Friday, January 9, 2009

Super-useful new Palm has new O.S.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Palm showed a new slider smart phone that lets users access their email, contacts and calendar schedules from multiple sources, as the company attempts to take back share in a market it once dominated.

Palm said its new device, Palm Pre, was designed to help users organize the data and information they may have scattered over multiple Websites and software programs and consolidate them so they can be accessed through one software application.

Palm Pre is built on a new operating system, which is called the Palm webOS, that the company says will make it easier for developers to create applications for Palm devices.

"We think it is the first device that will automatically navigate the Web," said Jon Rubinstein, Palm's executive chairman. The device is Palm's latest attempt to make headway in the smart-phone market. Palm was once a trendsetter in hand-held computers, and helped pioneer the smart-phone category earlier with the Treo device, but it has since been squeezed by competition from Blackberry and Apple's iPhone.

Unlike previous Palm devices, the Palm Pre can consolidate contact information from sources such as Microsoft Outlook email, Facebook and Google's Gmail, while eliminating duplicate data. Palm said Sprint Nextel will be its exclusive US network provider when it launches the phone in the first half of this year. Palm didn't disclose a price for the phone.

Connected calendars and contacts -- Pre uses the Palm® Synergy™ feature to bring your Outlook®,2 Google, and Facebook® calendars together for one logical view of your day. And if you have the same contacts in different places, Pre can link them together, making it easy to find the information you need.

Notifications bar -- Things like text messages and calendar appointments appear as notifications at the bottom of the screen. You’ll know what’s going on without being completely interrupted or losing your train of thought.

Universal search -- Simply start typing to begin searching your contacts, applications, Google, or even Wikipedia. Universal search narrows down the possible results as you type, so it’s easier to find what you need.

Email, Wi-Fi, and GPS -- Check email from Outlook® or personal accounts like Gmail, AOL, and Yahoo!. Take advantage of Wi-Fi hotspots. And look up directions or nearby points of interest using GPS.

Web-connected applications -- A fast browser brings you full websites the way they were meant to be seen. Plus, the applications on the phone are connected to the web and constantly updated, so you get the latest information without having to work for it.

Combined messaging -- Thanks to Synergy, all your conversations with the same person are grouped together in one chat-style view. (Even if it started in IM, for example, and you want to reply with text.) You can also see who’s online right from contacts, and start a new conversation with just one touch.

Slide-out keyboard -- Slide out the keyboard for faster and easier texting. Close it up and rotate Pre for music, websites, photos, and videos in full widescreen. (some info from The Wall Street Journal)

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