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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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.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan
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