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Palm News and Rumors

Verizon also getting Palm Pre; Sprint confirms 6-month exclusivity

Verizon is poised to get the Palm Pre within six months, reports Reuters. They will join GSM rival AT&T, who are also reported to be waiting to get the Pre after Sprint exclusivity ends. "Over the next six months or so you will see devices like Palm Pre and the BlackBerry Storm 2 on the Verizon Wireless network", CEO Lowell McAdam stated during a conference yesterday.

Sprint spokesman James Fisher confirmed the six-month exclusivity of the Pre. "We have the Pre through 2009". This follows up on earlier rumors that the CDMA provider will have the the webOS handset through the end of the year. It also falls in line with their track record of exclusives, usually lasting six to nine months. However it is still a far cry from AT&T's arrangement with Apple, who have had an iPhone exclusive for over three years and are pushing to extend it to 2011, notes mocoNews.

So if you're not currently on Sprint, will you be waiting for the Pre to come to Verizon or AT&T to pick one up?



Palm Pre to sync with iTunes (Update: on PC and Mac), support Push Gmail, IMAP

A new report on Forbes states that the Palm Pre will sync with iTunes "just as it would an iPod or iPhone", with the exception of DRM copy-protected songs. If it works as reported, this could open the door to possibly syncing album art, playlists, and other goodies to your webOS device that iPod junkies have been enjoying for years.

iTunes connectivity on the Pre would be a surprise, given the tension between the companies over multitouch that Apple has been stirring up for some time. However it was tipped off back in January, notes MyPre, when Peter Skillman, Palm VP of Design, mentioned that the device would "sync with iTunes" during a video walkthrough.

Given that Palm has several ex-Apple employees at the helm, including Jon Rubinstein (former head of Apple's iPod division) and Chuq Von Rospach, among others, could this turn some heads back at Apple headquarters? Apple has been quick to cut the cord on developers who have tried to circumvent control over their iTunes software in the past, notes CNET.

So would iTunes functionality be a big selling point for you, should it make its way onto the Pre?

In other news, a tipster at Precentral recently reported that the Pre will fully support IMAP IDLE on Gmail. This means that e-mail can get pushed to your Pre almost instantly, and could mean that all IMAP accounts (with IDLE support) will be able to push to the Pre. This functionality could provide a Pre users with a free e-mail system akin to what Blackberry and Exchange users enjoy, albeit a less robust one.

UPDATE: Palm's Jon Rubinstein confirmed today at D7 that the Pre will be able to sync with iTunes on both PC and Mac, notes Precentral. When you plug in the Pre, you get 3 options:

  • Media Sync
  • USB Drive
  • Just Charge

And is Apple open to this? "I can't see why they wouldn't be", he replied.



Leaked: Full Palm Pre documentation, activation details, photo stills

With the Pre launch arriving in just over a week, now is a good time as any to read up on how it works. Because once you get it, we know you will never get around to the manual while you poke, swipe, and pinch your way into learning the ins-and-outs of your new device. Thankfully, SprintGurus managed to get a hold of a very nice collection of Pre documentation, including a fact sheet, features guide, getting started guide, and of course, a massive 344-page user guide.

The Fact Sheet is more or less a list of features you would get from a reputable dealer, including and hardware and software capabilities, as well as battery life (which is rated as 4h talk / 200h standby), and box contents. The Features Guide goes into the various functions such as GPS, e-mail, and picture messaging, as well as Sprint Apps such as Nascar and Sprint TV. The Getting Started guide is probably what you want to look at to get up and running quickly, and has some navigation tips akin to the Gesture Guide already leaked. Meanwhile, the lengthy User Guide needs no introduction, and goes into all the nitty-gritty of owning a Palm Pre.

Head to the bottom for all the documentation. Also in case you missed it, a Business Launch Guide and Video Tour (via webOS Emulator) were already posted, which may also be good supplements before you take the plunge for real.

Inside Sprint Now also has the lowdown on Palm Pre Activation, so you know what to expect when you sign up for your new handset.

The detailed tutorial also troubleshoots potential issues; however we assume whoever is selling the phone will have access to similar resources, so hopefully you won't get stuck at this crucial moment. And if all goes well, "Congrats! You can now use your Pre!" *anticipation growing*

Finally, real photos taken with the elusive Pre handset have begun to trickle in (Pre testers have been spotted snapping away for some time). Sites like Gizmodo declare the 3MP image "Merely OK", and "similar to the iPhone". At first glance the image on the left looks quite respectable, but obvious imperfections at full resolution suggest the photos will be most suitable for Facebook and MySpace, rather than printing enlargements of any sort. Other images have come by the way of Flickr (which already has a Palm Pre page set up), and may be a good source for more early snapshots.



AT&T to get Palm Pre after Sprint; new Eos ("Castle") factsheet leaked

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson announced at the D7 conference today that he "sees AT&T selling the Pre after the exclusive arrangement with Sprint expires", reports Precentral. As to when Sprint exclusivity will end, we don't have confirmation yet, although some earlier rumors suggest that the CDMA carrier could have it as long as the end of 2009.

Palm's new thinline webOS handset is also coming to the GSM giant, and the last time we heard of the sexy, 10.6mm Centro replacement was back in April, and it was codenamed "Pixie". A new AT&T factsheet has been leaked via Engadget, with more details of the upcoming webOS smartphone, along with a new codename, "Castle".


The device will sport the "New Palm OS experience", which we assume means webOS (since Palm OS is being discontinued), be available in the second half of 2009, and will cost $299 after a $50 mail-in rebate (which would make it pricier than the Pre at $199 after a $100 MIR). Initial applications will include an integrated IM client, AT&T Navigator, Yellowpages.com, and MediaNet apps. The device comes with 4GB of storage and bluetooth 2.1 w/ A2DP, however no indication of wifi support.

So do you plan on waiting to upgrade your AT&T handset to one with webOS? Details of new Android, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile models are among other slides leaked, which should make for a very strong AT&T lineup in the months ahead.



O2 Palm Pre exclusivity rumors heating up

Previously, Telefonica was rumored to be the carrier of the Pre in Spain and Latin America, with subsidiary O2 bringing the Pre to the UK. A new report by the Guardian states that O2 has bested competitors Vodafone and Orange, and will be the exclusive provider the Pre in the UK by Christmas. O2 is the UK's largest mobile phone operator, with more than 20 million customers.

O2 did not confirm or deny the rumors, instead stating, "we do not comment on rumor and speculation". If the rumors do pan out however, the new webOS handset will come at a good time for the UK provider. While O2 is the exclusive UK provider of the iPhone, Apple is soon expected to open up the handset to other providers, reports vnunet.

Other providers to carry the Pre include Telstra, rumored to bring the Pre to Australia, and Bell Mobility, who are confirmed to bring the Pre to Canada, possibly as early as August.




Sprint addresses Palm Pre shortage issues

So far, there has been several disturbing rumors that suggest a massive Pre supply shortage at launch. For example, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse stated that they don't intend to heavily advertise the new webOS device early on, due to expected shortages. Also, analysts estimate that Pre stock would max out at about 375,000 units (compared to 1 million iPhone 3G units at launch that sold in just 3 days).

Best Buy was also rumored to get only 4,250 Pre phones, or about 4 per store, and launch in 2 phases to handle the limited stock. RadioShack could even be worse off, with rumors of a dismal 2 per store Pre stock on average. The inventory will be "murderously small", an article at Palm Goon states.

However, while Sprint has not denied that supply may not meet demand, the rumors so far are speculative, an official statement concludes via Boy Genius.

At Sprint, we’re excited by the response to the Palm Pre, but what’s been posted is pure speculation. Because of the Pre’s popularity, it’s likely that initially we won’t be able to keep up with the demand for the device. If that happens, we will work diligently to ensure that everyone who wants a Pre can get one as soon as possible.

So while you still shouldn't wake up too late on June 6 to grab your Pre (Premier customers might be able to pick one up early), at least we know that Sprint is looking out for customers and making sure that everyone can get a Pre in good time. What kind of Pre shortages are you expecting, come launch day?



Leaked: Palm Pre Launch Guide, webOS application list; core apps detailed

A couple new juicy Sprint internal documents leaked out today, including a 23-page Pre launch guide and a list of webOS apps available at or near launch. Also, guided tours of some of the core webOS apps were posted. The big one is the launch guide, which comes courtesy of Precentral, and is full of Palm Pre info, containing details about pricing, service plans, synergy, new first-party accessories, and more.

Being an internal guide, it also gives tips to employees on how to properly qualify customers, a FAQ, and training resources. Below is a summary of any interesting material; download the full PDF for all the details, and to follow along. You can view the table of contents here.

Pre Launch Guide:

Pricing: To see how Sprint ended up with the $199 price, the breakdown is $549 - $150 (2 year savings) - $100 Instant Rebate - $100 MIR (although Best Buy is making this instant rebate). (Page 2)

New Accessories: In addition to the Touchstone dock for $69.99, there will be a few more first-party accessories (below), including a car charger, wall charger, and a couple cases from $24.99. (Page 6)

Plans: (Pages 7-9)

  • Several talk and data plans will be available, including pooled minute plans (business), individual plans (business & consumer), and shared minute plans (business and consumer).
  • Plans range from $70-100 for individual plans and $130-190 for shared (2-line) plans.
  • You cannot purchase legacy plans, and there is a referral program for friend and family at sprint.com/everythingplus.
  • Corporate customers may be eligible for a $100 port-in offer.

Competition: AT&T already has a chart up bashing the Pre, but a new chart casts the Pre features in a better light (below). Of note is that Sprint's $100 Simply Everything plan will save you at least $300/year over the competition (Page 10). More info after the break.



Palm Pre and webOS news shorts for today

In addition to news about the recent Palm Pre FCC certification and happenings at Best Buy, there were a few more events in the world of webOS today. Below are a few tidbits from industry sources around the web to keep you on top of all the Pre news. 

Another Pre spotted in the wild

We should be seeing a lot more of these as time goes on. PreThinking got another look at a Palm Pre in the wild, this time at an airport. The shiny new smartphone appears to be booting up, with the Palm logo showing on the screen. The device has previously been spotted on the Caltrain, in San Francisco at a Public Event, and running a YouTube App, among others.

Palm Pre makes impression on testers

Reports are out today that people have been busy testing the Pre, as ad impressions were recorded with the webOS user agent, reports mocoNews.  “Initial Palm Pre impressions showed up on the network, as Palm apparently started to seed the market pre-consumer launch,” reports Millennial Media. The report also found that the iPhone is ranked number 2 on the list, after Samsung for ad impressions. Millennial Media is one of the largest mobile ad networks in the US, and the report confirms that users have indeed been viewing ads on the Palm Pre, pre-launch. More news after the break.



Pre officially receives FCC certification

The final legal hurdle for the Pre has been cleared by Palm, reports Engadget. This confirms earlier rumors that the device was in the clear with the FCC. Two filings (link 1, link 2) find that the new webOS device has been granted FCC certification, which generally ensure that the device will not interfere with other devices or emit harmful radiation. Among other informcation, the filings state the Pre's SAR rating (Specific Absorption Rate), and confirm that WiMax is not supported on the device.

For those interested, a complete list of of cell phone radiation levels can be found here. The Pre carries an SAR rating of 1.284 and 0.965 W/kg to the head and body, respectively, which would put it around the middle of the pack, notes Precentral.



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