HP put rumors to bed with the official announcement of both HP webOS 2.0 and the Palm Pre 2. The evolution of the platform and handsets designed for it are the result of HP’s acquisition of Palm earlier this year for $1.2 billion. The announcement raises questions about future branding, with webOS now garnering the HP brand (HP webOS 2.0) but the handset retaining the Palm moniker. The Palm Pre 2 will launch Friday in France, and will be coming to Verizon in the U. S. in a few months.
The webOS platform is getting some serious updates in functionality, notably a new UI better optimized for handling multitasking (dubbed Stacks) and Exhibition which provides a vehicle for developers to build apps designed to run when the phone is on the Touchstone wireless charger. Version 2.0 of webOS also gains Adobe Flash 10.1 support for viewing web content.
The Palm Pre 2 is the third generation of the handset line that started the webOS movement. It is more streamlined than previous versions, but is largely unchanged. Sales of the Palm Pre and Pre Plus didn’t set the world on fire, and it’s not clear why HP believes a simple refresh will sell better. Those who follow the smartphone space have been waiting to see what changes to the Palm line HP would bring to the market, and this isn’t much different. HP must be counting on other webOS products to build the platform, but the Pre 2 may be a missed opportunity for the company in the highly competitive smartphone space.
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