Palm Pre news next week?

It looks like Palm could launch its next-generation smartphone as early as next week -- but will it be enough?

I've been a champion of Palm for a long time, but the current Palm OS is more than a little long in the tooth. Luckily, it appears that pricing and availability on the highly anticipated Palm Pre could be announced as early as next week on Sprint and likely available in June.

[ InfoWorld's bloggers discuss the new Palm webOS and Pre: Neil McAllister offers early praise in his Fatal Exception post: Palm charges back with webOS | Zach Urlocker has good news for Palm fanboys: Palm Pre to run "Classic" Palm apps ]

If Apple's iPhone 3.0 summer announcement is as weak as has been rumored, this could be an opening for Palm to show the world that it can make an elegant and feature-rich smartphone without compromising the keyboard. That alone would be a huge win in the market place, let alone some of the cool UI capabilities from Palm's new WebOS. The battery life looks good and the wireless charger is pretty cool, though I can't imagine that anyone would pick a smartphone based on the charger. (It will likely cost extra anyway.)

It's by no means a slam dunk for Palm. The iPhone has a huge following and has set a high bar in terms of ease of use and breadth of applications (even if some of these apps are pretty gratuitious, there are still some gems in there.)  Palm needs to come out of the gate not only with a great phone, but also a great experience for application developers. And while Apple has always been the one to surprise the market with "one more thing," who knows? Maybe Palm will surprise us this time.


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