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9 years ago

Best Buy Still in Talks to Sell Pre, Not Final Yet

Best Buy Still in Talks to Sell Pre, Not Final Yet

by Dieter Bohn Fri, 23 Jan 2009 4:47 pm EST

We've already reported that outside of Sprint stores, rumor has it that Best Buy will be the exclusive retailer for the Palm Pre in the US.  Joe just sent in a tip that a mobile exec at Best Buy has confirmed that they're "holding talks to sell Palm's Pre Smartphone" but they're "not yet ready to announce a retail deal."  As you might expect, Sprint is also in on the negotiations as well. 

Typically we're just sort of let this thing ride, but the fact that all three players here are still engaged in negotiations means that, well, as we said before, they're intending on making the Pre launch as big as humanly possible.  Perhaps we might get more than just Sprint marketing dollars behind it, perhaps Best Buy will be pushing it as well?

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9 years ago

Palm Product Manager Comments on Why No microSD for Palm Pre

Palm Product Manager Comments on Why No microSD for Palm Pre

by Jennifer Chappell Fri, 23 Jan 2009 1:35 pm EST

A thread in our TreoCentral forums points to a very interesting discussion on the lack of microSD on the Palm Pre. Forum member nlowhor found the discussion over at a Facebook discussion group. The Official Palm Blog posted a profile this week on Matt Crowley, a Palm Product Manager. At the end of the article, there is a link to a Facebook discussion board. Matt is answering questions there, and one of the questions asked was 'why the Palm Pre doesn't have expanded storage/a microSD slot'.

Matt responds:

‘Design’ was the highest goal on the Palm Pre project. The phone has to look and function great in the hand and up against the face on a call. The decision to include or not include expandable storage is an easy one when design is the highest priority. The physical size of the device would have been compromised if we added another physical component to Pre. Just a millimeter can seriously impact the curvature of the design in a way that minimizes the design intent. We wanted to maintain a slick curved slider design without building out too much thickness. When you look at the two parts of the product and see how thin they really are, you may be amazed that we were able to fit everything in. And yes, all the stuff does fit.

The other advantage of embedded memory is that you have a large amount of storage out of the box for media and files. Including 8GBs of storage on the phone is a large amount of storage for many people, but not all. Yes, not all. We know that not everyone will be happy, but that is one of many decisions that needs to be made and the product goals help define these decisions.

Matt adds that "The Internet is a BIG microSD card". He talks about "Synergy" and how you can pull content to your device over the air. Palm talked about Synergy in their Pre demonstration at CES and how great it is to not have to worry about tracking multiple calendars, contacts and messaging applications because the Pre syncs calendar and contacts data to the cloud.

Of course there is an interesting discussion going on in our forums regarding Matt Crowley's responses.

For example, forum member jmg_P1OS21 says:

I have a 16GB SHDC and I only ever have less than 1GB (if that) ever free...

no room for a MicroSD? Where will they find the room for a SIM card on a GSM Pre?
(I would not care if it's underneath the battery, it would be a PITA and NOT ideal in such a nicely thought out Pre design though...)

And forum member schnoid responds to jmg_P1OS21's post:

That's exactly what I was thinking! microSD is soooo small and it could fit in a quarter the space of a sim card. For all i care, they could include microSD on the CDMA model and not include it on the GSM model. If someone really needs microSD they can go to sprint. I'm still whole heartily think that Palm left out for the same reason iphone does. They're banking on the fact that people will buy a 16GB, 32GB, etc model of the same phone. Sure it might be a good marketing scheme, but its really annoying for those of us that have come to really appreciate a sd/miniSD/microSD slot on our phones. Please palm, if you read this, don't turn into apple! I think the Pre will be revolutionary but there is still so much you'll be able to do for future phones like video conferencing.

Forum member Gameboy70 says:

I remember an interview with Jeff Hawkins talking about designing smartphones for multiple carriers. One of the chief design guidelines is that devices look and feel the same whether they're GSM or CDMA. The innards of the GSM and CDMA versions can be radically different. As long as they have the same exterior and specs, the carriers are happy.

In other words, Palm might have been able to put the microSD slot in the CDMA version but not the GSM one, due to the SIM card requirement. If that's true, the GSM version determined the size of the CDMA version, but Palm chose to omit the microSD slot on both platforms for consistency's sake.

I have an SD card in all of my Palm smartphones but I don't really have much on any of them.  I have a few songs on a couple of the cards and a backup program on one of them.  I don't watch movies on my Palm smartphones, but use my iPhone for that activity.  The main reason that I chose the 16GB iPhone 3G version was so I'd have room for TV shows and movies from iTunes.   As to the Palm Pre not having a microSD card slot, I'm not too concerned.  For my usage, the included 8GB is plenty enough space.  I can certainly understand the concerns of other Palm smartphone users though, especially those who say that they use almost all of their 8GB and 16GB  storage on their cards.

Anyway, you can read more comments in this TreoCentral forum thread, and you can read the full Facebook discussion here.

Let us know what you think about the Pre not having a microSD card slot and what you think about Matt Crowley's response.

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9 years ago

Palm Comments on Apple Multi-Touch Patents

Palm Comments on Apple Multi-Touch Patents

by Jennifer Chappell Fri, 23 Jan 2009 9:23 am EST

Dieter posted up an article on Wednesday about an Apple exec talking lawsuits at the Apple Quarterly Conference call.   Yep, Apple COO Tim Cook said that if their competition ripps off Apple's intellectual property, they'd go after them.  Tim stated that they weren't mentioning any specific company.  LOL, no need to mention a "specific" company though, huh?  I'm sure that everyone knew exactly which company Cook was referring to.

Rene Ritchie over at our sister site The iPhone Blog got wind of a PC Mag article in which Palm has commented on Apple's possible lawsuit references.  

From the PC Mag article:

A spokeswoman at Palm said Thursday that the company has not been contacted by Apple's legal team, to her knowledge. "Palm has a long history of innovation, obviously reflected in our own products and our own robust apps portfolio," she said. "We have long been recognized for our fundamental patents in the mobile space. If we're faced with legal action, we're confident that we have the tools to defend ourselves."

When asked whether gestures like "pinching" were universal, or belonged to Apple, the Palm spokeswoman said that "our position is that multitouch has been around a long, long, long time before Apple introduced it."

In his recent article, Dieter referenced a few patents Palm could probably sue over; one of them being 'cradle for synchronizing data'. Another interesting one is a patent for turning off the radio via software.   Hmmm, I do believe I used something very similar while in a hospital waiting area yesterday.  It was when I had to turn off the "airplane mode" on my iPhone when I saw a sign letting me know that all cellphones should be turned off.

Looks like things could get pretty prickly in the lawsuit arena.  We'll be watching to find out what happens.  Stay tuned....

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9 years ago

Palm Announcing Something Big at MWC Next Month?

Palm Announcing Something Big at MWC Next Month?

by Jennifer Chappell Thu, 22 Jan 2009 12:15 am EST

Palm must have something up its sleeve. Engadget has reported via Gearlog that ealier today, Palm had a password-protected site up called palmmwc2009.com. So looks like Palm just might be announcing something big at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month. That Palm password-protected site has already been taken down, but not before Gearlog snapped a quick screenshot as seen above. Hmm... I do believe I see a castle in the background. And is that possibly a Knight riding upon that a horse in the foreground? A little blurry but it sure looks like a castle behind a knight on horseback to my tired eyes. If you'll recall, we reported over at our sister site TreoCentral recently that Palm had slipped out the Palm Pre's codename "Castle" by accidentally leaving it in an automatically generated confirmation email.

So what could Palm be announcing at Mobile World Congress 2009? MWC is the world's biggest mobile phone trade show, so you know it's got to be something good. We're guessing that it'll be the official unveiling of the 3G GSM version of the Palm Pre. I hope that Palm announces an unlocked GSM version. I also hope that they'll give a release date on the Sprint CDMA Pre.

TC forum member clevin ponders what it could be in this thread:

a WebOS centro for $99? a WebOS PDA for $299? and announce the price for the Pre to be $199?

I like all of those.

Could there be even more goodies to be unveiled besides the possibly announced 3G GSM  version of the Pre? Wouldn't that be just awesome? I wonder if anyone was able to figure out the password before the palmmwc site got taken down?  I'm soooo curious now about what might be announced.  Let us know if you hear anything!
 

 

9 years ago

Apple 'Suiting up' to Sue Palm Over the Pre?

Apple 'Suiting up' to Sue Palm Over the Pre?

by Dieter Bohn Wed, 21 Jan 2009 7:53 pm EST

Our compatriot Rene from The iPhone Blog let us know that Macworld is liveblogging Apple's Quarterly Conference call and my oh my, did the Palm Pre make them unhappy.  When asked about it in a general sense -- as a new competitor, COO Tim Cook didn't take long to get into lawsuit territory:

We like competition, as long as they don't rip off our [intellectual property], and if they do, we're going to go after anyone who does.

Yowza.  We're betting that the fact that the webOS' browser sports the same pinching/zooming UI metaphors found on the iPhone rankles a bit.  Well, more than a bit, because the questioner asked for a bit more detail on that, Cook didn't exactly back down:

Don't want to talk about any specific company, just making a general statement. We are ready to suit up and go against anyone. However, we will not stand for having our IP ripped off and will use whatever weapons we have at our disposal.

Now, we're not lawyers or anything, but it seems to us that this could play out in a few ways.  Apple could, in fact, decide not to bother because Palm didn't infringe on any patents after all.  We're doubting that.  Next up -- Apple sues Palm.  What happens then?  Well, Palm's ability to shell out the cash necessary for an expensive lawsuit falls somewhere between laughable and impossible, while Apple's warchest of cash is approximately the size of the moon.  In other words, not a fight Palm is likely to win.  (In more real terms: Palm needed a $100 million cash infusion just to stay afloat, as of this writing Apple has $28 billion with a B in cash reserves).

What then?  Well, we see three more options:

  1. Palm says uncle and pulls some of their multitouch from the browser, perhaps other features as well or
  2. Palm pays Apple a licensing fee (if Apple will let them) or
  3. Palm and Apple play dueling patent lawsuits for the next few years

See, it's a common occurance for most corporations to build up a warchest of patents in lieu of a warchest of cash to pay laywers.  Motorola and RIM have been playing out just such a patent deathmatch for over a year, in fact. So Palm could say "I'll see your multitouch browser and raise you one 'cradle for synchronizing data' and another 'Handheld computer system and method to detect and identify a peripheral device,' oh, and while we're at it, we have a patent for turning off the radio via software on that there iPhone of yours.  No more airplane mode for you."

In other words, now that Palm has its Mojo back (literally!), we're betting they're not going to back down from a fight wih Apple.  From what we know of Apple, they're perfectly happy to scrap as well.  Things could get interesting, folks!

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9 years ago

Palm Pre Release Date: As early as Feb 15?!

Palm Pre Release Date: As early as Feb 15?!

by Jennifer Chappell Wed, 21 Jan 2009 6:59 pm EST

Well, well, the rumor mills are really spinning.  I just read in the TreoCentral forums that the Palm Pre will be available on February 15!!!  Boyhowdy, I hope that's true.  What a nice Valentine's Day present that would be for all of us Pre droolers.

TreoCentral forum member Vyruz Reaper said:

News on the market is palm pre will be avail 2/15. This is from the same source i got some info on for the palm 800w coming out... he was 75% accurate with his info on the 800 and its release.

Vyruz Reaper said that his source also told him that the Pre would require a data plan but NOT a SE or simply data plan.  The source told him that's a benefit of having a Palm, not requiring you to change your plan like the iPhone.

Vyruz Reaper added:

No wording on price. I dont know if he knew didnt know, but he always kinda shut me up when it came to price.

Sure would be nice if the Pre would come out that soon.  Some forum members are expressing their doubt since the FCC data on the Palm Pre hasn't even been released and the SDK isn't out yet either. 

We'll keep you updated on all the Pre rumors.  I sure wish this one would pan out.  But it really needs to be taken with a BIG shaker of salt!  Stay tuned!

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9 years ago

Could Android Run on a Jailbroken Palm Pre?

Could Android Run on a Jailbroken Palm Pre?

by Jennifer Chappell Wed, 21 Jan 2009 4:31 pm EST

Evgeny over at the Palm WebOS Blog has let us know about his article entitled "Jailbreak Palm Pre and run Android as alternative?". The Palm WebOS Blog talked about the Palm Pre's processor on Monday. We know that the processor is the OMAP3430 from Texas Instruments. While doing research on the technology behind the Pre's processor, Evgeny found out that Texas Instruments provided a development device based on OMAP3430 processor called Zoom OMAP34x Mobile Development Kit (MKD). After further reading, Evgeny discovered that by starting with the Zoom OMAP34x MDK, engineers can write application software on the same hardware that will be used in the final product, meaning that software developed on the Zoom MDK should, in theory, work on any OMAP3430 device. And again, we know that the Palm Pre is an OMAP3430 device.

After the Zoom MDK device was released, OmapZoom project was formed to gather OMAP developers to work on an open-source project. One of the projects within OmapZoom is porting Android on the OMAP 3 system. The OMAP developers succeeded and there are even instructions on installing Android on Zoom MDK at the Omap Zoom Android page.

Evgeny explains how getting Android on the Palm Pre might be possible. He says that you'd need a 2 stage bootloader and the linux kernel and android filesystem, among other tools.  All of this is very technical stuff and you'll want to read the full article.

But the gist of it is that it seems possible that they will be able to run different/multiple operating systems on the Palm Pre by accessing/connecting to the storage area via some USB connection and be able to boot into more than one operating system by accessing a bootloader. For those like me who aren't gearheads, a bootloader just means that when you power up, you can choose to run, say Windows XP or Linux - which my husband has done many times on my desktop PC.

Evgeny says that the Android project is only a small part of OmapZoom. The guys over there are working on DSP driver, OpenMax codecs, GSStreamer plugins and more. Sounds like developers are going to be having lots of fun with the Palm Pre.

 

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9 years ago

Want to Write for PreCentral.net?

Want to Write for PreCentral.net?

by Dieter Bohn Wed, 21 Jan 2009 3:36 pm EST

Now that we've launched, answered a ton of Pre questions, and are digging up features that even Palm hasn't officially talked about yet, we figured it was about time we started getting this thing going in earnest.  That's where you come in.  Want to write for PreCentral.net?  We'd like it too, quite possibly.  Here's the skinny: send me an email at dieter -at symbol- smartphoneexperts -dot- com with the following:

  • Subject line exactly as you see it in between these here quotes, but put your name in: "Writing for PreCentral.net - Your Name Here"
  • Two sample blog posts about the Pre.  These must be new and not something you've written elsewhere. They don't necessarily have to be about a brand new Pre story -- a how to, opinion piece, or explanation of a Pre feature could also be fair game.  What sorts of things are we looking for in these blog posts?  Well - quality, content, and voice.  Poke around the posts here and at our sister sites and you'll get the feel.
  • An idea of how many blog posts per day or per week you'd be 1) able to write  2) interested in writing, and 3) when.  Be honest here -- if your number feels a little small to you then it will probably feel a little small to us.  You might also let us know how much of a newshound and a forumhound you are.
  • Tell us what your smartphone is now and what your favorite thing about it is -- in one sentence.

That'll do for a start.  We're talking about a couple paying gigs here (not enough to retire on), so please -- only apply if you're in it for real.

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9 years ago

Palm Hire Shows They're Serious About Europe

Palm Hire Shows They're Serious About Europe

by Dieter Bohn Wed, 21 Jan 2009 3:17 pm EST

Palm has a complicated history with the European market -- they've had pretty good success with the Treo 750 and even the Treo 500, moderate success with the Treo Pro.  The PalmOS, though has been a nonentity in the European market, there's just been next to no interest outside of the UK, and precious little there compared to what they got in the US (at least in the glory days).

It looks pretty clear, though, that Palm intends to turn this situation around with the Pre and the webOS.  First thing, of course, is that Palm believes that Europeans are more sensitive to the looks of a phone than Americans (witness back in the old days when Europe got the antenna-less Treo 750 while America has to make do with the stodgy, antenna-fied Treo 700p and wx).  Second thing, they've snatched up Paul Ghent [via PreCommunity] from HTC to act as Sales Vice President for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

HTC has had some serious clout in those markets and Ghent himself has learned what it takes to bring a smartphone to the masses in the past year as he helped the company get record sales on the HTC Touch and the HTC Touch Diamond.  The Pre is approximately 100 times (give or take) more consumer-friendly than the HTC Touch, so that will make Ghent's job a bit easier.  Palm's sordid past with the European market, however, means he'll still have a tough row to hoe.

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9 years ago

Looking forward to the Pre camera

Looking forward to the Pre camera

by Jay Gross Tue, 20 Jan 2009 8:20 pm EST

Tucked away in the announcements for Palm's Pre, a remark about the new device's camera caught my eye: "Camera: 3.2 megapixel, DxO Image Processing and extended depth of field, LED flash." The geeks among us don't need any explanation, but for everyone else, here's a translation: A fixed-focus camera with sophisticated image processing to make the pictures look better than you'd otherwise expect. Indeed, a recent post on Palm's WebOS blog goes into great technical detail - and speculation - about the technology that's being incorporated.

Palm Pre uses the latest imaging correction software from DxO Labs. DxO is a leading player in the field of image analysis and correction. It is used and incorporated by all major photo brands like Canon, Nikon, Sigma, etc., in their digital SLR cameras to do image processing and correction. DxO offers a number of different products including software post-processing packages, image quality analyzer and, most important of all, embedded imaging solution which rests inside the device and does live processing of your beautiful shots.

What's possible with such embedded processing could amaze, for sure, but we'll have to wait and see how much and which of DxO's technology lands inside. The French company DxO blazes trails in software that fixes digital cameras’ inherent (and otherwise) troubles. Their software goes “on-chip” so the camera does the work before the picture lands on the screen.

For its part, the Pre camera's basic specification, 3.2 megapixels with an LED "flash" to help out in low light, is no slouch. I have many digital images of 3.3 megapixels. The prints are 11x14 and glorious. However, they had the advantage of quality lenses - Carl Zeiss, in fact - and non-fixed-focus. They did not have any DxO processing, but could probably have been even better for it.

There has been some grousing about "only" 3 megapixels. Some "other" phone cameras tick up more than twice that. Besides megapixels, however, many other factors contribute to the quality of a digital camera's pictures. These include the physical size of the imaging "chip" - rarely stated in anybody's specifications sheets, the software that runs the imager, and the quality (or not) of the lens. With phone cameras, there's not much room for a great lens, so something else has to take up the slack. In the Pre, it appears, embedded software will do exactly that.

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