Some tentative Palm Pre excitement

Last night I did something really stupid: I started watching the Palm press conference about the Pre at 01:30 in the morning. Well, 45 minutes later I was tired as hell and had one gadget more on my watchlist …

While the hardware looks really nice all around (USB mass storage, standard earphone plug, built-in keyboard, …), I guess the most exciting aspect of the Pre is the new platform for it called “webOS”. It offers things like gestures and a unified contact management and communication interface. According to Palm basically every application for it is written in HTML5, CSS and JavaScript.

The whole product looks like a good evolution to the interface Apple created for the iPhone/iPod touch and seems to address most of the problems people had with the platform out of Cupertino. And all I’ve seen of the new UI I really like so far. What I’m kind of wondering, though: How much can the JavaScript-API for the Pre really do? I mean, it is one thing to write apps that pull something via HTTP and be done with it. But what about, let’s say, a real XMPP client or some multimedia application? Do they also offer JavaScript libraries for such low-level operations?

During the live-presentation you also got a short glimpse at the music player … and where is podcasting there? Any device that wants to compete with the iPhone/iPod touch for me has to have some quite good support for podcasts.

That said, I’m really looking forward to hear more about webOS and the whole eco-system Palm is building around it and the parts involving the Palm Developer Network. I’m still looking for a new cell phone, too, but there are still too many questions for me that require some answer. For example: What will it cost, will there also be a non-CDMA version, what will the desktop integration look like etc.