Hewlett-Packard (HP), the electronics giant that now owns smartphone maker Palm has officially announced the successor to original Palm Pre and it’s coming within months.
Announced without much fanfare, HP revealed that the new handset would be packing a 3.1-inch multitouch screen, a 1GHz processor, 512MB RAM, a five-megapixel camera with LED flash, extended depth of field and geo tagging, and last but not the least, webOS 2.0, which is the next major iteration of the critically acclaimed operating system that powers the Palm Pre and Pixi smartphones.
In terms of design, the Pre 2 is nearly identical to the Pre Plus, except the curvier plastic screen has been replaced with a flatter and tougher a glass screen with a bezel surrounding. Gone too is the fiddly door that used to cover the microUSB port.
While the hardware upgrades are nice, the main focus here is webOS 2.0, which has been stuffed to the brim with a dizzying array of features, not least of which includes Flash Player support and enhanced multi-tasking.
The universal search has been expanded and rebranded to ‘Just Type’, which now allows the user to find content as well as initiate quick actions on the device by simply typing on the keyboard, for example, opening a particular email, instead of opening the email app first.
The launcher has been revamped and allows users to create new pages to organise applications. A proper auto correction system has been added which learns from your typing and can be updated manually, too.
Multitasking is now handled by ‘stacks’, which organises running apps in stacks of related cards. For example, Twitter and Facebook apps are grouped together in a ‘social’ stack, games are grouped together in a 'games' stack and so forth.
This is of course just the tip of the iceberg. There is whole host of other improvements here including improved HTML5 support in the browser, battery and speed optimisations, Skype support, the inclusion of QuickOffice package and better, more robust APIs for third-party applications.
The Pre 2 is launching first on France’s SFR, followed by Verizon in the US in the coming months. Details of a UK launch have not been announced but expect to hear more regarding that in the near future.