Palm, Sprint Give No Launch Date or Price for Pre
At the onset of the presentation a Sprint spokesman laid down the hard word: The operator is sticking to its previous "first half of this year" schedule for launch and not offering "any updates" on pricing.
The companies also confirmed that an application store will be launched for the device but -- surprise, surprise -- aren't revealing any more details on that yet.
Instead, David Owens, director of consumer acquisition for Sprint, talked up the benefits of Sprint's 3G network and "Ready Now" scheme. The operator will be offering the device with 450 voice minutes, 900 voice minutes, and unlimited voice call plans. It intends to offer unlimited data plans with these brackets. The plans will start at $69, while the "Simply Everything" unlimited voice and data plan will cost customers $99.
Palm product line manager Matt Crowley, meanwhile, gave an overview of the device's specifications and rounded design. "It feels great in the hand," Crowley offered.
The Palm product guy also highlighted a couple of concrete ways that the touch-screen device differs from its main rival, the 3G Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone, namely that users can replace the battery themselves. (See Prey for the iPhone?)
Like the Apple, however, the new 8-GB Palm doesn't offer more memory with replaceable SD cards. Palm couldn't have offered a memory expansion slot and "done a product this thin," explained Crowley in response to questions about what some consider a limiting factor for the product.
Sprint is promising that the WebOS-based phone will offer over-the-air updates for a user's Gmail email account and a server-based connection to Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Exchange support at launch. The partners also showed off the "Touchstone" charging dock, which allows users to charge the device without plugging the handset in. The Pre can simply be set on the Touchstone pad to charge.
The device will also be one of the first mobile devices that can support high-definition (HD) video. This is because the device is one of the first units to use the Texas Instruments Inc. (NYSE: TXN) OMAP 3430 applications processor. (See The Power Behind the Palm Pre.)
Palm and Sprint didn't really touch on the video aspect on the call. Indeed, it may seem mildly perverse to worry about such a feature on a handset with a tiny low-resolution screen, at least in comparison to flat-screen HDTVs. Analysts and vendors, however, suggest that the industry is thinking ahead to a future where users record HD clips using their handsets and then watch them on their TVs.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung