Palm has announced, as predicted, that it has launched a new smartphone called the Palm Pre, and new operating system called Palm webOS at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Claiming "mobile is in our DNA", president Ed Colligan criticised other companies that have diversified: "We don't do televisions we don't do refrigerators".

Shunning Windows Mobile, Symbian and Android the company has created a new platform called Palm webOS.

Hoping that developers around the world will get into the platform, Palm has said all you need to design applications is a knowledge of HTML.

Suggesting that Palm has the answer to the same old problem of having too many gadgets and too many internet sites to follow and manage, the company has created a new software platform.

"Information is everywhere - wouldn't it be nice to bring it to your pocket in a seamless way?" questioned Colligan.

The new Palm Pre will come with EvDO, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS connectivity and a slide out QWERTY keyboard. Storage will be 8GB and it will be powered by a Texas Instruments processor.

Elsewhere there will be a multi-touch 3.1-inch 320 x 480 resolution colour screen. On the back there will be a 3-megapixel camera, a speaker and taking a dig at Apple - a replaceable battery.

Connection options will give you a USB connector and microSD socket. You'll also get a 3.5mm headphone jack and ringer switch to silence the device.

The operating system has been designed to act like a pack of cards that you can shuffle through.

The idea appears to be an attempt to remove the UI from the UI.

"There are no save buttons, no close buttons, it just works", the company said as it demoed the product.

The multitouch is used for "pinching" into web pages or images, whilst messages and notifications will show at the bottom of the screen, this means when you are in other applications you can still stay in touch regardless of what is being shown at the time.

Palm has also announced the first accessory for the Palm Pre, which takes the form of the Touchstone.

The charger will offer wireless power so according to palm all you have to do is simply place the smartphone on the charger.

The Palm Pre will be available exclusively on Sprint in the US in the first half of 2009. No word on whether the Palm pre will be coming to the UK.