Palm's Pixi Handset Due For Holidays

Palm has introduced a smaller, cheaper handset, called the "Pixi," due to arrive in time for holidays buyers. The new handset has a smaller touch screen than the Pre, an exposed QWERTY keyboard, and a two-megapixel camera.

The new webOS device was introduced Tuesday in a post to the company's blog. Unlike the Pre, introduced in June, the Pixi was not the topic of wide speculation--or excitement--before its introduction.

Like the Pre, the Pixi includes a GPS receiver and 8GB memory. The Pixi, however, lacks Wi-Fi connectivity, available in the Pre.

Pricing for the device, available from Sprint, will be announced closer to the ship date. Palm has promised the Pixi will arrive in time for the Christmas holidays.

The device appears to be aimed at a younger market than the Pre and will feature a new Facebook application. It will also link information from Google, Facebook, and Microsoft Exchange. Yahoo and LinkedIn information is being added, with all the services available to users in a single view.

The exposed keyboard means the Pixi does not share a slider with the Pre. The Pixi "is especially handy for extensive messaging and social networking," Palm said.

In form factor and messaging focus the Pixi also competes with BlackBerry devices.

A series of limited-edition back covers will be available to purchasers. Each features the work of a specific artist and is compatible with Palm's Touchstone cordless charging technology.

The Pixi is seen as less of a direct competitor to Apple's iPhone, but is expected to enter a market alongside a number of new devices based on Google's Android operating system, including the HTC Hero.

David Coursey helped introduce the original Palm Pilot. He tweets as @techinciter and can be contacted through his Web site.

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