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Palm jumps to Verizon with two new phones

Meet the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus

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CES 2010 - Updated Palm announced today that it will jump from Sprint to Verizon when it releases two new phones on January 25.

Speaking to reporters at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, Palm Chairman and chief executive Jon Rubinstein said the new phones - the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus - "will be available exclusively on the Verizon wireless network."

Appearing in a hastily recorded video due to being grounded by storms in Chicago, Verizon's chief marketing officer John Stratton said what he called "two outstanding smartphones" will get "new life" by joining the Verizon network.

In a clear dig to AT&T's inability to as yet provide internet tethering to the Apple iPhone, Stratton said: "We're most excited about the 3G Mobile Hot Spot capability that these devices offer."

The Mobile Hot Spot feature allows you to access the internet over the phone's 3G connection by connecting up to five devices to them over WiFi. "The Pre Plus and Pixi Plus will be the world's first devices to provide this capability," Stratton said.

Summing up, Stratton recounted the new phones' features, such as 16GB of memory and the Pre ditching that annoying pearl navigation button. "There's really only one missing piece," he added. "How much will they cost?" Then the kicker: "I suspect you won't be surprised that we're not here to announce the pricing of these devices yet."

That critical information - critical for Palm, at least, and it strives to carve out space in a market where the iPhone and Android phones dominate mindshare - will have to wait until a date closer to January 25. ®

Update

AT&T president Ralph de la Vega said yesterday his company would soon be offering two "webOS devices" - read: Palm phones - according to a report that added "perhaps we'll learn more at the Palm press conference on Thursday." Just for the record: we didn't.

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