Rumor: Is This the Next Palm Device

Two weeks ago, in my 1SRC editorial, “It’s Time for Something ‘Nova’,” I suggested that it might be time for Palm OS fans to get some love by way of unofficial info about Palm OS II/Nova and the hardware that it might run on. While this photo is far from evidence, scuttlebutt around the Internet seems to be that no one knows what this device is. According to Jenn K. Lee of, the photo had a born on date of June 3.

With the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show (January) and Mobile World Congress (February) just around the corner, it is anyone guess as to whether this is just one of the many prototype devices that gets built and never makes it to market or a vendor’s next big device.

What has gotten attentive web heads, myself included, all worked up, is the stylistic design of the device. The jelly looking keys of this device just screams “Palm”. Whether or not this is a Palm prototype device remains to be seen. If we stay focused on the keyboard for just a few minutes. If you zoom in on the keyboard, you can sort of make out the keys. Consider this: how often do keyboard formats differ from model to model? I don’t think this is a RIM BlackBerry, nor is it Motorola, a Samsung, or HTC Touch.

What do you think this device might be? Is this a new Palm prototype device? Will it run Palm OS II/Nova? Or is this just another pipe dream that has been discarded in the wake of the iPhone and BlackBerry Storm? Let us know in the comments.

Thanks to the anonymous tipster who sent this in.


  • Anonymous

    Come on…Palm has always been evolutionary, never revolutionary. If a Nova phone will ever come, it will most likely look like the Centro/Treo Pro. However, I don’t believe in it anymore. The time to at least leak *something* has long come and gone. OS6+Foleo demonstrate the ability of this company not to deliver. Additionally, they run out of money right now. Someone will buy them as they approach pennystock status, mainly for the brand. It’s over, and you can’t blame anyone but Palm’s own management.

  • rcartwr

    To address the prior poster, this is not the old Palm anymore. They are quite literally fighting for their corporate life and I suspect the new team is willing to take some chances. Alan, I am betting this is a hardware mockup from Palm, as I agree the keyboard is a giveaway. Also the multiple imput areas do not appear to be functional but more of a “it can go here” kind of thing. I really hope this is the general form factor as it addresses the issue of one handed or two thumb data entry and a big screen, which ties into the media device hints for Nova. Not to mention that it conunters the folks who don’t like the iphone lack of real keys. The big issue is how heavy is it as a shipping product?

  • Alan Grassia, Staff Writer

    As I said, I think this is only a prototype device. If it does work, it may only do so to show off the OS and support for the screen rotation.I haven’t read any online discussion that disputes that this is a Palm device – every agrees that the keyboard is a dead giveaway.The final hardware for a Palm OS II / Nova device will need to be thinner and lighter than today’s Treo and Centro models; and I’m not talking by 1-2 millimeters either.Alan G

  • Jodi Hansen

    Interesting. The navigator buttons and keyboard do look like Palm’s style. I have not used a slider device yet, so I am wondering how hand placement would feel on this one. I have a Sony UX50 which is a folding design with keyboard and I love that form factor. The benefit of this device though would be that it could presumably be used with a stylus and then pop out the keyboard when desired. My thoughts are that I’d like to see it in black and also flatter on the face. The Treo Pro looks professional but this looks cheaper. Black with silver accents would be more attractive. Recently, in a room of 200 people with iPhones only 5 or so were white, black was so much more popular.

  • Gareth Wells

    Of course, this may be one of the devices that Jon Rubenstein canceled when he took over the helm at Palm. I recall reading that he summoned his R&D people to review a suite of Palm devices in the works. Anything that wasn't up to the mark was canned. Perhaps one of them escaped into the wild…?Although great to see *something* new on the Palm OS front, a device like this would be less of a go for me (but I'm a PDA hold-out). Still, I agree that black and silver would look more attractive/professional.

  • Alan Grassia, Staff Writer

    This could be a canceled device, but I don't think so for two reasons.The first is that the meeting that Gareth is talking about was held before June 3, 2008 if I'm not mistaken. I'll have to dig up that article. Secondly, the leak seems to be timed with the completion of Palm OS II / Nova and the CES appearance. If you are going to leak a design, why leak one that you are not going to production with. Then again, showing off a dead device to give people an idea of where you are going without tipping your hand could be a reason to go with a dead design.In any case, I'm going to be holding Colligan & Co. to delivering a game changing product within the first 6 months of 2009.Alan G