contacts in different places, Pre can link them together, making it easy to find the information you need," states Palm.
Like Apple with its iPhone apps, Palm is betting the future of its new smartphone on a vibrant and engaged developer community that it hopes will create hundreds (or even thousands, like the iPhone?) of new, inexpensive apps that deliver a myriad of location-based services.
Also, unlike other smartphones, the Pre lets you keep multiple applications open and move easily between them. Palm calls Pre's apps "activity cards," and "lets you flip through them, move them around, or throw them off screen."
GPS is integral to the phone's image management, Palm states, and photos taken with the Pre can be geotagged as part of its automated organization of images by place.
GPS will provide the now smartphone-standard location information and basic directions, and linkage to the Pre's "universal search" feature, which includes Google, maps, and Wikipedia. Sprint Navigation (powered by TeleNav) is pre-loaded on the phone. Sprint Navigation includes: true turn-by-turn driving directions (by voice and on-screen); a "biz finder" with 10 million points of interest; traffic alerts and intelligent re-routing; fuel prices, and full-color maps nation-wide.
The Pre's app catalog is accessible via its Launcher menu. The app catalog includes featured and popular apps, user reviews, and links to developers. Selection of GPS-driven apps is thin at this point.
Apps using the Pre's GPS include:
-Fandango: Browse movie listings, watch trailers, find closest theaters.
-Mobile by Citysearch: Details and directions for businesses near you.
-Where: People, places, and things near you and directions.
GPS setup for the Palm Pre includes a "Location Services" screen that lets you "enable auto-locate" or "ask each time." This lets you set whether you want applications to access and provide your GPS location data without asking, or to pop up a permission window. On this screen, you may also turn GPS on or off, turn geotag photos on or off, and turn "background data collection" on or off. The latter is said to "provide aggregate location data to applications." I advise leaving this turned off until Palm clarifies how aggregated location data is to be used.
- Carrier: Sprint
- Operating system: Palm webOS
- Network specs: 3G EVDO Rev A
- Display: 3.1-inch touch screen with 24-bit color 320x480 resolution HVGA display
- Keyboard: physical QWERTY keyboard
- E-mail: Microsoft Outlook e-mail with Microsoft Direct Push Technology POP3/IMAP (Yahoo, Gmail, AOL, etc).
- Messaging: integrated IM, SMS, and MMS
- GPS: built-in GPS
- Digital camera: 3-megapixel camera with LED flash and extended depth of field
- Sensors: ambient light, accelerometer, and proximity
- Media formats supported: audio formats: MP3, AAC, AAC+, AMR, QCELP, WAV
- Video formats: MPEG-4, H.263, H.264
- Image formats: GIF, Animated GIF, JPEG, PNG, BMP
- Wireless connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11b/g with WPA, WPA2, 802.1X authentication
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR with A2DP stereo Bluetooth support
- Memory: 8GB of user storage (~7.4GB user available) USB mass storage support
- Phone as laptop modem Bluetooth tethering
- Palm Touchstone charging dock compatible
- Dimensions: 59.5mm (2.3 inches) wide, by 100.5mm (3.9 inches) height, by 16.95mm (0.67 inches) thickness
- Weight: 135 grams (4.76 ounces)