New WebOS products announced, no more “Palm” brand

Today, HP held a big press conference to announce several new products using WebOS (Palm’s smartphone operating system):

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2011/02/hp-announces-touchpad-tablet-and-two-new-phones.ars

Two new smartphones were announced, the Veer and the Pre 3. The Veer, like the short-lived Microsoft Kin, is a smallish-sized slider phone, replacing the Pixi. Meanwhile, the Pre 3 replaces the previous Pre models, but from the specs given, it just seems like a stepped-up-specs-wise version of the Pre 2. From the descriptions alone, I don’t think either phone will sway me from going to Android for my next smartphone.

The biggest announcement, however, is the TouchPad, a 10-inch tablet that’s similar to Apple’s own iPad, but runs WebOS. While it looks impressive, the main issues in my opinion will be: getting developers on board to write apps for WebOS (given how few apps WebOS has versus Android or iOS); being well-made; being able to stand out from the crowd; and the TouchPad’s price. By the time the TouchPad comes out this summer, it’ll be in the midst of the iPad 2 and a pile of Android tablets presumably running Honeycomb (Android 3.0, the first version dedicated to running on tablets). As for the price, it’ll have to be the same as or less than the entry-level wifi iPad (US$499), unless they want to go the same route as the Motorola Xoom ($800?!).

I wish HP luck with the TouchPad, as I still like WebOS despite the market share (and previous hardware) flaws. And yes, “HP,” not “Palm”; apparently as of this announcement, the Palm brand is officially dead. To think they were a major name in the 90s (with the PDA and all), and now merely absorbed into being a part of HP…

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