In a bid to improve its financial viability, Palm Inc., has agreed to let AT&T carry their flagship phone models, Palm Pre Plus and Palm Pixi Plus. The company made this official announcement last March 22. More than 80 million subscribers of AT&T can soon experience the innovative webOS platform as early as May 2010. The Palm Pre Plus smartphone will retail for $149.99 while the Palm Pixi Plus will cost $49.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate. Of course, those prices come with a two-year service contract from A&T.
“AT&T and Palm have a history of smartphone leadership, and today’s announcement is a significant milestone for us,” said Jon Rubinstein, Palm chairman and chief executive officer. “With Palm webOS phones coming to AT&T, Palm can help most anyone in the United States stay connected so they never miss a thing.”
The Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus for AT&T should look and perform like their Verizon cousins. They are the same size, weight, speed and all run on the same webOS version. However, there are some differences that were disclosed by AT&T. First of this is that their Palm units are HSDPA 3.6 phones on the 850/1,900-MHz bands (and quad-band GSM phones), which indicates they are compatible with AT&T’s 3G network. Because they’re AT&T phones, you’ll be able to browse the Web over 3G while simultaneously performing a voice call. This feature is something Verizon and Sprint Palm Pre and Palm Pixi phones can’t do!
The AT&T Palm handsets will also automatically log in to AT&T’s Wifi Hotspot. You won’t have to configure any setting to access any of the company’s Wifi hotspots. It will connect instantly without any annoying prompt dialog box asking you to agree whether to allow the Wifi signal. Best of all, both the Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus will be shipped by AT&T largely free from bloatwares. Using the power of the webOS platform, both these phones can synchronize seamlessly with AT&T’s cloud-based services. They will only have pre-installed AT&T YPMobile Yellow Pages app and AT&T Navigator app. Palm said these two phones can access more than 2,000 webOS apps. The company also confirmed that there are now more than 40 3D games available because of the recent release of its Plug-In Development Kit (PDK) which allowed game makers to quickly port their existing games from the iPhone platform to the webOS version.
On the downside, the AT&T versions of the the Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus will not have the Wifi hotspot feature which can turn the phones into hotspots themselves. Verizon has this option but sadly, Palm Inc. did not allow AT&T to offer this too.
It still remains to be seen if this deal will help Palm Inc. earn enough revenue so it can survive 2010. AT&T seems to be willing to spend more money on advertising and marketing the Palm smart phones.