When HP bought Palm earlier this year it was not certain Palm as a handset brand had much of a future. All is now clear however, as HP has announced the arrival of webOS 2.0, a major update to the Palm OS, and that the Palm Pre 2 will be released as soon as this Friday – in France. The US and Canada will get the handset in the coming months, but there’s no word of UK availability at this time.
“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 of Palm;s Global Business Unit, said in a statement.
“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.”
Some of the improvements webOS brings are enhanced multi-tasking, with Stacks. These group related apps together making it easier to switch between them. It’s also introduced Just Type, an improved form of universal search, enabling you to choose what to search as you type.
There’s also Quick Actions, that lets you use what you’ve typed in a choice of applications such as an email a text or the calendar, without having to open it first.
HP’s Synergy Hub will auto populate your phone with content from Facebook, Google, Microsoft Exchange, LinkedIn and Yahoo! accounts as it did before, but webOS 2.0 will open this up to developers.
Notably, HP has brought a beta of Adobe Flash 10.1 to webOS, matching Android 2.2 and giving itself a big feature box to check against iOS4.
The Palm Pre 2 itself resembles its forbear and features a 3.1in multi-touch display – but it’s hard to see how the 320 x 480 resolution will be anything but disappointing compared to high-end Android phone and the iPhone 4.
It will have a 1GHz processor, a healthy 16GB of built-in memory and a 5-megapixel camera with an LED flash and five hours of talk-time is promised from the battery.
With both HP’s Palm and Microsoft Window’s Phone 7 making spirited revivals the smartphone market is looking crowded. Undoubtedly the smartphone market is huge with plenty of untapped potential, but will there be room for all of them?