Palm live from D7

It's already been a crazy day for Palm news -- so who knows what Palm's Jon Rubinstein and Elevation Partner's Roger McNamee have in store (well, we have a few ideas). We're live at their D7 session and the fun is set to begin any moment, so stay tuned.

Thanks to our editor-at-large and gdgt co-founder Ryan Block for handling photo duties during the show!

1:09PM And that's that! We're out from D7... see you at E3!

1:09PM Roger: This is really exciting, and fun. It's a cool product. If I were RIM or Apple, I wouldn't worry about it. In America you're not going to pay so much of a premium to get a smartphone that you can justify not getting one.

1:07PM Roger: This could be interpreted as really good news.

Walt: You could call Tim Cook and tell him that.

Roger: I don't know him.

Walt: He'd probably take your call.

Roger: You think so?

1:06PM "Are you worried about antitrust lawsuits?"

Jon: We want to make customers happy.

Seriously, we may join Woz in a nap here any second.

1:05PM And it's official. This Palm conversation has lulled Woz to sleep. We kid you not.

1:04PM "Will advance Active Sync features by present in the Pre?"

Jon: We have a variety of those features. We'll have remote wipe, address lookup.

1:03PM Walt: Will Verizon have this?

Jon: We love Sprint, and they're our launch partner. It's flattering that AT&T and Verizon want it. I can't comment on unannounced relationships. But Bell Mobility is getting it in Canada.

1:03PM Walt: And how about Verizon?


1:02PM And now... questions from the audience!

"When do you expect the GSM version?"

Jon: Later this year.

1:02PM Roger: There is a very steep production run.

Walt: And will there be an express line for iPhone customers?

Roger: Yeah, outside the rings of Saturn.

Wow Roger. Well played.

1:01PM Kara: Okay, so one more question. How many of these will be available?

Walt: Dan Hesse is saying there will be shortages. Are people really going to be waiting in line, will there be shortages? By the way, Best Buy will have an instant rebate on this phone, but sources are saying there might not be many... is that true?

Jon: We are in full production. We're shipping lots of devices. I suspect because of the demand that there will be shortages.

1:00PM Roger: We have to take this one step at a time. You have to prioritize. The store and SDK, we have to get these things right. We don't want to push it out so it's close to right.

Walt: So when will the SDK be openly available?

Jon: Over the next few months we'll be releasing the open SDK. Yes it's based on web standards, but the SDK is ours.

12:59PM Jon: We wanted to take baby steps. We gave it to 25 devs. Now it's hundreds. And there are 1000's waiting in the queue.

Walt: But why? If this is so easy to develop for? Why take baby steps?

12:58PM Kara: What about developers? How do you get them to focus away from the iPhone.

Jon: I don't think we need to get them to focus off the iPhone. We created webOS with developers in mind. That's part of our culture. We wanted to make this incredibly easy to develop for. Web standards...

Walt: Two questions. You haven't distributed that to developers yet, and this is days from launch. Why?

12:57PM Kara: What other devices will you create?

Jon: Well we're very focused on smartphones.

Kara: Tablet?

Jon: Our focus right now is smartphones.

12:56PM Walt: Is this device the main focus, or is it the webOS? Will there be other devices?

Jon: Clearly it's the webOS platform. We want this to last us for 10 years. Pre is the first of these devices... we have a roadmap that goes out years. We built OTA updates into webOS, so we can push an update out to devices. We can add something, fix bugs... we don't have to wait for a long period.

12:55PM Roger: I find it shocking that you would take issue with the fact that we're aiming this at women.

Kara: Well the mirror remark...

Roger: Show of hands in here, was anyone offended by me talking about a mirror?

Yow. It's getting wild in here.

12:54PM Roger: That market is underserved. There has only been a single print ad for BlackBerrys aimed at women.

12:53PM Kara: I'm looking forward to the blow-dryer and lipstick function...

She seems a little mad.

Kara: Are you aiming at the ladies?

12:52PM Walt: Is there an app developer that could put a virtual keyboard on this?

Jon: There's nothing stopping that as far as I know.

12:51PM Walt: Does the keyboard give you an advantage:

Jon: I think there's people who want a real keyboard.

The audience clapped at that. Interesting.

12:51PM Roger: Yesterday Nokia told you that they had Flash... they have Flash Lite. People will look at these products and self select.

12:50PM Foot firmly in mouth there. This guy is the Joe Biden of tech. We love it!

12:50PM Oh my god.

Roger: It has a mirror on the back... there's never been a phone like this for women before.

12:49PM Roger: I believe that for Apple, for RIM... the opportunity is to persuade people to move from feature phones. The iPhone is a terrific product. BlackBerrys are terrific.

Kara: So who are your customers?

Roger: People who buy the Pre!

12:48PM Walt: Who are your competitors?

Jon: Well clearly Apple and RIM. You have to build world class hardware, but what's going to separate this is the software.

12:47PM Demo time is over, back for some more conversation. Nothing breathtaking there, but the syncing is great.

12:46PM Roger: The whole thing is a browser.

12:46PM Roger: The idea is, when it doubt, just type.

12:45PM Kara: Apple may get upset about this, but it's damn cool.

12:45PM Twitter search built-in to the phone, just as we'd seen.

12:44PM Paul: If you buy tickets it will add the time to your calendar entry.

And now they're showing off universal search... yes, this seems familiar.

12:43PM Paul: The other item I wanted to show is this plus right here, and if I tap that, it adds the movie time to my calendar.

That's pretty nice!

12:42PM Previewing movies in Fandango. Let's see this integration boys...

12:41PM Now downloading an app. OTA install direct to the device. They're showing off Fandango.

12:40PM Pandora, New York Times, WHERE, CitySearch...

Walt: When will you be able to get traction on this...

Roger: 4:20 in the afternoon.


12:40PM He's showing off the App Catalog. Sweet!

12:39PM Jon: So you want to use iTunes, just keep using it. We have Amazon. The other thing I wanted to talk about, we've talked about applications today, I told you we've written everything in web languages...

12:38PM Walt: And I assume this would work with Windows?

Jon: Same thing.

Paul: So I synced over music, now I have that on the Pre. Music, Roger's band. Photos from my library.

12:37PM Walt: You're very cloud based with this product. You would have had to write your own client... in fact Palm did. You're just using the client that the almost-monopoly has.

12:36PM Walt: Won't Apple be mad about this?

Kara: Do you think they'll try to stop this?

12:35PM Paul: It shows up in iTunes just like a regular device.

This is pretty cool. And handy.

12:34PM Paul: So I have it hooked up via USB. Media Sync. We give you the ability to sync your non-DRM music and videos to your Pre... via iTunes.


12:34PM Just basic UI stuff now. Nothing too special.

12:33PM Now they're showing off the Amazon MP3 store.

12:32PM Jon: And it does this automatically.

Walt: Using alien technology? Ha.

12:31PM Paul: When we announced webOS, we talked about Synergy a lot. It's the ability to better manage all the information that's in the cloud.

Now he's running through the basics on Synergy. We won't bore you guys with that.

12:30PM Walt: Okay, let's look at the demo.

Demo time -- Paul Cousineau is demo'ing.

12:30PM Jon: I worked with Steve (Jobs) for years. I learned about the user experience, and great hardware. And I learned what great marketing is. Both engineering and marketing are important. The difference is, of course, that we're tiny. We're tremendously focused. There's a few things we're doing, and we want to make sure we do them really really well.

12:28PM Jon: It is so rare to start with a blank sheet of paper. That's such a unique opportunity.

Walt: We're gonna get to the demo in a minute, because everyone wants to see it. You're going to show us things that haven't been shown before. But I have one question. What lessons did you take from Apple... what have you done like the way you did it before, and what have you done differently?

12:27PM Kara: You came from Apple, what were you thinking?

Jon: Well I didn't come right from Apple. I was taking a break.

Now Jon is telling his Pre launch story. The beach... the drinks...

12:26PM Roger: What Ed did... imagine being a CEO and saying, our situation is significantly dire, we have to throw out everything. Ed said, 'wait, we stopped innovating, we need to get back in the game.'

12:25PM Roger: There was a lot of white space in the market that we could step into.

Walt: Why Palm? You could start another company...

Jon: Palm had tremendous assets. Great DNA.

12:23PM Roger: I spend three or four days a week just on Palm. This is the thing that will define us.

12:22PM Jon: It's a new company today. A lot of this is about webOS.

Walt: So you were quoted a while back as saying 'When all the initial iPhone buyers contracts run out, they'll all buy Pres'. I was confused by that. Will it be at six in the morning that day? In the afternoon?

Roger: It'll be at precisely 4:20.


12:20PM Jon: Well it's been two years. Roger put a major investment in the company, and I've been there two years. We've completely revamped the company.

12:20PM Walt: So, Palm. The Treo, Palm Pilot. These are breakthrough devices. Then something happened. Can you tell me what's been going on?

12:19PM And Jon and Roger are out!

12:19PM Finally Roger actually says what the Pre does. Jon: "That was great..." Roger: "And it eats iPhones for breakfast!"

12:18PM And we're off! Cute little video here with Roger McNamee... he's talking all kinds of crazy smack about how amazing the Pre is for a commercial. Director is yelling things like "Roger!" Now arguing with Job Rubinstein. Roger: "This product has the best alien technology."

It's already been a crazy day for Palm news -- so who knows what Palm's Jon Rubinstein and Elevation Partner's Roger McNamee have in store (well, we have a few ideas). We're live at their D7 session and the fun is set to begin any moment, so stay tuned.