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.
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…
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.
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…)
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.
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.