These days it’s not unreasonable to see a Sprint (s s) phone later appear on Verizon (s vz) — or vice versa, depending on the case. After all, both carriers use the CDMA network, so there’s no major reworking of a handset’s innards. But in the case of the Palm (s palm) Pixi, a little rejiggering was done. Yes, the Pixi will land on Verizon’s network, but more importantly, it has one feature that Sprint’s version sorely lacks — Verizon’s Palm Pixi will sport a Wi-Fi radio, per the FCC filing reported by PreCentral.
I still can’t fathom why Sprint didn’t put Wi-Fi in its Pixi. The cost of a Wi-Fi radio in a phone these days is practically nothing, and it helps to offer customers a better smartphone experience. Sure, 3G is great when you have coverage, but what about the folks who bought a Pixi and then couldn’t update webOS because they live outside of a 3G coverage area? Yes, I too question why someone would buy a 3G device in a non-3G area, but that’s not the point. These folks had to update webOS using a computer and the webOS Doctor software offered by Palm — hardly a seamless experience.
Luckily, Verizon is doing the smart thing and providing a Wi-Fi radio in its Pixi. Not only does that help when there’s no 3G coverage, but it also supports apps that work only over Wi-Fi. What kinds of apps, you ask? There are several in-home remote control apps that depend on Wi-Fi for the iPhone (s aapl), for example. And I’m using WiFiPhoto on a daily basis to wirelessly transfer pics from my iPhone to any computer via a web browser and Wi-Fi. There may not be any WiFi-specific apps for Palm’s webOS yet, but without Wi-Fi on a handset, developers can’t create such apps.