Palm Press Conference Wrap-Up

[CES 2010] Palm picked up a slew of accolades at CES last year with the release of their pre smartphone as well as its webOS, but somehow they did not manage to translate that success on the commercial front to one huge money spinning business. Well, let us hope that things will look up for them this year with all the hard work put in, and here’s a more detailed look after the jump at a blow-by-blow account of what happened a couple of hours ago at the Palm Press Conference just in case you missed the action on our live site.

Palm Mobile Hotspot
The introduction Palm Mobile Hotspot by Verizon Wireless also makes your pre plus or pixi plus into an intelligent mobile hotspot for wireless tethering.

Palm pixi plus
The little pixi also gets an update, and not missing out on the action, it is known as the pixi plus. This thin and lightweight device features what pixi users were clamoring for all this while – Wi-Fi connectivity (802.11b/g)! Targeting those who are about to make their first move into the smartphone market, there is no word on how much it will cost although this Verizon Wireless exclusive handset will hit the market this January 25th. There are interchangeable color covers the for pixi plus (all 5 of them), and we don’t suppose more are to come in the future? These color covers are touchstone compatible as well.

Palm pre plus
The Palm pre sees an update in the form of the Palm pre plus, where it does away with the navigation button while featuring double the internal memory alongside 16GB of flash memory now, translating to a more speedy user experience. Pricing details are still secret, but as the January 25th release date approaches, more details ought to be made available. Bear in mind that this is an exclusive phone for Verizon Wireless only, and there is no word on a GSM version in the works just yet.

webOS 1.4
Yes, webOS might be in version 1.3.5 at the moment, but webOS 1.4 will offer video editing, recording and sharing capability alongside full Flash 10 Beta support in the browser. Of course, these are just two of numerous features and improvements, but we’ll have to wait until February when this over-the-air (OTA) update is made available to all existing webOS-powered Palm device owners. You will be able to see this OTA update available in the form of a gift box icon on your display, which means there is no need to upgrade your hardware.

Games, games, games
Portable gaming had always been popular, but compared to last time, there are more platforms to get your portable gaming fix than ever before. Palm’s sensitivity to the market sees them team up with a bunch of mobile game developers including GameLoft and EA Mobile, and we’re going to see a slew of new games roll out from today onwards. We were treated to real-time performance of Need for Speed: Underground and The Sims 3 on the Palm pre plus, and were not disappointed by the performance. Graphics were smooth with a little bit of choppiness once in a while, but otherwise the graphics look much better than what is offered on the Nintendo DS platform, although we wouldn’t say they are PSP-standard. There are questions that arise concerning the performance of these games on lower clock speed Palm devices though.

Hot Apps bonus program
Want to get rich quick without taking your chances at Vegas? The Hot Apps bonus program is offering a cool $1,000,000 cash prize for developers who create the best distribution program between now till later this year. Put your programming hats on, it is time to let those fingers flow with code before you earn (nearly) enough money to buy a Bugatti Veyron.

Palm PDK announced
Palm has finally seen the light, and opened up their platform to developers everywhere (competent ones, hopefully). We do wish that there will be a decent screening process so that shovelware won’t fill up the virtual servers for webOS software, but this is big news as it would mean Palm is taking a pro-active approach after realizing that software is where the value is these days. Hopefully this effort will see Palm catch up with Android and the 800lb gorilla, the Apple App Store. Programming can be done in C and C++, and the PDK (Palm Development Kit) will be released at the Game Developers Conference in March later this year.

Palm collaborates with SFR in France
Palm has formed a partnership with SFR in France, as the brand still has a very strong presence in that part of Europe. Both the Palm pre and pixi will arrive in France later this year (2nd quarter), and pricing details have yet to be revealed. Apparently, SFR talked to Apple prior to this, but they decided to settle on an agreement with Palm instead. With their objective to provide at least 50% of their customers with smartphones by 2012 (in time for the Olympics?), let us wish them good luck!

Palm pixi interchangeable covers
The Palm pixi gets interchangeable covers with designs by artists. These are limited in their production, touching just a few thousand for each design so once they are sold out, that’s that. No idea on whether they will become a collector’s item many years from now, but we seriously doubt so.

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