Verizon Wireless will start selling improved versions of Palm's Pre and Pixi smartphones later this month under an exclusive arrangement with the handset maker.
The Pre Plus is a modified version of the Pre that offers 16GB of flash memory. The updated design eliminates the navigation button from below the screen, which Palm Chairman and CEO Jon Rubinstein said is meant to give the Pre Plus a more "elegant" appearance and improves navigation.
The Palm Pre Plus also has an inductive back cover, which allows the handset to be charged wirelessly using Palm's Touchstone charging dock. Current versions of the Pre require a special back cover to work with the dock.
Palm's entry-level handset, the Pixi, also received an update. The upcoming Pixi Plus handset will include support for Wi-Fi, Rubinstein said.
In addition, the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus will offer Internet tethering through an application called Mobile Hotspot, which allows users to connect up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices to a single handset,
Both the Pre Plus and the Pixi Plus will be sold exclusively through Verizon Wireless, which will also be the only operator to offer the Mobile Hotspot application, Rubinstein said.
Verizon will start selling the handsets on Jan. 25. Pricing was not disclosed.