Because of this whole Easter thing, news is kind of slow today. So, yes, we are going to talk about a charger and a rumoured release date for the Palm Pre. The Palm Touchstone is a charger that uses magnets to keep the phone in place, while charging it through induction; there’s no plugs or anything. Palm has let out more details on this new type of charger, and there have also been a number of hints that the Pre might be released on Queen’s Day (April 30 for all of our non-Dutch readers).
The Touchstone charger is a pretty cool little gimmick. It doesn’t use plugs or contact points to charge the Pre, but instead relies on a technique called induction, or more specifically, electrostatic induction (right…? I’m going to fall on my bum with this one, I know nothing of this stuff). The Touchstone is a small cylindrical metal object to which you can attach the Pre via magnetism. You just place the Pre on top of it, no matter the position, and it will start charging. You can still interact with the device, and answering a call will automatically put it on speaker phone.
Sadly, the Touchstone will not ship with the Pre by default; you’ll need to buy it separately. Pricing information is not yet available.
More interesting are the signs and rumours pointing to a April 30 release date for the Pre. Firstly, we have Logicomm CEO Jim Van, beta tester for the Pre, Twittering away about Palm’s saviour, stating a possible release date of April 30. He also posted a tweet about the device’s price; USD 299 with a two-year contract. In addition, there’s talks that all Sprint retail employees are not allowed to take vacation days in May, which in the case of the iPhone was a good indication of a release date (but with AT&T, of course).
This would mean the Pre will see a release date before any possible new iPhones and the iPhoneOs 3.0, so the Pre won’t have to compete for media attention. Seems like a good idea.