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 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.

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