Palm offers glimpse of Pixi

Troubled handset manufacturer Palm has lifted the curtain on its second device based on the webOS platform, simultaneously slashing the price of its flagship Pre device.

On Wednesday Palm unveiled the Pixi, which follows the current trend of personalisation of both the hardware and software components of the device.

The Pixi is a smaller 3G device measuring 55mm (W) x 111mm (L) x 10.85mm (D), but packing in a 2.63-inch multi-touch screen and a full QWERTY hardware keyboard. It features GPS, an accelerometer, two megapixel camera, a 3.5mm headphone jack and 8GB of internal storage.

It will be available on US carrier Sprint’s EV-DO network in December but there is no word yet on pricing. Sprint has however dropped the price of the Pre to $149.99 with a two year service agreement, from its launch price of $199.

A removable back cover allows users to change the appearance of the device – a popular tactic for tempting consumers, while Palm is also making much of the customisation functionality of the webOS operating system.

Jumping on the cloud computing bandwagon, webOS allows consumers to pull their contact, calendars and personal information down from the internet on any device, wirelessly. The OS also supports full multitasking, allowing users to keep multiple activities open and move between them as they might flip through a deck of cards. Users can close an application by flicking it off the top of the screen. A key feature of the Palm platform is synchronisation of information between multiple services, so if the same contact is listed in the user’s phonebook and on their social networking sites, both contact details are pulled into the same interface. Palm Synergy claims to make messaging easier by showing all conversations with the same person in one chat-style thread, so users can start a conversation on AIM Instant Messenger, Google Talk or Yahoo! Messenger and continue it by text message later.

The Pixi will also offer access to the Palm Beta App Catalog, which appears to be Palm’s own app store.

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