Print 70 comment(s) - last by omnicronx.. on Oct 22 at 2:40 PM

  (Source: HP/Palm)

HP's Palm Pre 2 features webOS 2.0 and improved internals, but only packs a tiny 3.1-inch 320x480 display.  (Source: HP/Palm)
New device features a tiny 320x480 and won't launch in the U.S. until next month -- what is HP thinking?

Today Palm ended weeks of speculation unveiling the Palm Pre 2 (previously code-named Mansion) and its new webOS 2.0.  HP has shown its hand and it appears as underwhelming at best.

On the surface the device itself seems reasonably well-equipped, containing the kind of high-end hardware you'd find on a high-end Android phone.  The phone packs a 1 GHz processor (doubling the original Pre's processor which was underclocked to 500 MHz).  The camera is bumped from 3 MP to 5 MP.  Memory holds steady at 512 MB -- the same as the Pre Plus.  And the Flash storage -- 16 GB -- is also identical to the Pre Plus'.

The biggest disappointment is the screen.  The Pre 2 still packs the same 3.1-inch 320x480  HVGA display as its predecessor, at a time when Android and Apple have graduated to higher resolutions.  Other potential downside is the lack of microSD support and the lack of support for the latest/fastest 802.11n wireless standard.

If this was Hewlett-Packard's grand scheme to use its recent acquisition Palm to make a splash on the smart phone market, something seems to be missing. 

Compare Palm's launch today with Microsoft's launch of Windows Phone 7 next month and you'll realize that Palm is at a distinct disadvantage.  Palm only has one new handset -- Microsoft has nine (as does Android, for that matter).  Palm supports apps (including Angry Birds and Oprah Mobile!), Skype, Bluetooth, and VPN, but Microsoft is expected to support these things as well (and Android already does).

One of the only advantages that Palm holds over Microsoft is that webOS 2.0, features a refined version of true multitasking, which is available for both third party and built-in apps.  Windows Phone 7 is expected to only support multitasking for built-in apps, not for third party apps.  Then again, the iOS and Android platforms already support true multitasking, so Palm is hardly in a league of its own here.

The success or failure of the Pre 2 ultimately matters little to HP, other than perhaps as a matter of pride (it's chief rival Dell is designing/launching multiple upcoming Android and Windows Phone 7 smart phones).  HP can afford to sustain Palm even if the experiment isn't working out, in interest of one day trying to conquer the phone market.

But in the face of a fast-advancing smart phone market, HP needs to do something at some point if it ever wants to get ahead -- more handsets -- better hardware than its competitors -- some decisive advantage.  That something is not the Palm Pre 2 -- a single smart phone with a tiny, low-resolution screen and lack of brand recognition. 

But HP seems determined to go its own way and will launch the device into the packed market anyways.  The Pre 2 will launch Friday in France and in "coming months" in the United States and Canada.

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That is one tiny screen!
By MrX8503 on 10/19/2010 11:47:54 AM , Rating: 2
What is HP thinking? Do they have amnesia and have totally forgotten that the Palm Pre 1 was a failure? *sigh*

RE: That is one tiny screen!
By Samus on 10/19/2010 11:52:50 AM , Rating: 1
They clearly don't know jack shit about the phone marketplace. Sadly, over 10 years into it, neither does Microsoft, but we'll see if at least they reinvent themself....hmm, isn't that an HP term?

RE: That is one tiny screen!
By inighthawki on 10/19/2010 1:24:08 PM , Rating: 2
Had to slip in MS huh? You know, just because you don't like what WP7 is going to be doesn't mean there aren't others who do. It's clearly a quality made product if you get passed the few missing features (most of which are useless for its target market anyway).

RE: That is one tiny screen!
By Xenon14 on 10/19/10, Rating: 0
RE: That is one tiny screen!
By inighthawki on 10/19/2010 2:23:29 PM , Rating: 4
Features ARE what make the device, you just have to understand that the term "feature" refers to more than just the hardware level benefit over competition or included apps.

Yes, the Wii WAS worse on paper, but the attractive feature was motion controls. As far as WP7 goes, it may not have multitasking or copy/paste (yet) but it has what some may consider to be a very nice interface and great integration with existing software, as well as a selection of rather high-performing hardware via MS's specifications.

As for Palm, from what I've read, it has little actually going for it. They have a fairly generic looking phone with a small screen, (didn't take note on the CPU), and the last one wasn't that great either. So where is the interest?

RE: That is one tiny screen!
By mcnabney on 10/19/2010 6:36:28 PM , Rating: 2
Wii offered a significantly lower price and brought with it a completely new way of playing games. The Pre, not so much. Nice OS, lousy hardware. Pathetic marketing. At least this time it won't be anchored to a Sprint exclusive.

RE: That is one tiny screen!
By Samus on 10/19/10, Rating: 0
RE: That is one tiny screen!
By Chadder007 on 10/20/2010 1:39:11 AM , Rating: 2
I've already played with one, I still like the WebOS much better. It's more intuitive to me. Just wished there was a better form factor avail and more apps.

RE: That is one tiny screen!
By retrospooty on 10/20/2010 8:12:41 AM , Rating: 2
"I still like the WebOS much better. It's more intuitive to me. Just wished there was a better form factor avail and more apps. "

Me too... to bad it looks like it wont happen. I could totally love a Web OS Droid 2 hardware based phone, or perhaps Droid incredible-ish

RE: That is one tiny screen!
By Targon on 10/20/2010 10:14:31 PM , Rating: 2
The Pre 2 is really the Pre Plus Plus. In theory, the REAL Pre 2 will be a more significant upgrade, but HP/Palm is staying silent until 2011 when the big technology trade shows provide a stage for BIG product announcements. You may notice that the Pre 2 is really the existing Palm Pre Plus with some hardware improvements and a major OS update. The current Pre Plus can already be overclocked to 1GHz with ease, so making a STOCK Pre Plus that clocks to 1GHz isn't a big deal, except that it does it with less power draw than an overclocked Pre Plus.

Apple releases their big products at various times of the year, for iPhones, laptops, and desktops. Google just releases Android updates whenever, and various manufacturers pump out updates. HP never really got into the cell phone industry until they bought Palm, but there have been statements to indicate there will be multiple WebOS based phones released in the next 9 months or so.

A "slab" style with ONLY a touchscreen is something expected. A larger version of the current Pre Plus(or Pre 2) with a vertical slider design is what many have been waiting for. If you took the current Pre Plus or Pre 2 and gave it a 3.8 inch screen and also kept the vertical slider, that would be seen as a winner by many people. A tablet is also expected(PalmPad is the name floating around).

If you compare the Pre 2 to other high end devices on the market, the only thing that is weak is the screen size. 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, 16GB of storage is fairly standard right now, though the storage may seem small, it is enough for most people. How many devices actually exceed those specs? It is the screen size that people are complaining about, and having a physical keyboard does help compensate a BIT, but not enough.

I'd wait until March before counting HP/Palm out.

RE: That is one tiny screen!
By inighthawki on 10/20/2010 12:12:19 PM , Rating: 2
Nobody called it revolutionary, and the only reason i called it quality was because it looks like a superior and better performing version of the zune HD OS which i've used extensively and love. I've watched a lot of reviews on it as well, and done some development which is very nice. It is quite apparent that it wasn't something thrown together last second.

RE: That is one tiny screen!
By omnicronx on 10/19/2010 11:56:09 AM , Rating: 4
Oh stop whining .. Not everyone, heck MOST people do not want a giant candy bar in their pocket.

This idea that every smartphone needs 4"+ display is completely ridiculous..

It also has the slide out keyboard which limits the screen size in the first place. I know many more people that would care about the lack of keyboard over a large screen.

That being said, there are rumors that the next Palm device to be out next year will be of the candybar style, most likely with a larger display.

RE: That is one tiny screen!
By UNCjigga on 10/19/2010 12:33:40 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, screen size/resolution is not as important as some make it out to be. On a pure touchscreen device it is important, but not so much on a device with a keyboard. I've been using a Droid Pro demo unit and I find Android perfectly usable on a smaller touchscreen.

I'm curious whether HP will target this device more to business users, as RIM and Microsoft are struggling in that department, while Android/iOS still haven't gained a lot of traction in that market.

By VitalyTheUnknown on 10/19/2010 12:56:53 PM , Rating: 4
"screen size/resolution is not as important as some make it out to be."

Depends on what you do with your smart-phone, If you're going to browse the Internet on a phone it's the most important combo.

RE: That is one tiny screen!
By nafhan on 10/19/2010 12:40:52 PM , Rating: 5
Even with the same display size 640 x 480 would have made a big difference.

RE: That is one tiny screen!
By quiksilvr on 10/19/2010 12:42:18 PM , Rating: 3
Actually I wouldn't have minded 640x360. Seriously, at least make it widescreen.

But they fell short in some other areas as well. No 802.11n wireless for one. No microSDHC slot either.

RE: That is one tiny screen!
By Moishe on 10/19/2010 4:01:08 PM , Rating: 3
802.11n is really a necessary thing at this point?

I'd love an expansion slot too, but I wouldn't consider it a deal breaker.

RE: That is one tiny screen!
By Suntan on 10/19/10, Rating: -1
RE: That is one tiny screen!
By Suntan on 10/20/2010 12:24:53 PM , Rating: 1
OOOhhh... Hit a nerve with all the giant-phone-clipped-to-the-belt IT nerds out there huh?


RE: That is one tiny screen!
By Targon on 10/20/2010 10:20:04 PM , Rating: 2
WebOS is very easy to code for, and is fully open for patching and coding. Palm, and now HP encourage the idea of Homebrew applications and patches.

If the phone had a larger screen, it would get more respect, since the hardware specs are competitive with the other high end devices on the market.

RE: That is one tiny screen!
By AstroCreep on 10/19/2010 3:16:34 PM , Rating: 5
Not everyone, heck MOST people do not want a giant candy bar in their pocket.

That's not a giant candy bar; I'm just happy to see you.

RE: That is one tiny screen!
By adiposity on 10/19/2010 11:59:37 AM , Rating: 4
They haven't had time to do a complete hardware redesign. You can be sure better hardware is already being designed. Maybe they should consider licensing the software. Most agree it's better than Android--especially for developers.

I wish google had bought it and taken the good parts to put into Android.

RE: That is one tiny screen!
By The Raven on 10/19/2010 2:29:47 PM , Rating: 2
We should all just pass the collection plate around, buy the rights, and open source it to the community, and get the good parts.

RE: That is one tiny screen!
By n00bxqb on 10/19/2010 7:54:08 PM , Rating: 2
That doesn't stop DT from slagging it ... We should fully expect a complete redesign 3 months after the acquisition was finalized ... :roll:

I would assume a phone that was designed from scratch, tested, and mass manufactured in 3 months would be a disaster. You wouldn't have anywhere near enough time to adequately design or test it.

RE: That is one tiny screen!
By Moishe on 10/19/2010 3:35:08 PM , Rating: 2
I just gotta say, your comment, and the stupid subtitle in the article are just lame. Mick should be ashamed, but the articles are always the same. Spend less time coming up with inaccurate sensational words and more time proofreading.

The screen is not tiny. The screen is basically a normal cellphone screen size and resolution. It IS smaller than the a lot of the recent generation of smartphones, but those are not the norm. The norm is iphone/pre.

Also the word "tiny" is like calling the hummer "enormous", when in reality, it's just big. Sensationalism.

OMGZZ!1 it's tiny!! ...

Gimme a break.
OMGZZORsZ!1 it doesn't do 802.11*N*!! ...

Are you effing kidding me with this?

It's obvious what HP did here. HP took the current device and put the new OS on it and then clocked the CPU to 1Ghz (the Pre+ was underclocked). It's the easiest way to turn something around, sell old stock, and save time until the next device. Is this a great strategy? Not great, but given no other device at this time, it's not a bad idea. I bet they have a crapload of unsold Palm Pre+ devices that are burning a hole in their pocket. Best to unload them.

I own a Pre+ and the keyboard makes me want to commit murder just about every day. Other than that, it's a great phone. The webOS is brilliant.

RE: That is one tiny screen!
By Moishe on 10/19/2010 3:45:34 PM , Rating: 2
By the way,
iPhone is 3.5"
Pre+ 3.1" (12% less than iPhone, but higher DPI)
Droid X 4.3" (22% more than iPhone)
Fascinate 4"

There are too many to list, but the new smart phones are aiming for >4" and widescreen. I think 4" is about the right size for me, but the idea that 3.1" is "tiny" compared to 4" is just absurd. "Tiny" would be closer to 25% or less than 4", which is around 1 inch.

RE: That is one tiny screen!
By augiem on 10/20/2010 1:56:27 AM , Rating: 2
Pre was/is a great phone. Its failure can be attributed almost 100% to horrendous marketing. If you hate the Pre keyboard, you might as well forget a touchscreen. Even though the keys are tiny on Pre, I make FAR fewer mistakes on it vs any touch-only phone or even most of the newer horizontal format sliders. The very tactile bubble shape of the keys makes it much easier to sense which key you're touching than a lot of the flatter keyboards, including the Epic. And it doesn't have the odd angled keys of most of the candy bar QWERTY's out there. I feel like the Pre keyboard is almost ideal for me. If it came in my ideal screen size of 3.7" (roomy enough without going overboard) I'd be very happy. Except one big caveat: HP says it won't license WebOS... Okay, sad to say it, but that's likely the death throe for this amazing underdog. The OS was (and is) the multitasking king when everyone else was afraid to touch it. Unfortunately the one with the better marketing always wins in the end regardless of the product. That story's been repeated so many times throughout history.

RE: That is one tiny screen!
By Chadder007 on 10/19/2010 4:10:23 PM , Rating: 2
The form factor was what kept me from getting on in the first place....and thats what stays the same? WTF!

RE: That is one tiny screen!
By johnsonx on 10/20/2010 4:34:07 AM , Rating: 2
can you not comprehend that the form factor is why other people did get one in the first place, and those people don't want it to change in any major way? other form factors are likely coming, so settle down.

RE: That is one tiny screen!
By YerMomma on 10/20/2010 3:45:00 PM , Rating: 2
Was it really a failure of the product? or was it a failure of marketing?

I know many people with the original Pre that swear by it, most of them a real estate agents that were simply attracted the Palm name since that has been synonymous with that industry for a long time. The OS was great, many review sites even say they loved the software, but hated the physical hardware.

But think about the hardware for a second... do MOST users need a 1ghz processor? absolutely not, its just a huge waste of battery life, do they need a 1 billion x 1 billion resolution screen? No, they want to make phone calls, look at maps and calendars and basic things like that, and a low resolution works just fine for those tasks. So while geeks despise the phone due to its "lackluster" hardware, the real end users who actually went out and bought it seem to like it.

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