HP Unveils Veer, Pre 3, TouchPad webOS Tablet

It was HP/Palm’s – or, as I sould say, HP’s – big day today. After a period of silence, the company unveiled three new webOS products – two phones, and a tablet. The Veer, a small but capable ‘mini-Pre’, the Pre 3, an updated version of the Pre with a 1.4Ghz processor, and finally, finally, finally, the webOS tablet: the HP TouchPad.

Veer and Pre 3

The Veer is clearly a device for buyers with smaller bank accounts, or for people who simply don’t want to lug around a huge smartphone. It looks exactly like a tiny Palm Pre (about the size of a credit card!), sports a 2.6″ 320×400 display, is the first to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7230 processor at 800MHz, and sports 512MB RAM. Like the Pre, it has a slide-out portrait keyboard, but at this size, I’m genuinely wondering how usable it is. It’ll be available in early spring.

The Pre 3 is the new true smartphone from HP, and again, it looks exactly like the Pres that came before it. It has a Qualcomm processor running at 1.4Ghz, 512MB RAM, a 3.6″ 480×800 display, two cameras, and the usual sensors and such. It’ll be a long wait though – available this summer. Whoops.

The webOS tablet is finally here!

On to the big one: the HP TouchPad, the long awaited and much-debated webOS tablet. It’s a 9.7″ device, with a 1024×768 resolution. The processor is a doozy – we’re looking at a dual-core 1.2Ghz Snapdragon, which is hefty by any account. It’s got 1GB of RAM, the usual sensors, two cameras, and, of course, Touch Stone compatible.

The interesting stuff here is that all these webOS devices can talk to each other – you can read text messages from your Pre on your TouchPad, and all other data, like calendars and email, will be pulled from the cloud (my first time saying cloud instead of internet. I’m sorry guys – I had to cave. I’m becoming ambiguous. My heartfelt apologies). Even notifications that arrive on your Pre 3 can be piped to your TouchPad.

It gets even cooler. Viewing a website on your TouchPad, but you have to leave and want to continue reading on the road? simply tap your Pre 3 against the TouchPad, et voilà, the site gets transferred to your Pre 3. Awesome! It’s called Touch-to-share.

The TouchPad does Flash, and in the demo, full-screen Flash video playback was reportedly very smooth. HP made several jabs about multitasking, which are well-deserved – webOS was designed from the ground up to do multitasking, as opposed to the afterthought that it is on iOS (a recently used applications list is not multitasking, Steve).

Notifications appear like Growl and are then collected in a drop down menu in the status bar. The on-screen keyboard can be resized to fit different hand sizes – thank you! My hands are incredibly small (think 13 year old girl, and I’m not kidding), so this is a nice touch.

Content-wise, HP struck a deal with Time, which will deliver Time, Fortune, People, and Sports Illustrated to the TouchPad. DreamWorks will be another content partner at launch.

The device will be launched this summer (again – that’s late). As I’m writing this, the press event is still going on, but it seems like the devices section is pretty much over. If anything interesting comes up – I’ll get back to you.


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