Palmís latest products are fast, fun, intuitive
Published: March 30, 2010


The new smart phones from Palm may not rescue the companyís fortunes, but they are worthy competitors in a crowded field of iPhones, Blackberries and Droids.

Both feature a touch screen, physical keyboard, accelerometer and built-in GPS that many smart phone customers are looking for. Verizon recently sent me a Palm Pre Plus and Palm Pixi to try out.

The new phones feature the Palm webOS platform, which I found to be fast, fun and fairly intuitive.

I took the Pixi with me on a family vacation to Arizona and found it to be a little workhorse. We used the GPS to traverse unfamiliar territory from the Grand Canyon to the heavily traveled highways of Phoenix. It rarely led us astray.

Verizonís mobile hotspot feature was a big family favorite as we generated a Wi-Fi cloud that kept a laptop and a couple of iTouches online nearly constantly.

Despite its modest 2 megapixel camera, snapshots were surprisingly clear.

Responsive keyboard
I like the lighter, more compact Pixi although I suspect power users would prefer the Pre Plus, with its larger screen, better camera and slider design that reveals a resonsive physical keyboard identical to the one on the Pixiís face. The Pixi is cheaper and although some might blanch at the cute name, itís a serious phone.
The ability to stow it in my shirt pocket was a plus, as was the secure feel of the rubberized back versus the slicker, harder Pre.

Both phones are available through Sprint, Verizon and recently AT&T. An online retailer recently was offering the Pre Plus for free with a two-year Verizon service contract, so the phone has been out long enough that some deals are available.

Palm, a leading innovator in personal digital assistants, has struggled recently and itís not clear that the Pre Plus and Pixi will change that.

But the products demonstrate that the company still can produce innovative technology.

If youíre shopping around, test drive one or both of these before making up your mind.