Live blog of Palm Pre Webcast

Sprint and Palm host the first in a series of Webcasts highlighting the Palm Pre smartphone; CNET is covering the event live.

Screenshot: Bonnie Cha/CNET

On Thursday, Palm and Sprint hosted a Webcast to spotlight the Palm Pre and what makes it different from any other smartphone on the market. Watch the event unfold here.

10:52 a.m. PDT: We're about 7 minutes away from the start. I'm logged in and jamming to some ridiculous music. Scheduled speakers include David Owens, director of consumer acquisition for Sprint, and Matt Crowley, product line manager for Palm.

10:58 a.m.: I see some of you are asking where you can watch the Webcast. According to my Palm contact, this is an invite-only event for the media so it won't be broadcast to all. However, a video of the Webcast should be available from Sprint at some point, though a specific date wasn't given. Two minute countdown!

11:00 a.m.: Here we go.

11:01 a.m.: Buzz kill: No information about pricing and date at this time.

11:02 a.m.: Mark Elliot from Sprint introducing the speakers. Discussing the longstanding relationship between Palm and Sprint. Sprint was first carrier to launch Treo 300, Treo 700p and Centro. So the relationship is a no-brainer.

11:02 a.m.: Also chose Sprint for its 3G network. Good for the Pre's multitasking.

11:05 a.m.: Now touting Sprint's Simply Everything Plan: $99.99 unlimited domestic voice, data, and text messaging. Sprint will not have all of its plan available for the Pre. They will offer Individual, Family, and Business.

11:07 a.m.: David Owens: Return rate of smartphones is 20 percent. Sprint hopes its Ready Now service, which shows customers how to use their devices, will reduce this number.

11:10 a.m.: Showing off the Palm Pre now and its design features. Nothing we haven't seen, though. A 3.1-inch display, gesture area. Standard 3.5mm headphone jack and silent-ringer switch on top. User-replaceable battery. MicroUSB port for high-speed 2.0.

11:14 a.m.: Within messaging application, you can pick up an instant-messaging conversation and convert into a text conversation. You can view Google, Yahoo, and various e-mails all in one view or separate views.

11:15 a.m.: "Oh, did I mention the slide-out QWERTY keyboard?" Matt Crowley. So far this Webcast is underwhelming. Nothing we haven't seen before. Show me something new, Palm.

Screenshot: Bonnie Cha/CNET

11:20 a.m.: Showing off the Touchstone accessory. Knows when it's on Touchstone and will automatically launch the speakerphone when a call comes in.

11:21 a.m.: That's it for the presentation. Really? That's it?

11:22 a.m.: Q&A time.
Q: Will all of Sprint's services be available on the Pre?
A: Some of them will be available. NFL, Nascar, Navigation. Music will be a little different, but most Sprint apps will be available on the Pre.

Q: Will the center button light up as it did in CES? A: Yes. Shows different functions.

Q: Is Pre still on target for first half of 2009?
A: Yes.

Q: Will Pre support Flash?
A: Referenced it partnership with Adobe, but skirted around the question about whether the Pre specifically will support Flash.

Q: Will Touchstone be available from Sprint?
A: Absolutely. Available at launch.

Q: Will you be able to charge the Palm Pre without using the Touchstone?
A: Yes, via the microUSB port.

Q: Will Palm continue to offer Windows Mobile products?
A: Yes. Palm Treo Pro is coming to Sprint this weekend. There are different constituents that need different types of devices.

Q: Will there be an app store for the Pre?
A: Yes. Will talk about it more later. There will be over-the-air application delivery to the Pre.

Q: Why no expansion slot?
A: They wanted to keep the device thin and the whole look they were going for...the whole curvature of the product prevented this.

Q: Why the name Pre?
A: The Pre is anticipatory. It's shows you what your options are. Thinking ahead of what steps you may want.

Screenshot: Bonnie Cha/CNET

Q: What plans do you need for the Pre?
A: Host of plans within Individual, Family, and Business. Simply Everything is not required. Recommends unlimited data plan since the Pre is so connected.

11:45 a.m.: This Webcast was really to highlight the relationship between Palm and Sprint. Stay tuned for more information closer to launch.

About the author

Bonnie Cha was a former chief correspondent for CNET Crave, covering every kind of tech toy imaginable (with a special obsession for robots and Star Wars-related stuff). When she's not scoping out stories, you can find her checking out live music or surfing in the chilly waters of Northern California.

 

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