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We ask Palm: Where's HotSync and Palm Desktop to go with Pre?

Palm's strategy has always called for a computer program to run with its handhelds. Is the Pre the end of the trend?

Matt Hickey

While Palm has likely done a notably good job with the new Pre smartphone of reversing its slide into obscurity, the company has said little about the other half of its historical strategy, that of desktop syncing.

With the original Pilot 1000, Palm made handheld devices viable by including a technology it called HotSync with every device. HotSync allowed for one-touch synchronization of personal information data--like phone numbers, to-do lists, and even e-mails--between the organizer and your desktop or laptop software. That allowed you to carry your most up-to-date appointments and contacts around before there were ubiquitous wireless networks.

It also featured the Palm Desktop, custom software that gave users a centralized interface to manage this content. Palm did a reasonable job keeping it updated, but it's looking old by 2009 standards.

The Pre, though, uses Palm's system called "Synergy" to pull multiple address books, to-do lists, and e-mail and calendar sources over the air via the Internet into a single interface in real time. This makes both HotSync and the Palm Desktop redundant.

But don't count the desktop element out yet. I called Palm, which responded that it's not commenting yet on the software end, but there might be more news closer to launch time.

Sounds to us like there might be some desktop or laptop client software involved, but is it HotSync, Palm Desktop, or some other application to work with Synergy? Our guess is the latter, but we can't be sure yet.