Today is the day Verizon Wireless is launching the Palm Pre Plus and Palm Pixi Plus, enhanced versions of webOS smartphones that were released by Sprint last year. Both these models have built-in keyboards, mobile broadband, Wi-Fi, and a highly advanced web browser.
The Pre Plus features a sliding keyboard as well as a 3.1-inch multi-touch-capable touchscreen with a 480×320 pixel resolution. This device comes with 16 GB of internal storage, and is also equipped with Wi-Fi b/g, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS, and a 3.0 megapixel camera with LED flash.
The Pixi Plus can be thought of as the successor to Palm’s popular Centro series. It has a tablet shape, with a 2.6-inch, 320-by-400-pixel, capacitive touchscreen. This model is smaller, lighter, and less expensive than the Pre Plus.
These smartphones run the webOS, the replacement for the venerable Palm OS. This is a multi-tasking, touch-oriented operating system able to wirelessly synchronize a wide variety of data with online services like Google, Yahoo, and Facebook, as well as Microsoft Exchange.
The webOS includes an on-device app store, and a growing collection of third-party software is available.
Both models are going to launch with webOS 18.104.22.168, not version 1.4 that was unveiled at CES earlier this month. A system software update is scheduled for February.
These models are going for the same prices as Sprint’s, even though the new versions have additional features.
Verizon customers who buy either of these are able to get an additional Palm Pixi Plus for free, after a mail-in rebate through Feb. 14. A service contract for this second device will be required.
Everyone who purchases these smartphones is required to sign up for a $30 a month unlimited data plan. Voice plans start at $40 a month.
The Pre Plus and Pixi Plus come with software that allows them to function as Wi-Fi access points, sharing their 3G mobile broadband connections with up to five other devices, like laptops and handhelds. Using this service will cost an additional $40 per month, though.