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Palm Pixi smartphones now just $25

By John Cox
November 20, 2009 10:43 AM ET

Network World - You can now buy the brand-spanking-new Palm Pixi smartphone for just $25. Amazon.com slashed the original retail of $100 by 75%, less than a week after Palm's second webOS phone went on sale at Sprint, which still holds to the original price.

It's a jarring price cut for the Pixi, which Palm was aiming toward a younger audience than the more advanced and pricier Palm Pre, released last June. The retailer also chopped the price for the higher-end Pre, from $150 via Sprint to $80. All prices are based on a two-year phone contract (the unsubsidized prices are much higher; $399 for Pixi and $549 for Pre).

These aren't the only brands being dramatically repriced. Amazon is still offering some popular smartphones, including the BlackBerry Bold, Curve and original Storm for just one penny. The recently released Motorola Droid is being offered for $150, compared to Verizon's price of $200.

Both Palm phones run Palm's innovative webOS, a Linux kernel married to the open source Webkit Javascript engine. It's a combination that lets developers use HTML, Cascading Style Sheets and HTML instead of a specialized programming language to write native applications for the two phones.

(Slideshow: Smartphones for the holidays)

But the Pre has not been a breakthrough bestseller, and it faces still more intense competition from a flock of new rivals, such as the Motorola Droid on Verizon, along with other phones running the Android operating system, and the continued strong sales of the Apple iPhone.

It's not clear how well the Pixi will do, given its internal compromises of a slower processor and lack of Wi-Fi, which means it relies solely on Sprint's 3G network for connectivity. The Wall Street Journal's Katherine Boehret found a lot to like in the new phone. "But this processor's speed is slow enough to notice immediately and it robs webOS of its lightning-fast speed," she writes, in a review this week. "The Pixi's progress indicator -- a spinning, white circle -- appeared on my screen too often."

The cost and performance tradeoffs can shackle the Pixi's user experience. Boehret notes that Palm recommends running no more than seven programs at once on the Pixi, compared to up to 10 on the Pre. That's a reflection of the webOS multi-tasking capability, which is unavailable to developers on the iPhone. "But my Pixi stuttered with just five programs -- sometimes fewer -- opened," Boehret writes. "I received an e-mail containing one digital photo, and the process of opening just the e-mail -- not even the photo -- took about 10 seconds." It took three tries to finally upload the same photo to her Facebook account.

Originally published on www.networkworld.com. Click here to read the original story.
Reprinted with permission from NetworkWorld.com. Story copyright 2012 Network World, Inc. All rights reserved.
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