HP launches latest webOS release

Caroline Gabriel/Rethink Wireless
21 Oct 2010

There has been more gossip than real announcements about webOS since Hewlett-Packard acquired Palm, but the Palm unit has been continuing to develop the new version of the platform, and HP unveiled it this week, along with an upgraded Palm Pre 2 smartphone.

The original Palm Pre never lived up to the high expectations created by its glitzy launch, and HP's strategic focus for webOS seems to lie in turning it into a new-style web services platform, spanning multiple devices and screens, and bringing together tablets, printers and the cloud.

However, for now it is clearly willing to generate what smartphone momentum it can, using the Palm brand rather than its own handset family - its short-lived flirtation with Android smartphones ended with the switch to webOS.

WebOS has always garnered good reviews for its modernity and browser/cloud credentials, but the question for HP is the same as for Microsoft and MeeGo, also promising new generation platforms - is there really space for another mobile OS? Like Nokia and Microsoft, HP hopes the focus on multiscreen, rather than pure mobility, and its effective channels in non-phone areas, will give it the edge.

In the meantime, we have the Palm Pre 2 which will ship initially in France this week, followed by the US and Canada in time for the holiday. The US launch is expected to be with Verizon Wireless, not Sprint Nextel, which was the exclusive launch partner for the original Palm (though Verizon subsequently got the updated Pre Plus).

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