updated 06:40 pm EDT, Wed May 27, 2009
Ex Apple exec behind Pre
Former Apple executive Jon Rubinstein reportedly played a significant role in overhauling Palm's Pre project when he began working with the company, according to Fortune. Rubinstein initially started "hanging out" with the Palm teams in June of 2007. Taking a first look, he was unimpressed with the Pre hardware and pushed to have the engineers step away from the resistive touchscreens utilized on the prototypes. The components were replaced with capacitive touchscreens used in devices such as the iPhone.
Rubinstein scrapped the old hardware and pushed to have a new prototype finished in just 15 months. "We were basically running a marathon and doing a heart transplant in the middle of it," he says.
The engineer's relationship with the Apple executives dates back to 1990, after being invited to join Steve Jobs' NeXT venture. Later, while working at Apple, Rubinstein lead engineers to bring the first iMacs and iPods to the market in extremely short time-frames.
After Elevation Partners proved unable to raise enough capital to buy Palm outright, the firm instead negotiated to purchase a smaller share and bring Rubinstein into the company. The noncompetition agreement with Apple expired in April of 2007, leaving the former executive free to take his experience elsewhere.
Palm anticipates that the Pre will restore its position as a formidable competitor in the smartphone business. Rubinstein was on hand to launch the device at CES in January. The first devices will be released on June 6th for $200 on Sprint.