It’s six months since HP purchased Palm, and while there has been a lot of talk about what sort of devices this would bring about, there has been nothing tangible that one could hold in their hands as of yet. All of that has changed today with two major announcements coming out about not only webOS 2.0, but also the Palm Pre 2 will be hitting store shelves in the not too distant future.
Palm Pre 2
First up is the Palm Pre 2 handset, which doesn’t make any sort of radical departure from the first version of the Pre. The overall look appears a bit more curved, but not anything that’s too radical. It still features a slide out bottom physical keyboard, so no change overs to a virtual keyboard are coming as of yet.
For those of you have been dying for an updated Pre, if you live in France you can get it on Oct. 22nd. For those of you in the United States … sometime … soon, really … “in the coming months” … on Verizon. That really is all the information for now on the release here in the States, hopefully there will be more soon.
Until we find out when it’s coming, here are some of the tech specs on the new version of the handset.
- Display: 3.1-inch multitouch screen with a vibrant 24-bit color, 320×480 resolution HVGA display
- Built-in GPS
- Keyboard:Slide-out physical QWERTY keyboard
- Email: Microsoft Exchange email with Microsoft Direct Push Technology POP3/IMAP (Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, AOL, Hotmail, etc.)
- Messaging: Integrated IM, SMS, and MMS
- Digital camera: 5-megapixel camera with LED flash, extended depth of field, geotagging, and video capture
- Sensors: Accelerometer, ambient light, and proximity
- Audio formats: MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR, QCELP, WAV
- Video formats: MPEG-4, H.263, H.264
- Wireless connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11b/g with WPA, WPA2, WEP, 802.1X authentication; Bluetooth wireless technology 2.1+ EDR with A2DP stereo Bluetooth support
- Wi-Fi router functionality for up to five devices using Palm mobile hotspot.
- Memory: 16GB (~15GB user available), USB mass storage support
- Battery life: Up to 5.5 hours talk time and 350 hours standby time
- Connector: Charger/microUSB connector with USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
- Headphone jack: 3.5mm stereo
The other big news of the day is that WebOS, which was widely considered the best thing about the Palm Pre and Pixi, is finally moving up to version 2.0.
- True Multitasking – Pause a game, tap an email notification, check your calendar, read a restaurant review, send an email reply, then switch back to the game without closing anything. webOS lets you easily manage multiple open applications and notifications using natural touch gestures. New in webOS 2.0, Stacks logically groups together your open apps so they work the way you do. Whether you’re reading email or planning a night on the town, Stacks keeps related items together so managing multiple tasks is even easier.
- Just Type – Start an email, create a message, update your status, search your favorite websites – all before you’ve even opened an app.With webOS 2.0, whenever you want to do something on your phone – whether it’s emailing, texting, searching or almost anything – just type. And Just Type is open to developers, so they can integrate with the search function and add their own user-customizable shortcuts, called Quick Actions.
- HP Synergy – webOS was the first mobile OS to connect you seamlessly to multiple web services. With the Synergy feature, you just have to sign in to your Facebook, Google, Microsoft Exchange, LinkedIn and Yahoo! accounts and your information automatically populates your phone. webOS 2.0 will extend the support for Synergy so developers can easily plug new Messaging, Contacts and Calendar application sources directly into the core webOS experiences.
- Exhibition – A new way to use your webOS phone, Exhibition lets you run apps designed specifically for the Palm Touchstone Charging Dock, turning charge time into useful time. Set your phone on the dock and Exhibition launches automatically, showing you anything from today’s agenda to a slideshow of your Facebook photos. Exhibition will enable developers to display aspects of their existing app experience or create specialized apps for use when users have their webOS device in charge mode on the charging dock.
- Adobe Flash Player 10.1 Beta – With version 2.0, webOS now supports a beta of Adobe Flash Player 10.1 in the browser, which provides access to rich, Flash-based web content.
And some other features people will love.
- Favorites – With webOS 2.0, you can tag your favorite contacts so they appear as favorites in Phone and Contacts views. When you search for them by name, they instantly show up at the top of the Contacts, Email, Messaging and Phone apps. Favorites make it simple to get in touch fast.
- Skype Mobile (Verizon Wireless only) – For Verizon Wireless customers, webOS 2.0 supports Skype-to-Skype calls and messaging while in the United States to anywhere in the world, and low-rate calls to international landlines and cell phones.
- Text Assist – webOS 2.0 offers greatly expanded capabilities to spell check, auto correct, set up macros and customize the dictionary.
- Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite – An all-new document viewer from the leading provider of mobile document viewers offers support for Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents and provides integration with a variety of services, including Google Docs and Dropbox.
- Facebook 2.0 – Available via the Palm App Catalog, Facebook 2.0 will support Facebook IM via Synergy in the Messaging application, as well as Stacks, status updates via Quick Action and the Exhibition feature.
- Browser – The browser adds support for more HTML5 features, including geolocation support. OpenSearch plug-in support makes it easy to add your favorite websites to Just Type web search.
- Messaging – The unified Messaging app in webOS 2.0 adds Yahoo! IM and buddy management. Customers can now connect to their buddies through SMS, MMS, Google Talk, AIM and Yahoo! IM.
- VPN – webOS 2.0 supports the most popular ways to connect to a corporate network, including IPsec and Cisco AnyConnect mobile-optimized VPN, which supports SSL (TLS and DTLS).
- App Catalog – The redesigned Palm App Catalog makes finding and discovering great apps even easier. And the new Software Manager helps you keep your apps up-to-date.
- Launcher – A redesigned app launcher lets you add, label and reorder launcher pages.
- Phone – The webOS 2.0 Phone app lets you easily dial your favorites and offers reverse area code lookup and Skype Mobile integration (Skype Mobile for Verizon Wireless only). Accounts – The new Accounts app provides a single place to manage all your Synergy accounts.
- Bluetooth keyboards – webOS now supports Bluetooth keyboards and Bluetooth SPP peripherals, enabling applications such as barcode readers and realty lock boxes.
Overall it sounds like version 2 of the software is going to make this operating system even more beloved, and if anything it excites me for what should be coming to tablets early next year.
What say you? Are you ready for some new Palm goodness in your life?