Palm's purchase by HP was a disappointment for many WebOS fans because they feared the end of their favorite mobile OS. They need not fear anymore, though, because at today's press conference HP released two next-generation WebOS handsets.
The first handset, the Pre 3, is HP's flagship product targeted toward business and power users. It looks similar to the original Pre, still sporting the same portrait slider design, with the main difference being its size. It sports a 3.6” 800×480 capacitive screen as opposed to the 3.3” screen of the original. Rounding out the spec sheet is a 1.4 Ghz processor, 512 MB of RAM, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth 2.1, a 5 MP shooter with flash, and even a front-facing camera.
The other handset, called the HP Veer, is a smaller and hopefully cheaper device targeted at average consumers. Understandably, the specs are slightly less impressive, although the device will still be adequate for most consumers. It has the same form factor, but a smaller 2.6” 320×400 screen and 800 Mhz processor. It also has the same WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS connectivity, as well as 256 MB of RAM. The Veer lacks the front camera and flash of its bigger brother, but still has a respectable 5 MP Camera.
There is no word yet on price for these devices, but they should be available this spring.
Both the devices will ship with webOS 2.2, which brings along with it a number of improvements. It supports Flash 10.1, a new HP “touch to share” feature, a revamped interface, and faster speeds. The OS also features integration with other HP products, like printers.
Although these phones do not break ground as far as hardware is concerned, they do represent the continuation of Palm's webOS. WebOS was the first smartphone OS to gain support other than iOS, but thanks to slow hardware and bad marketing it failed. Having webOS will certainly get these new phones some following, but will it be enough for them to be successful? With other more feature- and hardware-rich platforms out there like Windows Phone 7, Android, iOS, and even MeeGo, I don't really think so.
The first generation of the Pre was loved for its software and hated for its hardware. HP has greatly improved the hardware, but I still don't think it will be enough, although I could be wrong. Do these products make you want to switch phones and operating systems?[Brighthand]