HP unveils three new webOS devices

Tablet, smartphone and a really teeny tiny smartphone

YESTERDAY HP UNVIELED its first line-up of webOS devices after its purchase of Palm and it’s a pretty impressive range of products which consists of the TouchPad, the Pre3 and the Veer. The three devices might be based on the same OS and have some common features, but it’s clear that they all target quite different users and usage scenarios.

HP’s much anticipated TouchPad appear in many ways to be take on Apple’s iPad, as not only does if feature a 9.7-inch capacitive multitouch screen with 18-bit colour support just like the iPad, but it also has the same 1024×768 4:3 resolution. At 240x190x13.7mm (9.45×7.48×0.54in) it’s almost exactly the same size as Apple’s iPad which measures 242.8×189.7×13.4mm (9.56×7.47×0.5in) and it weighs near enough the same at 740g vs 730g for the iPad.

However, this is where the similarities end, as HP has equipped the TouchPad with vastly superior hardware compared to the iPad, but we would’ve been surprised if it wasn’t the case as the iPad is nearly a year old by now. HP has fitted a dual core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8060 SoC, 1GB of RAM and 16 or 32GB of built in storage. It also sports 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, a front facing 1.3Megapixel camera for video calls – although oddly enough no rear camera – A-GPS (only on 3G models), a digital compass, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a micro USB port for charging, a 3.5mm headset jack and of course support for HP’s Touchstone technology. HP will offer models with Wi-Fi only, 3G and 4G connectivity with a launch sometime this summer at a yet unannounced price point.

The Pre3 is a vastly improved version of Palm’s Pre and Pre2, as not only does is pack a larger 3.58-inch multitouch screen with 800×480 resolution, but also a faster 1.4GHz CPU this time from Qualcomm rather than Texas Instruments. HP will also offer either 8 or 16GB of built in storage memory, but there will only be a single cellular radio version this time around as HP has gone for a combined HSPA+ and CDMA solution from Qualcomm which means that the Pre3 is a true world phone. The camera has also been given a slight boost and can now shoot 720p video and there’s a secondary front mounted VGA camera for video calls. Finally HP has upgraded the Wi-Fi to dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n from the previous models b/g only support. HP has of course carried over features such as 512MB of RAM, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, A-GPS, the 3.5mm headphone jack, micro USB 2.0 port and support for Touchstone technology.

Finally we have the Veer which is the compact sibling of the Pre and set to replace the Pixi range of handsets. At 54.5x84x15.1mm (2.15×3.31×0.59in) this is a seriously tiny smartphone, but this doesn’t mean it’s light on features. HP has kitted out the Veer with an 800MHz Qualcomm MSM7230 SoC, 512MB of RAM, 8GB of storage space and a 400×320 resolution 2.6-inch multitouch screen. It also sports HSPA 3G connectivity, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, a 5 Megapixel camera, an accelerometer and of course support for Touch stone technology. As with the Pre phones, the Veer has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and this is part of the reason why it’s so small alongside with the fact that it doesn’t have any physical ports, instead it uses a magnetic connector onto which the micro USB and 3.5mm audio jack attaches. The Veer is the first of the three new devices to launch sometime this spring.

The TouchPad is set to ship with webOS 3.0 while the Pre3 and Veer will ship with webOS 2.2. One interesting feature that HP offers is browser sync to or from one of the phones and the tablet using its Touchstone technology. Simply place the phone on top of the tablet (the two need to be synced already for this to work) with the browser open and the webpage will sync between the two devices. It’s a pretty neat trick, although the Touchstone technology only initializes the transfer as the data is actually synced over Bluetooth. Still, it’s a unique feature that only HP offers so far, but we can see similar technology being implemented in competing platforms in the future.S|A

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