Palm on Monday announced the availability of webOS 1.2, the latest operating system for its Palm Pre smartphones, and with it a whole bunch of new features.
"For starters, we've beefed up Palm Synergy to include LinkedIn contact syncing," Jon Zilber, Palm's director of online communications, wrote in a blog post. "Info from LinkedIn profiles (like job titles) will now appear in your Palm Pre contacts. The new update also facilitates links across more different flavors of IM contacts. Business-oriented webOS 1.2 customers will also appreciate support for heterogeneous EAS policies (for workplaces with a mix of end-users in which some accounts support EAS policies and others don’t)."
In addition to the above, Zilber said the updated OS also includes the ability to filter emails in a current folder just by typing a search term, users can download files in the browser, music buffs can download songs from the Amazon MP3 Store via either WiFi or WAN, you can now tap a phone number in a calendar note to dial it, the ability to pause a podcast and pick up where you left off when you unpause, and cut/paste functionality in webpages and emails.
Palm Pre owners have already started receiving the update via over-the-over download.
Palm hooked a couple of Mozilla’s finest developers to work on the Palm’s WebOS. Dion Almaer and Ben Galbraith will leave their posts at Mozilla where they worked with the Developer Tools Lab.
Almaer goes into more detail as to his personal motivations behind taking the position on his blog. Talking about his previous position he says he’d like to “thank the Mozilla community and look[s] forward to continuing to work for the Open Web.”
Trying to compete with a $99 iPhone is no easy task, but it is even harder when you’re more expensive than the competition. Palm was recently able to bridge the gap by reducing the price to $99 on Amazon, but Wal-Mart is obviously looking to sell a boat load of Pre’s by offering them for a mere $79.99 with a two year contract. Unfortunately this price can only be reached using the ever so sneaky mail in rebate approach, but if you’re on the market for a Palm Pre, it looks like Wal-Mart has the price to beat.
It will be interesting to see how pricing changes on the Pixi given how inexpensive its bigger brother now is.Is this the price you’ve been waiting for?
The palm pre has been locked in a heated struggle against Apple over iTunes sync capabilities, but everybody knew they still had larger obstacles to overcome, namely price. When Apple reduced the cost of their iPhone 3G to $99 at its last WWDC, many described it as a game changer. The Palm Pre is a great device, but given the maturity and runaway popularity of the iPhone, the debut price of $199 for a Pre was clearly a problem.
The good news for Palm fans that have been holding off on upgrading, is that you can now pickup a Pre for only $99 on a two-year contract. It remains unclear if this price cut will be permanent, but it should at least help spark sales temporarily and get more Pre’s into the market.
Is this the price point you were waiting for?
Edit: Best Buy marketing manager John Bernier has reported via Twitter that the Pre is in fact still priced at $199 and that the "error is being corrected."
The Palm Pre App Catalog currently features only thirty apps and excepting one all others are in beta mode. A lot of people are eagerly waiting for a deluge of Pre apps to overwhelm them. But apps will only dribble in for a few more months as the official SDK (software development kit) isn’t available as yet. Palm has announced it intends to have the SDK fully ready by the end of the summer.
"We've been working very hard on the SDK and are eager to open access on a wider scale, but the software and the developer services to support it just aren't ready yet,” Palm wrote rather apologetically on its developer blog. It is believed that since the Palm Pre doesn’t still have a huge installed base a la the iPhone, many app developers may stick to developing apps for more popular platforms like the iPhone. But who knows the number of Pres sold during the months leading up to the release of the SDK might allow Palm to woo some of the dithering developers.
In October of this year, Adobe will release a beta version of its Flash Player 10 for mobiles, Adobe CEO Shantanu Naraye told investors. Supported OSes will include Google's Android, Nokia Symbian, Palm Web OS, and Windows Mobile powered devices.
"We are bringing Flash Player 10 to smartphone class devices to enable the latest web browsing experiences," Naraye said. "Multiple partners have already received early version of this release and we expect to release a beta version for developers at our Max conference in October."
As it currently stands, only Flash light can be found running on some platforms, a result of engineering challenges for high performance Flash and issues of control, VentureBeat says. To get that high performance, Flash needs to run in the lower layers of the OS or phone, something Android, Palm WeOS, Winmo, and Symbian are open to, but the same can't be said for RIM's BlackBerry and Apple's iPhone.
Adobe and new BFF Nokia announced a $10 million Open Screen Project fund to encourage developers to create Flash-based applications and services for mobile devices.
"We are excited about the Open Screen Project Fund and the possibilities it offers to designers and developers worldwide," said David Wadhwani, general manager and vice president of the Platform Business Unit at Adobe. "With close to 40 percent of all new mobile devices shipped with Flash Lite in 2008, the fund will enable more developers to bring their rich content and services to a large number of mobile users."
To make a bid for a portion of the grant money, interested developers are being asked to submit concepts for apps built around the Flash platform, capable of running on Nokia devices, and support a variety of screens, such as mobile, desktop, and consumer electronics devices. Once submitted, projects will be reviewed by Open Screen Project partners that include Adobe, Nokia, and Palm, who will be looking for how innovative and compelling the user experience is, how robust the application or planned implementation, and how well it exploits the capabilities and features of Nokia devices, the companies said.
More information, including how to apply, can be found here.
Patent #7,479,949 (better known as Touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics) has been awarded to Apple at long last. And while this is mighty good for Apple, this brings a lot of potential trouble for other multitouch smartphones in the future.
The Palm Pre is one of the many devices that should be looking over its shoulder. Given that it supports swiping and pinching, much like that of the iPhone, it has plenty to worry about (namely, Apple’s legal department).
And, if the rumor is true about Tim Cook’s thirst for the blood of anyone that’s looking to rip off Apple’s intellectual property, then just about anyone that’s looking to swipe, pinch or squeeze their way to a new phone experience should be careful to tread lightly.
Steve Ballmer’s luncheon meeting with Yahoo’s chairman Roy Bostock is being seen as a straw in the wind of a possible deal between the companies they serve. The possibility of such a deal has been ostensibly revived with last week’s meeting and the appointment of a new CEO over at Yahoo. But it might not be a great thing for Microsoft, after all.
Microsoft should concentrate on its core business of software, rather then treading Google’s domain – online search advertising, according to Slate’s Farhad Manjoo. In fact, he goes as far as saying that Microsoft should not even be in online advertising being a software company.
He points out that Microsoft’s core business has been ignored for a while and cites Vista and Windows Mobile as emblems of that ignorance. Manjoo finally has some M&A advice for Microsoft: buy Palm for just $1 billion or $2 billion instead of Yahoo - and its plethora of problems - for tens of billions.
Palm’s upcoming Pre is being tipped as the iPhone killer - that everyone is so desperately dying to encounter. Its interface does not appear to be a mere reinvention of the iPhone wheel, and may just be at the vanguard of mobile phone technology. On the other hand, Windows Mobile is a touch quaint compared to other mobile operating systems. So you can see why Microsoft’s unofficial M&A advisor believes that Palm may prove to be a better buy than Yahoo.
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