Palm to partner with Sprint for its new Pre

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With perhaps the entire company on the line, Palm has one more shot at glory with the likely introduction of an entirely new smartphone line.

12:14pm PT: AG: Cynic one, converted. Hot damn.

12:10pm PT: JE: Ed Colligan is back. "We're eating our own dogfood here...We think that human-centric approach combined some amazing technology" is what sets the Pre apart. He shows photo of team in Sunnyvale. This platform will be the basis of innovation from Palm for a decade to come," according to Colligan.

12:07pm PT: AG: Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, on stage now. Facebook now has 150 million plus users. Would love to know what that activity curve looks like, wouldn't you? (Hint: my status line is at least three days old.)

Facebook Connect for Mobile OTW this year. 20.8 million Facebook users access through mobile devices, and they're 50% more active than the general population.

12:03pm PT: JE: Pre will be running on "most dependable network in the country. So it's the best smartphone on the best platform." Hesse claims that independent testing shows downloads fastest on Sprint's network. Also, Sprint's coverage area is four times larger than AT&T's.

He introduced the Simply Everything plan so people can do everything and not worry about the meter running out.

Simply Everything plan will save people $480 over AT&T and Verizon We will also personally help customers learn to set up devices and personalize the phone. "We've also made other strides in improving customer service." So with the integration of information when you need it we expect that Palm Pre will be iconiic device."

Colligan comes back. Product will be available through Sprint first half of 2009. Colligan also talks about other partners -- Around 15 of them. Facebook is one of the partners. We think they have a ot of synergy with us.

12:02pm PT: AG: Dan Hesse talking about the Gizmodo 3G taste test. You gotta admit the man is doing his damnedest to bring the company back from the brink.

Hesse talking about brutal return rate on smartphones. Wish I had. Hesse expects Pre to be "iconic and in-demand device." Go to sign to sign up for notification when available which is first half 2009. Not through FCC cert yet. (Why must they torment me??)

11:56am PT: AG: Sprint is the launch partner?! Dan Hesse is here? I might just walk up and hand him this godforsaken [BlackBerry Pearl right here. I mean it. Sprint is the first US provider and I just might be first in line.

11:55am PT: JE: Wireless charging using conductive technology. (It includes a little circular thing for that.) Universal search, unobtrusive notification, Palm Synergy, cards for multiple activities at once. Rubinstein sums up these features.

Colligan returns. How does Pre (which has an accent above the "e") fit into the market? We think it's one phone you can use in your whole life? We have an exclusive launch partner. Sprint is going to be joining us in that launch.

Dan Hesse of Sprint comes to state. The Pre allows you to run multiple applications to be open at the same time and flick between them. (There are others that allow you to have multiple applications going at the same time, but all but one are in background mode.) Hesse says this flicking between open apps is a first.

11:52am PT: JE: John Rubinstein comes back to stage. "That demo just scratches the surface of what Web OS is capable of."

11:52am PT: AG: Next presenter who says One More Thing is going to be mulched. Inductive charger? Yes! And a beautiful one that doubles as an elegant little stand! Wireless power really is a subtheme worth noting this year. Charger is called "Touchstone."

11:50am PT: JE: You can get notifications from your MP3 player, too, telling you what is playing. It's very easy to develop for, suing CSS, HTML, and JavaScript.

The notifications are completely open in design. "I can hardly wait to see what developers will come up with." (Earlier in the presentation, we learned that this new Pre smartphone also has a slideout keyboard.)

11:48am PT: AG: Notifications are done in a really nice way, unobtrusive but with good usability. I like sidekick's notifications but these are well done too. Urgent alerts have some damn manners -- they resize you workspace but that's as much interruption as you get. Which is going to be revelatory for those accustomed to Windows, I think.

11:46am PT: JE: You can also get notification about IMs, e-mails, or just about anything the developer wants wherever you're working, and you can choose to ignore the alerts if you want.

11:45am PT: JE: We are now being shown the "slick" browser for the Web OS. You can open up the cards in the browser. You can also tap in a URL to navigate to a site or do a Web search. Oh, here is something really cool, you can rotate the screen to the side and get a horizontal mode on the browser to view a larger portion of the screen. You can gesture to make it work right. Then you just turn the phone around to get back into the vertical (portrait) mode.

11:44am PT: AG: Onward to the keyboard, which can do navigation. Michael Bluth (apparently no relation) is speaking.

Search works out in concentric circles -- if info isn't local, the OS asks you where you'd like to look online. Browser is hotsy -- nice rendering, guys. Web pages on cards, of course, and you can have multiple cards open. Internal gyroscope is working.

Rotation rotates the card view too! That's a fun way to look at these things!

11:41am PT: AG: Can't wait to see how memory allocation and release works -- if it isn't well done, I reckon things could get cloggy. But Palm has always done that well, so I am hopeful.

Flock-style buddy list (or Adium) all-in-one. Yes, this is where IM should be. Easy to bop between IM, e-mail, and phone -- conversations are persistent.

11:39am PT: AG: Free time is compressed like an accordion for max visibility. That's nice. Now remind me again what "free time" is.

Oh, wow. You can view inboxes separately or use the "All Inboxes" view. Hawt.

Loving the cross-account e-mail address search. Everyone needs that immediately.

Cards metaphor means you can flip among e-mails, even while composing.

11:38am PT: AG: A person has to wonder how close Sprint and Verizon, our two EV-DO-using providers, were to the dev process and how long it'll take to haul it to the stores.

That's one hot-looking calendar. And I like the integration of multiple calendars which...well, the silos can be to "silo-y."

11:36am PT: AG: The quick-launch wave is like the bubble bar in OS 9, to give you an idea, but again it's nicely curvy.

Dig the bulletin board, which includes pushpins.

The metaphor for the workspace is a deck of cards. It's a bit like cover view in iTunes, but has much more on the ball -- not just pretty, but organized. Flinging cards around the desktop.

Damn, I don't remember the last time I was loving a Palm product this much, and I owned a Samsung i330 for years and years.

11:32am PT: JE: With the new OS, "you focus on your content, and what's important to you."

If you want to scroll through your contact list, you just give it a flick. Then you can look at Sophie (for instance) and quickly see her contact info. There is a gesture area at the bottom of the screen. Flicking is like turning the pages of a book. All navigation is just like turning the pages of the book. It's completely ambidexterous. Another gesture, aside from flicking is sliding.

If you want to look at pictures you tap on them. This is a really simple UI. The hardware is very simple, too. But Web OS will also include the buttons that people are used to in Web OS.

"This is the kind of newness you were hoping to see today, right? But it isn't good enough. What we need is the kind of flexibility we get from the desktop computer.

Palm continues to talks about its new interface, which uses a card-based metaphor. "All of our applications flow into the Web." The interface contains an area called Synergy which has all your contact info. (There is a card for each person. There are links to each person's social networking pages. Facebook, Google info all in one place, for example. "We apply the same principals of Synergy to Calendar."

11:30am PT: AG: The gesture area is nice, all basic navigation is gestures. (Ambidextrous!) The screen sure won't get as smudgy.

Wow, the old Palm Launcher look -- this is a good looking update.

The chassis is gently curved, to fit around the cheek -- the corners are rounded like a pebble. You do want to touch the thing. (Applause for the quick-launch wave.)

11:29am PT: AG: QWERTY! "Those cheesy virtual keyboards just don't cut it." Testify! 4.8 oz.

Entering the stage: Matias Duarte, Senior Director, Human Interface and User Experience, Palm.

Walking through the interface now. Direct manipulation gestures. "Our touch is special; it goes beyond the screen." (reserving comment)

11:26am PT: JE: Has gesture areas, has a lot of sensors. 4.0 Mp (correction) camera.

11:25am PT: AG: Pretty thing, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, GPS with built-in navigation, EV-DO, Bluetooth, 8 GB storage, fast processor, 3.1-inch display, 320 x 490 touchscreen, gesture area center button, volume control.

On the back, 3 Mp camera with LED flash, speaker, release for removable battery, Micro USB for charging, USB drive, 3.5 mm headphone jack, ringer on/off (old-school Palm a little).

11:24am PT: JE: It is my pleasure to show you the new Palm Pre. The design was inspired by nature."

11:23am PT: JE: "We can build a lot of cool devices on that," Colligan said.

Angela Gunn: Built with Web developers in mind, it uses standard tools -- HTML, CSS, JavaScript. Tens of millions of developers can build for this platform. (Translation: We are not gonna be so Apple about this.)

11:21am PT: Jacqueline Emigh: Ed Colligan, Palm CEO, ascended the stage to make the announcement of the new Palm Web OS.

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