It's always nice when rumours actually hold up: HP just officially introduced the world to webOS 2.0 and confirmed its flagship handset, the Palm Pre 2. So this is why HP spent all that money. Let's take a quick spin.
Much of what we saw in those leaked webOS 2.0 screenshots has been confirmed: Stacks and JustType, baked in Skype and Facebook support. HP's also promising "true multitasking", which means you never have to close an app to check your email, and Flash 10.1 beta support in the browser. It still looks every bit as good as we thought it did back in August.
Less is known about the Palm Pre 2 - the only confirmed details are a 5MP camera and a 1GHz processor, both of which are table stakes at this point for a serious smartphone. It'll arrive in France this Friday for a rumoured price of €99 ($140) on-contract, €449 euro ($637) off-contract.
US and Canadian Palmists are going to have to wait until sometime "in the coming months" to get their hands on one.
More importantly, it looks as though those leaked images were legit:
Meaning there's a decent chance the leaked specs - specifically, decent-not-amazing 512MB RAM and a lacklustre screen - are also fated to be true. Which is a shame, since it looks like a attractive operating system may once again get sunk by subpar hardware.
The Palm Pre 2 be available in the US through Verizon, although if you're a developer, you'll be able to purchase an unlocked UMTS device, price TBD.
HP Introduces webOS 2.0, the Next Generation of Mobile Innovation
Coming first on new Palm Pre 2 in France, the United States and Canada
PALO ALTO, Calif., Oct. 19, 2010
HP today announced HP webOS 2.0, the most significant update to the platform since its launch in 2009 and a substantial step in HP's vision to transform how people think, feel and connect.
The first device to run webOS 2.0, HP's new Palm Pre 2 smartphone, will be available Friday in France from SFR and is scheduled to be available in the coming months in the United States from Verizon Wireless and in Canada.
"With webOS 2.0, we're advancing the innovations we introduced 16 months ago, expanding the features that make webOS great for consumers, enterprises and developers," said Jon Rubinstein, senior vice president and general manager, Palm Global Business Unit, HP. "We've made tremendous strides since the platform launched, and now we're taking our biggest leap forward with powerful new features that make it easier to get more things done with your webOS device."
webOS 2.0 offers consumers compelling application experiences not available on any other platform, while providing developers an unparalleled level of openness to integrate their applications and services. The next generation of webOS makes it easier to get more done:
* True Multitasking – Pause a game, tap an email notification, check your calendar, read a restaurant review, send an email reply, then switch back to the game without closing anything.(1,2) webOS lets you easily manage multiple open applications and notifications using natural touch gestures. New in webOS 2.0, Stacks logically groups together your open apps so they work the way you do. Whether you're reading email or planning a night on the town, Stacks keeps related items together so managing multiple tasks is even easier.
* Just Type – Start an email, create a message, update your status, search your favourite websites – all before you've even opened an app.(1) With webOS 2.0, whenever you want to do something on your phone – whether it's emailing, texting, searching or almost anything – just type. And Just Type is open to developers, so they can integrate with the search function and add their own user-customizable shortcuts, called Quick Actions.
* HP Synergy – webOS was the first mobile OS to connect you seamlessly to multiple web services. With the Synergy feature, you just have to sign in to your Facebook, Google, Microsoft® Exchange, LinkedIn and Yahoo! accounts and your information automatically populates your phone.(3) webOS 2.0 will extend the support for Synergy so developers can easily plug new Messaging, Contacts and Calendar application sources directly into the core webOS experiences.(4)
* Exhibition – A new way to use your webOS phone, Exhibition lets you run apps designed specifically for the Palm Touchstone Charging Dock, turning charge time into useful time.(4,5) Set your phone on the dock and Exhibition launches automatically, showing you anything from today's agenda to a slideshow of your Facebook photos. Exhibition will enable developers to display aspects of their existing app experience or create specialised apps for use when users have their webOS device in charge mode on the charging dock.
* Adobe® Flash Player 10.1 Beta – With version 2.0, webOS now supports a beta of Adobe Flash Player 10.1 in the browser, which provides access to rich, Flash-based web content.(6)
webOS 2.0 also includes many more new features, including the following:
* favourites – With webOS 2.0, you can tag your favourite contacts so they appear as favourites in Phone and Contacts views. When you search for them by name, they instantly show up at the top of the Contacts, Email, Messaging and Phone apps. favourites make it simple to get in touch fast.
* Skype Mobile™ (Verizon Wireless only) – For Verizon Wireless customers, webOS 2.0 supports Skype-to-Skype calls and messaging while in the United States to anywhere in the world, and low-rate calls to international landlines and cell phones.
* Text Assist – webOS 2.0 offers greatly expanded capabilities to spell check, auto correct, set up macros and customise the dictionary.
* Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite – An all-new document viewer from the leading provider of mobile document viewers offers support for Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents and provides integration with a variety of services, including Google Docs and Dropbox.
* Facebook 2.0 – Available via the Palm App Catalog, Facebook 2.0 will support Facebook IM via Synergy in the Messaging application,(4) as well as Stacks, status updates via Quick Action and the Exhibition feature.
* Browser – The browser adds support for more HTML5 features, including geolocation support. OpenSearch plug-in support makes it easy to add your favourite websites to Just Type web search.
* Messaging – The unified Messaging app in webOS 2.0 adds Yahoo! IM and buddy management. Customers can now connect to their buddies through SMS, MMS, Google Talk, AIM and Yahoo! IM.
* VPN – webOS 2.0 supports the most popular ways to connect to a corporate network, including IPsec and Cisco AnyConnect mobile-optimized VPN, which supports SSL (TLS and DTLS).
* App Catalog – The redesigned Palm App Catalog makes finding and discovering great apps even easier.(7) And the new Software Manager helps you keep your apps up-to-date.
* Launcher – A redesigned app launcher lets you add, label and reorder launcher pages.
* Phone – The webOS 2.0 Phone app lets you easily dial your favourites and offers reverse area code lookup and Skype Mobile integration (Skype Mobile for Verizon Wireless only). Accounts – The new Accounts app provides a single place to manage all your Synergy accounts.
* Bluetooth® keyboards – webOS now supports Bluetooth keyboards and Bluetooth SPP peripherals, enabling applications such as barcode readers and realty lock boxes.
More information about the features of webOS 2.0 is available at www.palm.com/softwareupdate.
Introducing Palm Pre 2
HP also introduced the Palm Pre 2 smartphone, the latest evolution to the Palm Pre lineup. Pre 2 is the first Palm phone with a gigahertz processor and features a 5-megapixel camera, a glass screen and a sleeker, streamlined design that still gives users the ideal combination of a vivid touchscreen and a slide-out keyboard.
More information about Palm Pre 2, including features and specifications, is available at www.palm.com/Pre2.
Palm Pre 2 featuring webOS 2.0 will be available Friday in France from SFR and is scheduled to be available in the coming months in the United States from Verizon Wireless and in Canada. The webOS 2.0 update will be delivered to existing customers in the coming months, with exact timing to be announced at a later date.
Developers will be able to purchase unlocked UMTS versions of Pre 2 in the United States to use as a canvas to build the next generation of webOS applications and services. More information about the purchase program will be available at http://developer.palm.com/devdevices.html.