D-Day Set For Palm Pre Launch: June 6

By Joseph Palenchar On Jun 1 2009 - 6:00am




The highly anticipated Palm Pre smartphone will go on sale June 6 at $199 in Sprint-owned stores as well as through Best Buy, RadioShack, select Wal-Mart stores and www.sprint.com, Sprint announced.

The price is with two-year service agreement and after $100 rebate, said Sprint, which offers the Pre on an exclusive basis for an unspecified period. The CDMA 1x EV-DO Rev. A phone will be sold only with the carrier's Everything Data plan or with the Business Essentials with Messaging and Data plan. Both include unlimited data service with a 5GB cap. Two Everything Data plans cost $69.99 and $89.99 per month with 450 and 900 minutes of voice calling, respectively. The Business Essentials plans range in price from $69.99 to $229 for 400 to 4,000 voice minutes, respectively.

Separately, Sprint will offer the $49.99 Touchstone charger dock, promoted as the first inductive charging solution for phones. When the Pre is placed on the stone-shaped dock to charge, users can access its touchscreen, watch movies or video, or use the speakerphone.

The phone, based on Palm's WebOS operating system, is equipped with 3.1-inch touchscreen and slide-down QWERTY keyboard. It's positioned as offering business and personal entertainment features without compromising one or the other, said Sprint president/CEO Dan Hesse, “The argument that you need one phone for work and another phone for play, or that you have to make compromises between business and lifestyle productivity, is over.”

Unlike almost every other smartphone, Palm said, the 3G Pre runs multiple live applications simultaneously like a desktop or laptop computer. In doing so, the phone stacks multiple live screens on top of one another like a deck of cards. Consumers swipe a finger across the top card to “deal” it away, revealing the card underneath. Users can also stack multiple live Web pages or multiple email messages on top of one another.

A feature called Synergy aggregates contact lists, calendar items and email messages from multiple sources, including Web-based sources. The contact list, for example, automatically combines contacts lists from a user's Outlook, Facebook, Google and other contact lists. The calendar function automatically aggregates a user's Outlook, Google and Facebook calendars, then displays appointments from all of the calendars at once. If the user chooses to display only calendar at a time, the phone still indicates that certain times are booked on the other calendars. Multiple email inboxes are also aggregated, as are multiple instant messaging accounts.

The OS also enables a universal search function, which lets users type in words to search for information stored in any application on the phone. If the information isn't stored in the phone, the phone automatically searches the Web for the data through Google.

The OS also displays notifications of email, instant messages and appointments when a user is in another application.

Pre also accesses such Sprint services as Sprint Navigation and Sprint TV.

For enterprises, the Pre features Microsoft Direct Push Technology requires Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 with SP2 or Exchange Server 2007.

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