webOS is down but certainly not out. Even though HP discontinued all webOS devices in April, the company announced on Friday that they are granting the webOS platform the potential to prosper in the open source community. A press release states, “By combining the innovative webOS platform with the development power of the open source community, there is the opportunity to significantly improve applications and web services for the next generation of devices.” This does not mean, however, that HP will resurrect the TouchPad tablet and Pre smartphone. No plans have been announced to inject webOS back into HP-manufactured hardware. If you managed to scoop up a webOS device before they ceased to exist, revel in the fact that “HP plans to continue to be active in the development and support of webOS.” In a letter to HP employees, newly appointed CEO Meg Whitman said, “HP engineers, partners, other developers and hardware manufacturers will be able to contribute to the development of webOS. Together, we have an opportunity to make it the foundation of a new generation of devices, applications and services to address the rapidly evolving demands of both consumers and enterprises.”
webOS lives! Catch the full PR and Whitman’s memo after the break.
In August when HP announced the discontinuation of WebOS, they also hinted that the company’s “board of directors [had] authorized the exploration of strategic alternatives for its Personal Systems Group (PSG).” Well last week the speculation concerning HP’s decision to spinoff their consumer-oriented hardware division to solely focus on software development can be put to rest. A new press release–in full after the break–reveals the company’s intention to keep the PC division under the same roof. HP executive Todd Bradley on the matter: “As part of HP, PSG will continue to give customers and partners the advantages of product innovation and global scale across the industry’s broadest portfolio of PCs, workstations and more. We intend to make the leading PC business in the world even better.” Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman is now the head of HP and she believes that keeping the PC division where it is ultimately is “right for customers and partners, right for shareholders, and right for employees.” And that settles the matter.
HP’s consumer-oriented operating system known as WebOS has been scrapped for the time being. And the Führer of Germany isn’t taking the news well…
In April 2010 HP acquired Palm for $2.1 billion. Since then HP announced three products powered by Palm’s secret sauce known as webOS: the next-gen Pre3, the tiny Veer, and the TouchPad tablet. Due to a number of factors (including but not limited to manufacturing delays, almost no buzz, and as a result of that poor sales figures), HP has decided to discontinue all webOS devices. A press release outed Thursday states:
HP reported that it plans to announce that it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.
So what does this mean for ex-WebOS engineer Job Rubinstein’s creation? Well, HP refuses to say that the innovative OS is dead. The majority of industry insiders believe that HP might go on to license the OS to other hardware manufacturers. So in a nutshell, HP will continue shaping the OS for the future but the devices it will run on will be made by other manufacturers. (It’s like what Google and Microsoft do with their cell phone businesses; Android and Windows Phone 7 are developed internally and they are pushed out to consumers on devices made by other manufactures like HTC and Samsung.) For now, however, the manufacture of the Pre line, the Veer, and the TouchPad will be ceased and when the current supply of inventory is gone, that’s the end of it. If you’re in the market for a decent tablet, though, now’s the time to splurge: HP is having a major TouchPad fire sale to get rid of all the remaining inventory. The 16GB ($399) and 32GB ($499) models are seeing a significant price drop today; they are now going for $99 and $149 respectively. Check out Slick Deals to see the retail outlets that have the price reduction in effect.
In the same press release HP also announced that “its board of directors has authorized the exploration of strategic alternatives for its Personal Systems Group (PSG).” In other words, the company is pondering a way to spinoff their consumer-oriented hardware wing so that they can focus all their attention on building software. You see, the company’s PSG includes HP desktops, laptops, printers, webOS devices, etc. HP is in talks with Autonomy Corporation plc about handing over their hardware unit, but according to HP CEO Leo Apotheker it’ll be another 12 to 18 months before any major decisions are made regarding the new focus for the company.
It’s clear that this is a time of transition for HP. They spent billions on a fading hardware company and that went bust. Now they are taking a step back from the consumer industry and considering a big move towards software and services. When all the dust settles, though, there’s one thing that remains to be said and makes a lump form in my throat: with Rubinstein working on other projects and webOS on death row, this time Palm really is dead.
HP is ready to take on Apple, Android, and RIM in the tablet market with the WebOS-enabled TouchPad. The WiFi version of the HP TouchPad will be available in the US on July 1. The official press release, in full after the break, specifies that it will become available in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and Germany “a few days later,” in Canada in “mid-July,” and it’ll make its way to Italy, Spain, Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Singapore “later this year.” Americans will have the option to purchase 16GB or 32GB models for $499.99 and $599.99, respectively. Preorders begin June 19. The TouchPad will sell at most leading local and regional retailers including Best Buy, Staples, Office Depot, Walmart, Sam’s Club, OfficeMax, Amazon.com, Fry’s, Microcenter A 3G model is coming later this summer with data provided by AT&T.
Read all about the HP TouchPad right here!
Update: HP has uploaded a bunch of TouchPad videos to their YouTube channel for your viewing pleasure.
Back in February, HP formally introduced three new WebOS-enabled devices imagined by the Palm godfather Job Rubinstein. The HP Veer, the smallest of the bunch, is hitting the market first and it’s coming to AT&T. Described to be the size of a credit card and no thicker than a deck of cards, the newly branded HP Veer 4G goes a little something like this: 2.6-inch (320×400) glass touch display, an 800MHz Snapdragon processor, 5 megapixel camera, full slide-out QWERTY keyboard, built-in GPS, WiFi 802.11b/g, and Bluetooth, 8GB of storage, accelerometer, proximity, and light sensors, Adobe Flash Player support, it can act as a mobile hotspot supporting up to 5 WiFi-capable devices, HSPA+, one USB port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. It runs WebOS version 2.1 and comes in black and white variants. When it drops May 15 the palm-sized handset will set you back an affordable $99.99, two-year contract with AT&T required. Full PR after the break, as is an image that shows you just how pint-sized this thing really is.
This week HP introduced three brand new WebOS-enabled devices: two smartphones and a tablet. After gobbling Palm last March, HP has worked very closely with WebOS engineer Job Rubinstein to create innovative new products powered by the mobile and ubiquitously-connected operating system. At HP’s “Think Beyond” event they formally introduced the tiny yet powerful Veer, the next generation Pre3, and the very first tablet to run WebOS, the TouchPad.
HP Veer: The Veer is an extremely small smartphone. At just 54.5mm x 84.0mm x 15.1mm and only 103 grams, it’s about the size of a credit card and slimmer than a deck of cards. Rubinstein described the Veer like this: “The power of a large phone in a compact size.” So let’s see what this tiny beast packs inside. It features a 2.57-inch (320×400) glass touch display, an 800MHz Snapdragon processor, 5 megapixel camera, full slide-out QWERTY keyboard, built-in GPS, WiFi 802.11b/g, and Bluetooth, 8GB of storage, accelerometer, proximity, and light sensors, Adobe Flash Player support, it can act as a mobile hotspot supporting up to 5 WiFi-capable devices, HSPA+, one USB port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The Veer will be available in early spring. (It’s being reported that the Veer is too slim to feature actual microUSB and headphone ports, so users will be forced to attach bundled adapters to access those ports.)(Click here for more…)
In early October HP spilled the beans on the Palm Pre successor, and this week they’ve made it so you can purchase it. Feel free to order the webOS 2.0-powered Pre 2 at HP’s online store for $449.99. Why so expensive? Because HP’s selling it GSM unlocked; in other words, it’s not tied to a single carrier.
After almost an entire year of teases, demos, random resurfaces, and handlings on YouTube, the once mysterious HP Slate has been formally announced and detailed. What was originally intended for the consumer market has been tailored and made destined for “business, enterprise and vertical customers.” (You can thank HP’s aquisition of Palm and their current plans of designing webOS tablets for this slight shakeup in marketing.) By now you should know the Slate’s specs by heart, but let’s run through them anyway, you know, for fun. Weighing in at 1.5 pounds, the Slate features a 8.9-inch (1024×600) capacitive multitouch display, 1.86GHz Intel Atom Z540 processor, 2GB of RAM, 64GB SSD, 802.11n WiFi, rear-facing 5 megapixel camera (for taking still images and video), front-facing VGA camera (for video chat), and a Broadcom Crystal HD Enhanced Video accelerator to help provide 1080p video playback. Ports-wise there’s 1 USB, a headphone jack, an SD card slot, and a mic. A myriad of buttons surround the bezel; there’s a home button, a keyboard button that brings up and hides the on-screen keyboard, volume up/down buttons, and a Ctrl-Alt-Delete key.
The Slate 500 runs a clean version of Windows 7 Professional; you won’t find any kind of HP skin here, which can be a good or bad thing depending on your preferences. Unlike Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android Froyo platform, Windows 7 was not designed from the ground up for touch input. A capacitive screen and a fairly speedy Intel processor will get the job done, but just barely. If you are willing to learn how to navigate a made for mouse-and-keyboard OS using your fat fingers, go for it. All I’m saying is that it might be hard to justify dropping $799 for a tablet of this kind. A worthy iPad contender this is not. If you’re anti-Apple, I’d recommend purchasing the Samsung Galaxy Tab over the Slate any day.
But enough of my gripes. Let’s talk Slate accessories and release details. It ships with a Wacom active digital pen to use for note taking and writing emails. It also comes with a dock fitted with an HDMI port for video out and a “portfolio” case. Again the Slate will ship for $799 and it’s coming to the U.S. first (at an undisclosed date) and will then be “evaluated for further market expansion.”
Look in the gallery below for stills and after the break for official PR.
There’s no denying that HP has been a smartphone player for years. The first iPAQ running an ancient version of Windows Mobile was first introduced in 2000. But today marks a new era in the smartphone industry for HP. In April HP aquired smartphone and OS manufacturer Palm for a cool $1.2 billion with the intention of clearing off the dust and starting fresh. Before the aquisition, Palm had already invented the modern webOS interface and hardware to go along with it in the Pre and Pixi. Under HP’s guidance and supervision, Palm is ready to show off a new version of webOS and a new Pre device.
HP webOS 2.0 boasts a load of new features. The big ones include: (1) “True multitasking” & Stacks - You can move back and forth between apps and they’ll remain the exact state you left them in; Stacks keeps related items (or cards) together making it easier to manage open applications. (2) Just Type & Quick Actions – Just Type is Palm’s name for universal search; starting typing and the device will automatically search your phone’s database and the Internet for related content. This is open for developers to experiment with; they can integrate with the search function and add their own user-customizable shortcuts called Quick Actions. (3) HP Synergy – After signing into your Facebook, Google, Microsoft Exchange, LinkedIn and/or Yahoo accounts, the information from these services will automatically populate your phone, allowing you to connect seamlessly to multiple web services. You have the control to choose what gets pulled from the cloud and stored on your phone–contacts, calendars, messaging, etc. This feature will also be open to developers, allowing them to cull data on your phone if you allow it. (4) Exhibition – When you plug your phone into a Palm Touchstone Charging Dock the Exhibition app will launch automatically, and it will display what you want it to while it’s charging (a Facebook photo slideshow, the day’s agenda, etc.). Developers will be granted an API to display aspects of their existing app experience or create specialized apps for use when the phone is charging. (5) Adobe Flash Player 10.1 beta – The web browser will support Flash content. Other notable features include: unified messaging, text assist (spell check, auto correct), HTML5 support in browser, a customizable launcher, integrated Quickoffice suite, and support for Exchange,VPN, Bluetooth keyboards, and SPP peripherals. The Palm App Catelog will be accessable too, with Facebook 2.0 and Skype Mobile featured at launch.
There’s the software. Let’s talk hardware. The Palm Pre 2 looks nearly identical to its older sibling. It boasts a 3.1-inch (480 x 320, HVGA) multitouch display, 1GHz processor, 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, 16GB of internal storage, built-in GPS, ambient light & proximity sensors, an accelerometer, 802.11b/g WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, a 3.5mm headphone, and battery that promises five-and-a-half hours of talk time. The “sleeker, streamlined design” features the same slideout QWERTY keyboard and touch panel along the bottom. All in all, it’s a slimmer, faster Pre running a mildly tweaked version of webOS.
The software definitely looks compelling; what I’m most worried about is the hardware. The specs are simply on par with what’s on the market today, and the design looks very aged. Palm had much time to develop new hardware to release with webOS 2.0 and what they came up with is nothing to call home about. It’s 2009 hardware packed with 2010 software–not the most ideal of situations for a company excited to breakout into the heated smartphone competition. Pre 2 feels like Pre 1.5 (or arguably what the Pre Plus should have been when it released last January).
Palm Pre 2 running webOS 2.0 will be available this Friday in France from the SFR mobile carrier. It will arrive in the States and Canada “in the coming months” on Verizon Wireless (US). Pricing details have yet to be disclosed. Existing webOS users will receive an update to the latest version also “in the coming months.” And if you’re a developer, you can purchase unlocked UMTS versions of Pre 2 in the US to start building apps.
Look below for still images of the Pre 2 and webOS, and hop after the break for an under ten minute video tour of the new platform and official PR.
YouTuber x313xkillax somehow managed to get his hands on a protoype model of the HP Slate. As you can see in the video embedded above the Slate has a myriad of ports and switches around the edges (including one that reveals an on-screen keyboard) and it boots fairly quickly into a full-fledged copy of Windows 7. IE8 seems to run Flash content without hiccup (advantage HP, iPad). Since Windows 7 isn’t all that optimized for touchscreen implementation I am anticipating a future HP tablet running multitouch-friendly WebOS. HP bought Palm so they can do that, you know.
Want more deets on the Slate? A second video surfaced that previews the tablet in greater detail. The back of the product box lists the following specs: 1.86GHz Intel Atom Z540 with GMA500 and Broadcom Crystal HD Enhanced Video accelerator, 8.9-inch WSVGA screen, 2GB DDR2 RAM, about 60GB storage capacity, Windows 7 Home Premium, 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth, SD card reader, 2-Cell 30WHr Lithium-ion Polymer battery. There are also back and front-facing cameras. Apparently the Slate will ship with a dock that comes complete with a kickstand, two USB ports, HDMI out, and a headphone jack.
Update: Both videos have been “removed by the user” due to obvious reasons. However I was able to find another copy of the original preview video and it’s embedded above; the more extensive preview is nowhere to be found, unfortunately.
On Wednesday HP announced its plans to buy out Palm for $1.2 billion, or at a price of $5.70 per share of Palm common stock. This is big news, and it’s quite shocking. Palm’s existance takes the shape of a rollercoaster ride. Since its inception in 1996, Palm introduced the world to some of the first personal device assistants (PDAs) with the Palm Pilot, the Handspring Treo, Treo and Centro smartphones, and the failed experiment that was Folio. After nearly facing its demise, Jon Rubinstein (who helped invent the iPod) left Apple to help ressurect Palm. And so he replaced Ed Colligan as CEO, created a new mobile operating system called WebOS, and pushed out two new smartphones, the Palm Pre and Palm Pixi. Thanks to a downright scary marketing campaign (watch this commercial if you dare) and tough business decisions (making the Pre exclusive to Sprint), Palm’s stock took another nosedive and rumors of a buyout quickly surfaced. Tech companies like HTC and Lenovo sat at the top of analyst’s lists as possible companies to gobble up Palm. And then, all of a sudden, HP literally came out of no where to seal the deal. And look at that, we’ve made it to present day.
HP will officially acquire Palm during HP’s third fiscal quarter, or by July 31. So what does this mean for the two entities? Right now this is what Palm’s got: the Pre, the Pixi, and most important to HP, WebOS. HP’s executive VP Todd Bradley says, “Palm’s innovative operating system provides an ideal platform to expand HP’s mobility strategy and create a unique HP experience spanning multiple mobile connected devices.” Essentially, HP is going to take everything WebOS and run with it across a wide range of devices. Which means you can plan to see it running on smartphones and potentially netbooks and tablets. All this begs the question, what will become of the HP Slate now that WebOS is on the table? Only time will tell.
It’s been confirmed that Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein will stay onboard with the majority of senior team members at the company. Also, the current Palm hardware roadmap has not been affected by the merger. All signs point a happy marrige. Says Rubinstein: “We look forward to working with HP to continue to deliver industry-leading mobile experiences to our customers and business partners.” He added, “I don’t think HP would do this unless they were willing to make the kind of investment necessary to win.” What’s interesting here, though, is that HP signed up to be an initial key partner with Microsoft for Windows Phone 7. Also, HP already has their less-than-successful line of iPaq smartphones. Will Palm become iPaq or stay Palm? All of these questions will likely be answered sometime between now and July. All in all, the acquisition is a big win for consumers (and Palm, really) as it will breath new life into the emerging WebOS platform and introduce new hardware on a whole new scale of innovation.
Look after the break for the official PR and a letter written by Rubenstein to his company.
Over the weekend a tablet called iPad was released into the wild. Taking a backseat to all the ruckus was HP, a company who knows a thing or two about the tablet game. The HP Slate makes a brand new appearence in this video, boasting features that are noticably absent from the coveted iPad including dual cameras for Skype video chat, an SD card slot for expandable storage, and a USB port. The Slate will run Windows 7 with a layer of HP’s TouchSmart UI laid on top. Rumors are swirling that it’ll cost $529 and drop into customer’s hands this June, but I’ll make sure to report back when official word comes from HP.
We caught a first glipse of the HP Slate revealed at CES 2010 by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Then we were told about the origins of the Slate in a short HP “special update” video. Now we’ve got two new videos that shed a bit more light on HP’s iPad contender. Since the Slate runs Windows 7, it’s not surprise that it will support Flash video. HP is really going out of their way to show off Flash video and games, boasting a popular feature the popular iPad will likely never support (HTML 5, where are you?). In the video above we also learn about the Adobe AIR apps the Slate will run, and we also get to see the on-screen keyboard it will display. HP, these product teases are nice and all, but enough is enough–we want product details, price, a launch window at least! Look after the break for a 30 second spot featuring the Slate.
Rhys Darby of Flight of the Conchords fame (he played Bret & Jemaine’s boss Murray) stars in HP’s latest ad campaign. The $40 million “Let’s Do Amazing” ad campaign includes a series of commercials that appear to reintroduce the HP brand to consumers in a new, different, and quite humorous way. Dr. Dre lends a helping hand, making sure to promote his Dre Beats line of headphones and HP laptops. Look after the break for a second commercial.
UPDATED: You’ll find all the current HP “Let’s Do Amazing” commercials featuring Rhys Darby, plus an interview with the FOTC alum and the “Internal Launch” video, after the break!
Remember that mysterious tablet from HP that was breifly handled at the Microsoft keynote at this year’s CES? Well HP CTO Phil McKinney is here to go into a bit more detail about the origins of the HP Slate. At its core it’s a multitouch tablet that runs Window 7; it’s the “rich media experience” that promises to set it apart from the rest of the pack. It’s set to release sometime this year.
HP recently showed off its “wall of touch” concept to The Wall Street Journal. HP labels it a “large digital sign” that allows users to interact with it. Interestingly HP gives the user two options for said interaction: you can touch it as you normally would with, say, a Microsoft Surface table, or you can simply point to specific locations on the wall. With the aid of integrated cameras and a magnetic strip the wall can detect when a user approaches and intentially interacts with it with hand gestures. For now HP is selling this technology to companies who plan on using it in large public spaces. In fact, Continental Airlines has one of the first walls installed in their Houston airport. HP does leave the door open and hints that it may turn into a “mainstream product” if there’s enough interest and demand for it. It would cost anywhere from “a couple thousand dollars” to $100,000, depending upon the built-in technologies (HD video cameras, etc.). Be sure to check out a demo of HP’s “wall of touch” in the video above.
According to a computer store employee HP computer are racist against black people because their video camera software cannot recognize or track black faces. White faces have no problem being recognized, as evidenced in this video. HP responded to this rather awkward issue:
“We are working with our partners to learn more. The technology we use is built on standard algorithms that measure the difference in intensity of contrast between the eyes and the upper cheek and nose. We believe that the camera might have difficulty “seeing” contrast in conditions where there is insufficient foreground lighting.”
And it rocks.
HP has used the techniques of tilt-shifting photography and minuature faking for the latest ad campaign called “Create Amazing.” Tilt-shift photography “refers to the use of camera movements on small- and medium-format cameras, and sometimes specifically refers to the use of tilt for selective focus, often for simulating a miniature scene.” Miniature faking is “a process in which a photograph of a life-size location or object is made to look like a photograph of a miniature scale model. Blurring parts of the photo simulates the shallow depth of field normally encountered in close-up photography, making the scene seem much smaller than it actually is.” “A miniature can also be simulated digitally, using an image editor to blur the top and bottom of the photograph, so that only the subject is sharp.”
UPDATE: Apparently the video was taken off YouTube because the filmmaker still needs to clear it with HP. I will repost as soon as it reappears on the Internet.
The HP ProBook and 6545b (15.6-inch) and 6445b (14-inch) have specially-designed keyboards that allow water (or a similar liquid) to drain through them and out the bottom of the laptop. Watch the magic in the video above.