HP will lay off as many as 525 employees from its Palm division this week AllThingsD reported on Tuesday. HP killed off its webOS mobile operating system in mid-August when it also announced it would discontinue the development of webOS devices such as the TouchPad and Palm Pre family of smartphones. “As part of this decision, the webOS GBU is undergoing a reduction in workforce,” an HP spokesperson explained. “Today’s actions are part of this initiative. During this time, we stand by our commitment to our webOS customers and will work to ensure that support and service for customers are not adversely affected. HP is exploring ways to leverage webOS software.” More →
HP announced today that the latest installation in the Angry Birds franchise, Angry Birds Rio, is now available for download from the webOS App Catalog. The game sports 60 different levels across two different episodes, and Rovio promises to provide episodic updates throughout the rest of this year. If you’re tired of killing little green pigs, have no fear, the goal this time around is to attack angry monkeys and free other caged fowl. Angry Birds Rio is available for $1.99 on the Palm Pre, Pre Plus and Pre 2, provided that you’re running webOS 1.4.5 or later. More →
When it comes to HP and it’s now Palm-less webOS smartphones, we’ve made our feelings quite clear — we couldn’t be more excited about HP’s upcoming Pre 3, and we couldn’t be less excited about the Pre 2. Don’t get us wrong… the Pre 2 is a fine device in its own right. It’s still way too small and the keypad is still way too unusable for us to even consider owning the device, however. The Pre 3, on the other hand, is an entirely different story. In our hands-on with the HP Pre 3, we called it the webOS smartphone we’ve been waiting for and we meant it — the Pre 3 maintains the Pre’s great form factor but enlarges it; tosses in a bigger, better display; and expands the keyboard just enough to make it usable. But unfortunately, we still have a bit of waiting to do before the Pre 3 reaches the market and for the time being, the Pre 2 is the best webOS fans can do. As announced during HP’s “Think Beyond” event last week, Verizon Wireless made the HP Pre 2 available for pre-order on February 10th. On February 17th, the Pre 2 will be available to all for the somewhat reasonable price of $149.99 on contract. Hit the break for Verizon Wireless’ full press release, and hit yourself in the head repeatedly if you’re a webOS fan who is even remotely considering a two-year contract with the Pre 2 when the Pre 3 looming on the horizon. More →
Palm has a history of, shall we say, making poor decisions. Hardware components… launch partners… the Foleo. We had hoped all that would change when HP acquired the struggling company earlier this year, but it looks like it’s going to take longer than we had hoped for the stars to align over Sunnyvale, CA. Exhibit A: the Palm Pre 2. The Pre was a good start for Palm but there were tons of problems with it. The Pre 2 addresses some of those problems — the occasional sluggishness, the cheap plastic screen — but many of the usability issues remain. The display is too small, the keypad is cramped, and so on.
If new rumors surrounding the upcoming Palm Mansion turn out to be true, we have our exhibit B. Self-professed rumor monger Go Rumors cites a “close source” in claiming that an upcoming Palm smartphone, likely the Palm Mansion, will feature a 5-inch touchscreen when it launches in three months. The Dell Streak is a nifty little gadget, but we wouldn’t exactly say it birthed a successful new range of ridiculously oversized smartphones / ridiculously undersized tablets. In fact, we’d say the opposite is probably true. We’re hoping Go Rumors ran with some bad intel but the unfortunate truth is that we would hardly be surprised if a 5-inch webOS phone launched some time in February. More →
When the Palm Pre disappeared from Sprint’s website last week, many speculated that the world’s first webOS phone was probably gone for good. Now, a leaked document obtained by enthusiast blog PreCentral.net puts another nail in the smartphone’s coffin. According to the document and accompanying report, Sprint’s Palm Pre has been designated as EOL (End of Life) by the carrier, meaning it will no longer be sold. Remaining inventory, which is said to be in the hundreds, will be depleted by physical Sprint stores and telesales, and then Sprint’s Pre is off to the great gig in the sky. Though no announcement has been made, this could mean that Sprint will soon offer the Palm Pre 2 as a replacement to the original. Of course it could also mean Sprint is shifting focus away from Palm devices for the time being, and onto the Android platform where devices like the EVO 4G have done quite well for the carrier. Sprint did not respond immediately to a request for comment. More →
This isn’t confirmed, but with RIM rumored to be exploring sliding-QWERTY devices for a pretty long time, one of our BlackBerry connects dropped some info on us and we wanted it to share it. Here’s what we know: More →
While Sprint’s HTC Hero is housed in a different and arguably less sexy shell than the standard HTC version, the internals are the same. That’s a 5 megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and a whole lot more running on Sprint’s CDMA voice and data network. We’ve put together a bunch of things we loved as well as things we disliked about the Sprint version of the HTC Hero after the break along with some photos.
Following news that Amazon chopped pricing on the Palm Pre to an attractive $99.99, Walmart has swooped in to undercut the massive online retailer — albeit just for the long weekend. Truth be told however, we’re not sure what an extra $20 is going to do if the jump from $200 to $100 wasn’t enough incentive for those debating whether or not to take the leap. What’s more, the deal involves a $100 mail-in rebate whereas Amazon’s $100 price is out the door. Whatever the case, if you’re okay with a smartphone that will cost you $80-$100+ per month, that extra $20 entry fee should hardly be keeping you from snagging a Pre. Walmart’s deal is good through tomorrow so if the hassle of a rebate is worth saving $20 to you, better act fast.
With all of the money RIM is dumping into its U2 sponsorship, a bit of irony shined through earlier this week when Palm announced its secondary stock offering. The big news that came alongside Palm’s offering was that Elevation Partners, already Palm’s largest investor, gobbled up another 2.2 million shares of Palm for a cool $35 million. The private equity firm now owns a total of 67.8 million common shares of Palm stock in addition to its 376,000 preferred shares, totaling about 42 percent of the company. The irony in all this of course, is that Elevation Partners’ Managing Director and Co-Founder just so happens to be one Paul David Hewson… Better known as Bono. Yep, the leader of the band currently pulling down huge bucks from RIM is busy buying up Palm. One can’t help but wonder which company’s handsets the U2 front man prefers.
[Via Mobility Site]
If this latest Verizon/Palm Pre rumor pans out, there are going to be a whole lot of angry VZW subscribers and likely just as many chuckling Sprint fans. According to The Street, Verizon has decided to change its plans and skip the highly anticipated Palm handset. Specifically, “[The Palm Pre] had been scheduled to arrive at Verizon in January. But people close to the discussions say Verizon has decided not to support the Pre.” Palm’s first webOS-powered phone had been long-rumored to hit Verizon’s shelves some time in early 2010 and its arrival would have been a massive coup for Palm. The handset is still a Sprint exclusive here in the US and as far as we can tell, sales have been anything but stellar so far. Verizon, with the largest subscriber base in the US, stood to drastically improve Pre penetration but it looks like an insurmountable roadblock of some sort may have squashed those dreams. AT&T on the other hand, is still expected to carry the Palm Pre once Sprint’s exclusivity ends.
After yesterday’s shenanigans we’re not sure how long this offer will stand. Apropos, Pre hopefuls might want to jump on this new price point as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Palm made its second webOS-powered handset official this morning and we suppose there is no better way to celebrate than by buying the compay’s first webOS-powered handset — you know, just to ensure you aren’t eligible for 2-year contract pricing once the Pixi launches. Sprint has just cut the price of a shiny new Pre from $299.99 to $249.99 before the $100 mail-in rebate, meaning when all is said and done you’ll be out $149.99. Retail partners such as Best Buy and Amazon are still pricing the handset at $199.99 so for the time being, the new price is Sprint-only. Bottom line: if you were waiting to see how Palm’s first candy bar webOS phone would shape up before committing to a new contract and the Pixi doesn’t float your boat, Sprint just saved you $50.
Have you been watching all the Palm Pre coverage in recent months with jealousy, just waiting for the right time to strike? Well boys and girls, that time may be now. From now until October 10th, Sprint has effectively knocked $100 off the price of a shiny new Palm Pre for customers coming over from another carrier. Here’s how it works: Purchase a Palm Pre on a 2-year contract before October 10th and port a number in from your old carrier. That’s it. Within your first three months of service, Sprint will issue a $100 service credit to your account. Call it a welcome present, call it an attempt to boost sales or call it whatever else you want — the bottom line is that you can now effectively score a new Pre for $99 after MIR and a service credit. Any takers?
UPDATE: Consider us amazed. As quickly as Sprint’s offer appeared, it’s now off the table. Sprint’s official comment: “After further internal review today, the offer of a port-in service credit of $100 to new customers who buy the Palm Pre has been pulled, because it was put into the system in error.” Umm, ok. Sprint says it will honor the promo for anyone who managed to snag a Pre during the brief period of time before the promo was pulled.
Palm’s location-based advertising patent likely sheds light on background location reporting in webOS
Remember last month when a developer revealed some hidden functionality in webOS that periodically reports a user’s location back to Palm? Well as it turns out, the reasoning behind the Big Brother-esque move may be even worse than you think. Drum roll please… Location-based advertising. We’ve uncovered a patent application filed by Palm in November of last year that could end up being one of the worst things to happen to webOS since its birth. As described within the application itself, the patent “provides a method and system thereof that can be used to more effectively target advertisements and other services to users of wireless communication devices.” More from the patent description:
Based upon the location data from the appointment and the location of device 310 (or other alternative location provided by the user), processor 340 may then provide advertisement data (step 386), for example, along the driving route between the location of the appointment and the current location of device 310 within a predetermined distance of the location of the appointment and/or the current location of device 310, and so on.
In other words, the system will keep tabs on your location in order to serve ads that will theoretically get you to spend money on the spot. Why not stop off for a coffee in this Starbucks? How about a tasty Angus Third Pounder from the McDonald’s down the block? But wait, it gets worse. Palm’s concept goes even further to pull appointment information out of your calendar in order to serve contextual ads based on your destination location in addition to your current location. While this concept is pretty brilliant, it’s also remarkably invasive and frankly, a bit frightening. Is the future of mobile advertising a gross invasion of our privacy?