Palm reportedly prepping second WebOS smartphone

TechCrunch claims the "Mini Pre," a smaller mobile device than the Palm Pre, will also run Palm's new operating system

Citing "one of our better sources," TechCrunch's Michael Arrington says Palm is preparing a second WebOS-based mobile device, which the technology blog has dubbed the "Mini Pre."

The sleek, multitouch Palm Pre smartphone was unveiled in January and is supposed to ship by the end of June. According to TechCrunch, Mini Pre will be a smaller device aimed at a different segment of users. But Arrington had no real details and didn't speculate on who the target users might be.

[ InfoWorld's Neil McAllister anticipates Palm charging back with webOS, and users are looking forward to the Palm Pre's official release | Stay ahead of advances in mobile technology with InfoWorld's Mobile Report blog and Mobilize newsletter. ]

There's a very good chance that the source is correct about another new Palm device, because Palm from the outset has made it clear that the Pre is simply the first device to make use of the vendor's innovative new operating system platform, WebOS. Palm has given no public indications of what kinds of devices it has in mind for the future, apart from versions of the Pre that will run on networks other than Sprint, the exclusive U.S. carrier for the new smartphone.

A Mini Pre could have a thinner form factor and as smaller screen, as well as eliminate the Pre's slide-out full keyboard. It could be focused on a subset of the consumer market, intended as a multimedia device, perhaps with just Wi-Fi connectivity like Apple's iPod Touch, which lacks the iPhone's 3G cellular radio.

You can see how the Pre measures up to the iPhone, based on their spec sheet details, in our online slideshow.

Early developers who have been building applications on WebOS have praised the software and the ease of writing applications for it.

This story, "Palm reportedly prepping second WebOS smartphone" was originally published by Network World.