Fans of the Palm Pre 2 can now purchase an unlocked version of the smartphone through Palm.com and Hewlett-Packard's SMB channels for $449, HP's Palm business announced on its blog Nov. 18.
The Pre 2 is first smartphone to run WebOS 2.0, the newest incarnation of the mobile operating system largely responsible for enticing HP to purchase Palm this summer. The Pre 2 debuted in France on SFR Oct. 19, before finally heading in the United States and Canada.
"With WebOS 2.0, we're advancing the innovations we introduced 16 months ago, expanding the features that make WebOS great for consumers, enterprises and developers," Jon Rubinstein, senior vice president and general manager of HP's Palm Global Business Unit, said in an earlier statement.
"We've made tremendous strides since the platform launched, and now we're taking our biggest leap forward with powerful new features that make it easier to get more things done with your WebOS device."
Features new to WebOS 2.0 include Stacks, a way of grouping together related items to simplify multitasking; Just Type, which lets users start typing before an app has even launched; Exhibition, which lets users run certain apps while the device is charging; and support for the Adobe Flash Player 10.1.
Developers wanting to build apps for WebOS can also purchase an unlocked UMTS Pre 2 though HP Palm's developer purchase program, which offers developers a $200 discount.
In addition to the updated software, the Pre 2 is the first Palm smartphone with a 1GHz processor, and there's also a 5-megapixel camera, a glass display and a slightly new look that Palm describes as a "sleek, streamlined design."
At the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco Nov. 16, Rubinstein said that HP and Palm plan to bring Web 2.0 to more smartphones, tablets, printers and other devices. "We've got some other ideas in the pipeline we're not ready to talk about yet," he said during a keynote interview.
He also discussed his time with Apple, before he went to Palm. "It was a disaster," he said. "It had lost its way ... It was really terrible." That is, until Jobs and Rubinstein stumbled on the need for a better music player and came up with the iPod.
Just as Apple "lost its way" in those early years, so, too, did Palm. The creators of the Palm Pilot, "by birthright, Palm should have been very successful," said Rubinstein.
Just as Rubinstein was on board when Apple turned things around, with HP he's hoping to see WebOS meet a successful conclusion. In a July statement following HP's purchase of Palm, Rubinstein said that "with HP's full backing and global strengths, I'm confident that WebOS will be able to reach its full potential. This agreement will accelerate the development of this incredible platform with new resources, scale and support from a world-respected brand."
Verizon Wireless will eventually also offer the Pre 2, though the carrier has yet to offer pricing details or availability.