This week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Palm unveiled its two upcoming Verizon-exclusive smartphones, the Pre Plus and the Pixi Plus. Both phones boast substantial improvements over their present namesakes, and both will utilize Palm’s new webOS developer program, which will allow independent software developers to create and distribute their own apps.
The Palm Pre Plus has twice the memory of the current Pre, a Touchstone charging dock-compatible back cover, and an overhauled design. Like the current Pre, it still features a full slide-out keyboard.
The most notable new feature on the Palm Pixi Plus is its WiFi connectivity. Via an upcoming software update, both phones will now be able to shoot and edit video, and with an Adobe Flash plug-in, they will also be able to run streaming video directly off the web.
The new developments on Palm’s webOS platform are also pretty intriguing. Over the past three months, Palm has increased its amount of applications tenfold, now offering over 1,000. One that should prove particularly useful is the Mobile Hotspot app, which will turn your phone into a portable 3G access point. This will allow it to connect with up to five WiFi-enabled devices, such as laptops, gaming devices or MP3 players.
Perhaps the most interesting addition to Palm’s platform, however, is the Palm development program. Now, anyone with the know-how can go the online Palm Development Center, join the program, then set about developing and distributing their own apps. Members will receive 70 percent of sales revenues, plus will be eligible for a Hot Apps bonus of up to $US100,000 if their app proves particularly popular. Palm game developers will be able to use the webOS Plug-in Development Kit to insert C/C++ code into their games, allowing for 3D graphics.
The Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus will be available through Verizon as of January 25th, and there’s currently no word on price.