They say fate's a fickle mistress, but destiny's got nothing on the free market. For every Microsoft-esque success story, there's the burnt out husk of Sun Microsystems (R.I.P.). The really interesting tales have nothing to do with overwhelming successes or overwhelming failures, though; any budding novelist can tell you that a good story needs some tension.
After all the rumors and leaks, the Palm Pre 2 has been officially outed by HP. This will be the first device to ship with HP webOS 2.0 that has been detailed for months now. The Pre 2 will pack all the software experiences we are used to in webOS, from multitasking cards, to the HP Synergy syncing solution. WebOS now has support for stacking cards for better viewing, and access to the Adobe Flash 10.1 beta.
The Pre 2 is an upgrade in some ways, and looks like its standing still in others. The form factor is mostly the same, but with slightly flatter edges. The slider portrait keyboard is still there as well. The camera has been updated to a 5MP sensor, but it is still just extended depth of field, not autofocus. The CPU will be a 1GHz chip; presumably a TI OMAP. The screen is, disappointingly, still only HVGA resolution.
France will see the phone this Friday on carrier SFR. US residents will have their chance in the next few months with the Pre 2 landing on Verizon. If this an intriguing phone for you, or is it just too little too late?
Hot on the heels of the leaked internal specs, some images of what appears to be the Palm Pre 2 have found their way onto the web. The first thing you're likely to notice is that the Pre 2 (or whatever they end up calling it) looks almost identical to the original Pre. But there's no mistaking it, this is not an original Pre.
The rim seems more flattened, and the face of the phone is flat instead of slightly curved. The charger door is different as well. The screen still looks about the same size, and many are pegging the screen resolution at the same 480x320 of the original Pre. This would be a shocking move, as HVGA screens are now mostly reserved for mid-range devices. Could this be where Palm is targeting the new Pre?
The rumored specs have this handset running webOS 2.0, a 1GHz CPU, and 512 MB of RAM. Those are certainly high-end internals, we'll just have to wait to see what the full specs are. Could a new high-end phone come in above the Pre?
French carrier SFR may have gotten a little ahead of themselves recently when they posted specs for the Palm Pre 2. The images they used appear to be stock shots from the original Pre, but the specs are in line with what rumors have previously indicated. According to SFR, the Pre 2 will pack a 1GHz CPU (probably an OMAP3630) and 512MB of RAM. The phone will be running on WebOS 2.0 as well.
It's now been about a year since Palm launched the Pixi, a low end companion to the Pre. Since then Palm has fallen off its game and was bought by HP, which intends to use WebOS on printers. We can only hope that the rumors of a new Palm phone are true. With these rumored specs, WebOS could finally get the horsepower is deserves. The problem, will users care when Palm releases another phone, or will they have already moved on? What do you think? Real specs or not?
Palm Pre modder who goes by the name "unixpsycho" is living up to his nick with a new bit of firmware that comes with following disclaimer in big, bold, red lettering:
"DO NOT INSTALL THIS IF YOU LIKE YOUR PHONE!!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!"
If that sounds over the top, consider that his latest firmware -- SR71 Blackbird -- pushes the Palm Pre's OMAP 3430 processor to 1.2GHz. That's twice the speed this little chip was meant to run at, which ships stock at 600MHz.
For those willing to throw caution to the wind, there are some safety measures that keeps this from being a total smartphone suicide mission. Temp monitoring comes built in, and whenever the chip jumps past 55C, the firmware ramps things down to 500MHz, "or at least it should."
Palm CEO Jon Rubenstein gave an exclusive interview to CNN Money today, and it was an ugly sight. Everyone knows that we loved the Palm Pre when it debuted at CES in 2009, but it was quickly lost in the smart phone shuffle among heavyweights such as iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. The hardware and software concepts gave it a serious chance to compete with the big guys, but in the end the lackluster launch didn't win over enough third party developers, causing the platform to stagnate next to its rivals.
Given the gruesome reality facing Rubinstein these days, I think most people are surprised to see he is still working the interview circuit at all. The vast majority of the CNN questions were a spin on "Guess you guys are out of luck" and "so has anyone offered to buy Palm yet"? Despite the hard line, Rubinstein maintains that Palm has "tremendous assets" and that people should take note of the state of the company prior to webOS.
Palm's primary advantage at this point lies in its ability to multitask, but if the platform lacks compelling applications, who cares how many of them you can run in the background. Everyone here is hoping Palm has what it takes to turn its fortunes around, but there isn't an analyst out there right now with as much optimism about the company's future as Rubenstein.
Feel free to check out the full interview, and let us know what you think lies in the future for Palm.
It's getting pretty hard to compete with Android, the hottest mobile OS on the planet that seems to be wedging itself into nearly every new smartphone announcement. Would a price cut and two-for-one offer be enough to sway you towards WebOS?
Verizon Wireless will soon find out who, after slashing the prices on their Palm phones, is now offering a buy-one-get-one free special. You can now pick up a pair of Palm Pre Plus smartphones for $50, or two Palm Pixi Plus handests for $30. That becomes pretty compelling with phones like Google's Nexus One selling for $529.
If that weren't enough, Verizon also dropped the price tag altogether on its 3G Mobile Hotspot feature for the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus. This used to be a $40 service, but now it won't cost you a dime to connect your smartphone's 3G Internet connection with up to five other Wi-Fi devices, like your laptop or iPad.
Two year contract and monthly data plans both apply, but this is a heck of a deal if you've been eying the Palm's WebOS phones.
While there is no gainsaying the fact that the Pre did lend a fatally rudderless Palm some direction, the much anticipated forward thrust is an entirely different matter. The impetus that Palm hoped to receive from its dapper webOS products hasn't materialized. The Sunnyvale-based company has lowered its guidance for the current fiscal. It blamed the move on lower-than-expected sales of its new webOS-based phones.
“Since the quarter has not yet closed, it is too soon to offer exact numbers, but we stated that we expect to report revenues for Q3 between $300 and $320 million. We also announced that we expect our revenue for this fiscal year to fall below the guidance we gave to Wall Street, which ranged from $1.6 to $1.8 billion,” CEO Jon Rubinstein announced in an internal email meant for employees. Its full financial results will be announced next month.
Rubinstein clarified that the the abrupt announcement was being made in order to “prevent a surprise for Wall Street when we announce quarterly earnings in March.” But this announcement did take many by surprise and sent its shares down south. Its share price dropped 13% on the news before eventually making a bit of a come back.
The company is currently pursuing a new strategy to improve sales. “To accelerate sales, we initiated Project JumpStart nearly three weeks ago. Since then, nearly two hundred Palm Brand Ambassadors, supplemented by Palm employees from Sunnyvale, have been training Verizon sales reps across the U.S. on our products.” It clearly believes that lack of awareness and Verizon's poor handling of its products are the two major factors hampering sales.
Being a PC enthusiast and a gadget nerd go pretty much hand in hand, but have you ever wondered what it actually cost the manufacturers to assemble your army of iPod's and book reader's? Well wonder no longer because marketing research group iSuppli and Business Week have teamed up to tear down over 25 popular gadgets and have come up with what they consider a pretty accurate ball park picture of the manufacturing costs. Some of the results appear to be a bit out of date, particularly when it comes to the consoles, but it still gives a pretty good overview of how much money each product is raking in.
As you would expect most gaming consoles continue to sell at a loss, but many of the popular new smart phones actually make a fair bit of money when you factor in the kickbacks they probably get from the carriers. You can check out the full article to read about all 25 of the gadgets from the tear down, or review our sampling below for some of the more interesting snippets to save you time.
The spec sheets for the Verizon versions of Palm’s WebOS phones appear to have leaked ahead of the official CES event tomorrow. Sadly, there aren’t any big surprises here. The phones will be called the Palm Pre Plus and Palm Pixi Plus, a naming scheme seemingly designed to get under Sprint’s skin.
The Pre Plus will get a welcome storage bump to 16GB from the current 8GB. The Pixi Plus will thankfully have Wi-Fi on board now. Neither phone will be graced with a MicroSD card slot or support for video recording, though. The Pixi will also still be equipped with the same middling CPU found in the Sprint version. No pricing or release dates were leaked, but we’ll most likely get those at the Palm event tomorrow.