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Palm’s Linux smartphone debuts

Jun 8, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 7 views

As promised, Palm's Linux-based smartphone went on sale Saturday, available exclusively for Sprint networks, says eWEEK. Early reviews have been favorable, although analysts worry about the lack of software and the ability of Sprint to effectively market the Palm Pre (pictured), says the story.

(Click for larger view of the Palm Pre)

The Palm Pre is available from a variety of stores for $200 with rebate, after a two-year service contract, and at Best Buy the rebates are said to be instantly redeemable, says the story in our sister publication, eWEEK.. The Palm Pre's launch was met with crowds of prospective shoppers in some locations, although not as large as for previous iPhone launches, says the story.

Meanwhile, the story links to glowing reviews in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, with the former calling it “elegant, joyous.” (Yes, smartphones are now covered like movies, and the Pre may end up being the feel-good movie of the year — a down and out former contendah fighting its way back to glory. If Mickey Rourke isn't available, see if we can get Sly Stallone.)

Palm Pre

The reviews, however, also criticized the phone for the lack of available applications, notes eWEEK. Other potential problems are said to include a limited supply of phones, and Sprint's spotty track record in marketing major products, says the story.

Sprint is the exclusive provider of the Pre until at least the end of the year, but Verizon Wireless recently announced that it plans to offer the Linux-based Palm Pre in “the next six months or so,” and AT&T has also indicated the possibility of offering the phone.

The 3G-enabled Palm Pre hopes to compete not only with the iPhone, but also a new crop of Linux-based smartphones, especially those running the Google-sponsored Android stack. These includes the HTC G1 and and Magic phones, and the new I7500 phone from Samsung, which is scheduled to go on sale this month. Several more Android phones and netbooks, from Acer and others were announced at last week's Computex show, pushing the the expected number of Android phones to about 20. The LiMo Foundation says that a similar number of phones adhering to its rival Linux Mobile (LiMo) spec should arrive this year.

While Android lacks some of the advanced features of the Pre's WebOS stack, such as multi-touch I/O, synchronization, and multi-modal messaging, it has the advantage of hosting a fast-growing library of apps. WebOS is said to offer an open development environment, and the eWEEK story notes analysts who believe that the platform offers the tools for developers to quickly catch up. Yet with mobile developers stretched thin with the profusion of platforms available, even on Linux alone, it remains to be seen whether the Pre and WebOS can attract enough attention quickly enough to be a major player.


The Palm Pre is available now, with more information available here. Michelle Maisto's eWEEK story on the Pre's launch may be found here.

More information may also be found in our previous coverage, here.

This article was originally published on and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

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