Palm calls it a comeback with the Palm Pre

Palm has finally demonstrated its next-generation operating system on a new smartphone called the Pre, leaving out many details but impressing early reviewers.

Palm's new Pre, running its WebOS mobile operating system. Corrine Schulze/CNET

Palm took one giant step toward regaining its position as a relevant mobile computing company with the introduction of the Palm Pre on Thursday.

If you missed out on Ina Fried's live coverage of Palm's press conference in Las Vegas at CES, here are a few basic details about the Pre (rhymes with glee). It's a touch-screen phone with a slide-out keyboard than runs WebOS, Palm's long-awaited new operating system formerly code-named Nova.

Sprint will be the exclusive launch carrier for the Pre, which comes with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a 3.1-inch display, GPS, and 8GBs of storage, among other things. Palm did not announce a price for the Pre, but said it should be available some time in the first half of 2009.

Like the Apple's iPhone, Palm's Pre has a single button when the slide-out keyboard is shut. Everything on the screen can be controlled by gestures similar to the ones used on the iPhone, and the homescreen has four icons at the bottom for the most frequently used tasks, such as the phone, e-mail, and calendar.

Unlike the iPhone, it has the aforementioned hardware keyboard, and what appears to be a background notification system for applications. Apple has promised to roll out some sort of background notification system that lets applications send notifications to the user when they are running a different application, but they arewell past their deadline of September 2008 for doing so.

We're awaiting many more details on the Pre, such as what it will cost, how application distribution will work, battery life, and multimedia support. Stay tuned for those.

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