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CES: Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus to be available for Verizon network this month

January 7, 2010 |  2:23 pm
Pixie plus
Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein announces two new smart phones for Verizon. Photo by Michelle Maltais / Los Angeles Times

Last year at CES, Palm introduced the Pre exclusively on Sprint. This year, Palm unveiled two new devices for Verizon Wireless. The Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus will be available to Verizon subscribers Jan. 25.

Credit: Palm Inc.
The new Pre has 16 gigabytes, simplified navigation and an inductive back cover for easier use of Palm's Touchstone charging station. The new Pixi has Wi-Fi built in and more back cover color choices.

The Verizon phones will be able to serve as mobile hot spots for up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices. Both will come loaded with VZ Navigator, which provides audible turn-by-turn directions.

No word yet on pricing.

And although AT&T announced Wednesday that it is developing two webOS phones to launch in the first half of the year, Palm was tight-lipped -- and rather furrow-browed -- about the "unannounced relationship."

Palm also unveiled 3-D gaming, the advent of Flash and video recording, editing and sharing for Pre and Pixi. Among the titles available in the U.S. today are EA's

Need for Speed Undercover, Sims 3, Scrabble and Monopoly and Gameloft's Asphalt 5: Elite Racing and Let's Golf.

Other advances with its webOS to come in an over-the-air update in February include a simple video suite for recording, editing and sharing via YouTube, Facebook, MMS and e-mail. A beta plug-in for Flash 10 is also to become available for download February.

On the developer front, Palm formally opened its software development kit to all comers, began offering a plug-in developer kit and launched a "hot apps" bonus program that rewards developers of popular apps  between February and May. So far, Chief Executive Jon Rubinstein said, there have been 85,000 downloads of the kit in 108 countries.

To assist in better exposure for and customer searching and sharing of apps, Palm introduced Project Appetite, a Web-based catalog.

-- Michelle Maltais

Follow me on Twitter: @mmaltaislat