I attended the Palm (s palm) press event at the CES today and as expected Palm is set to roll out the refreshed versions of the Pre and the Pixi. It wasn’t that much a surprise that Verizon (s vz) will be getting the Palm phones, but Palm has granted Big Red the two new models under exclusive contract. I’ll bet the folks at Sprint (s s) aren’t too happy after this announcement.
The next generation Pre will be the Pre Plus and will get double the memory while losing the navigation button that wanted to be a trackball anyway. The Pre Plus will also ship with the Touchstone compatible back, making all new Pres work with the wireless charger out of the box. It was not made clear if the Pixi Plus will also include the Touchstone capability.
The Pixi Plus remains largely the same, with the welcome addition of Wi-Fi bringing it more in line with the Pre Plus. Both new models will be available through Verizon on January 25th. Consumers who pick up one of the new Palm phones better pick up the monthly tethering option from Verizon, as Palm is including the new “Mobile Hotspot” feature on them. This option will let the phones tether to other devices to share the 3G connection, and like the MiFi with up to 5 devices at once.
Palm will be rolling out the next major version of webOS in February. Version 1.4 will add video recording and editing to all Palm phones. The full version of Flash 10.1 will also be pushed out to webOS phones in February, making them the first smartphones to get full Flash.
Gamers will be happy to hear Palm has deals with major game publishers, and has added development tools that allows using traditional program code in webOS. Need for Speed and the Sims 3 are available now, and they both looked pretty good in the demo shown at the event.