Palm launching touchscreen smartphone at CES?

After weeks of conjecture suggesting Palm will officially unveil its next-generation mobile operating system, the so-called Palm OS II (a.k.a. "Nova"), at this week's annual Consumer Electronics Show, there is now mounting buzz Palm will on Thursday introduce a new Nova-powered smartphone boasting a full Qwerty keyboard and portrait-style touchscreen. Citing "a trusted source," CrunchGear reports the "iPhone-like" smartphone will likely be sourced by HTC, maker of the Palm Pro--in addition to its brand-spanking-new Linux-based OS, the device is also expected to feature media playback functions alongside standard calendar, email and contact functionality.

For what it's worth, the CrunchGear source describes Nova as "amazing"--still, the question on everyone's mind is whether the OS is too little, too late to resuscitate Palm's business. Palm first delayed the new OS in mid-2007, when the company said the platform would not appear until sometime in 2008. As recently as late May 2008, the firm insisted Palm OS II remained on track for release by year end--during an appearance at the JP Morgan Tech Show in Boston, Palm CFO Andrew Brown admitted the new project has been in the works for close to three years, adding "it has not been an insignificant investment." But in September, Palm changed the expected shipping date for handsets based on the new OS to sometime in the first half of 2009--smartphones were once expected to hit retail several months earlier. In December, Palm announced revenues during its second fiscal quarter would fall between $190 million and $195 million, a massive dropoff from the previous fiscal quarter, when the firm reported a loss of $41.9 million on revenue of $366.9 million.

For more on the Palm smartphone rumors:
- read this CrunchGear article

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