RIM, Apple, Microsoft and others have stolen a lot of thunder from Palm in the smartphone arena, who has seen a huge decline in market share. With even more competitors in the mix, such as Android, Palm has been trying to come up with an OS that will win back developers and users both, and they believe they can do that with their new webOS platform. The recently announced webOS, demoed side by side with their new handset, the Palm Pre, offers developers an easy platform to build upon, claiming that anyone skilled in CSS, HTML and XML will be able to write applications for the device.
The touch-screen UI is designed to be simple in appearance and functionality, and does appear rather modern. They are trying to play up the functionality of webOS with stuff such as IM services, web browsing, contact management, syncing with your PC, media player functionality, et cetera – all good features, but things that are pretty standard in smartphones these days.
Where's the wow factor? Palm seems to believe it is found in a combination of webOS and the new Palm Pre, a sleek-looking curved device. It has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and a powerful CPU, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi support, GPS and Bluetooth functionality, 8GB of onboard storage, a camera and more. The device is due for sale within the next few months, through Sprint exclusively.
Palm hasn't announced specific release dates or pricing yet, content to announce their new OS and the new phone. Will the new device have what it takes to sway the innumerable BlackBerry users? Palm has historically focused on business users, and RIM is not going to be easy competition for them.