HP unveiled three new devices at Mobile World Congress powered by an upgraded version of the Palm webOS.
Despite the lack of recognition for the HP name in mobile, the company is confident it will gain traction in the market amid fierce competition from much more established brands.
HP has abandoned the Palm name (although it may be resurrected in the future for a line of products) and is marketing the devices under the HP brand. It demonstrated the TouchPad tablet, the Pre 3 smartphone and the tiny Veer smartphone at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
The Veer is due out in late Spring and the Pre 3 and TouchPad in the summer. The products will initially be released in countries which the brand ‘is already in’, which includes the UK, according to Stephane Maes, VP of product marketing.
Speaking to Mobile, Maes said: ‘We are very confident we can get WebOS products known. These are the first with HP branding. HP has very strong distribution channels worldwide, so we will leverage that.’
Asked whether high-end handsets would restrict the potential for WebOS products to gain enough critical mass to sustain the business without pushing down the price range to mid and low-end handsets, Maes said: ‘ Yes, these are premium products, but now the have the might of HP, one of the biggest companies in the world, behind them. You will see a nice range of handsets to follow that will play in all the price ranges over time.’
He added that there would be a ‘tremendous amount of marketing spend,’ especially around the TouchPad. HP will take advantage of its wide portfolio of printers. The devices will be able to print to any HP printer currently available.
It has upgraded the last version of Palm’s webOS. It pulls together different email accounts, calendars and the like and presents them in one view.
The Just Type feature allows the user to type in a number over whatever function is open and then save it into contacts. A card system allows multitasking: if an email has an attachment it can be opened on another card sitting above the email.
The HP Veer is small but packs a punch with its Qualcomm second generation Snapdragon processor. Like the Pre 3 and the Touchpad, it includes wireless charging. The Pre 3 is aimed at business professionals who want to combine the virtues of an iPhone and a BlackBerry.
The TouchPad tablet is designed to capitalise on the power of multitasking. It is powered by a dual CPU 1.2Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon configeration, doubling the RAM of the Palm Pre 2. It has a long battery life with a 9.7-inch display and is only 13.7mm thick.
If any of the devices are tapped they can transfer a URL from one to the other. This feature will be extended to apps, photos and so on.
Maes said: ‘The story for us is that we have a family of products, which is a great story for developers as it goes further than these devices into printers and PCs – there’s a whole ecosystem to attract them.’