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Palm unveils Palm Pre smartphone and webOS

Last shot at smartphone glory?
Palm unveils Palm Pre smartphone and webOS
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Palm has taken the wrappers off its new operating system, webOS, as well as the first handset to run it, the Palm Pre.

webOS is being described by Palm as a totally "web-centric platform", with an added dash of Cloud whizziness, letting users store their calendars, contacts and information in the cloud, then access it from many devices.

Meanwhile, webOS is based on web development languages including CSS, xHTML and JavaScript, which Palm colourfully promises "shatters traditional barriers to mobile application development". Quite.

However, the new OS will tie in with Palm's on-handset application store, giving games developers a route to market (with a decent revenue share).

The first handset to run webOS will be the Palm Pre, a touchscreen smartphone with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, GPS, HSDPA and wi-fi.

Oh, and a gesture-based touch interface, which is aiming to take on the iPhone for usability. The device's accelerometer should mean motion-sensing games are a big feature too.

The Pre is launching first on US operator Sprint in the first half of 2009, before shipping elsewhere in the world at a later point.

Palm is hoping the Pre can restore its fortunes, with its thunder having been well and truly stolen by every other smartphone maker in recent years.