Desktops and Notebooks: HP TouchPad, Palm Pre3, Veer Are Impressive, Could Challenge Apple
HP TouchPad, Palm Pre3, Veer Are Impressive, Could Challenge Apple
by Chris Preimesberger
HP Palms Future May Be in this Picture
HP Palm on Feb. 9 introduced three connected mobile devices it believes will lead its consumer and enterprise PC businesses into the 21st century. From left: the 9.7-inch TouchPad, the 3.6-inch screen Pre3 phone and the 2.6-inch Veer phonewhich is about the same size as a credit card.
Pre on a Comeback
HP Palm's Pre3, the first new version in more than two years, picks up where the previous Palm Pre versions left off. It has a lot more features, including the improved webOS, slide-down keyboard and more powerful Qualcomm SnapDragon processors.
The new Veer features a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard, a 5MP camera, built-in GPS, 3.5mm audio and USB port.
But Wait ... Theres More Veer
The little phone also can contain 8GB of storage, has Bluetooth 2.1 and runs on a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon chip; it's also very thin and light.
One More Veer, and Were Done ...
Palm Senior Vice President and General Manager Jon Rubenstein shows proof that the Veer will take its place among the world's smallest smartphones when it hits store shelves in a few months.
Okay, Now to the Touchpad
With the new TouchPad, HP Palm is serious about pushing its way into the crowded tablet market, which now has some 83 choices for customers. The unit is the same size as an Apple iPad but has more capabilities. Of course, the iPad 2 is coming out soon.
But Will It Be as Cool as iPad?
HP's new CEO, Leo Apotheker, has made it his personal mission to remake the venerable IT products company into one that is recognized for "cool" products, like Apple is. The TouchPad gets very close to the performance of an iPad, but the touch-screen performance is still not quite as elegant.
TouchPad Packed with Biz Apps
HP executives told the launch-event audience that workers want to use their personal PC and phone devices for work whenever they can, because they simply like using them. The TouchPad was designed with this user in mind.
Will These Replace Notebooks?
The TouchPad can do everything a laptop can do, and in many cases, it can do more. HP has partnered with Amazon to use its book-reading software on the new device, and the Dr. Dre-designed Beats Audio system provides high-quality music play.
The TouchPad offers an optional stand, which is adjustable to a number of angles, and a standard keyboard for business station use. Let's face it: You simply cannot type as fast or as accurately on a touch-screen keyboard, and HP knows it.
Touchstone Chargers Give Devices Double Lives
These charging stands for the phones and the TouchPad enable them to serve as clocks/appointment-calendar devices when they are not being used.
Serving Up the App Cards
HP Palm's webOS has to differentiate itself from Microsoft Windows, and it does this in part by calling its application windows "application cards." These "cards" can run simultaneously and float across the screen, controlled by touch. When you're finished with an application, you just flick it away. "Our customers say that's their favorite thing about the TouchPad," one HP exec said.
Syncing Up Phone and TouchPad
As long as both devices use the Palm webOSand the Veer, Pre3 and TouchPads all dothey can be synced up to the same application, simply by touching them together. It takes a few seconds, but it's a function many people will enjoy using.
Heres a TouchPad Use Case
The user is viewing a photo of his pet dog and answering a friend's question via one of the social networkson a larger version of the touch keyboard (yes, it can be adjusted)at the same time. When an e-mail notification comes in, the TouchPad merely blinks a light at the upper right of the screen instead of interrupting the user.
HP Adds a Bit More News
The company also announced that it is preparing the webOS to be used in its desktop and notebook PCs in the not-too-distant future. This can't make Microsoft feel too happy, although Windows isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
Time and HP Huddle in New Deal
HP and Time Inc. made a deal, announced by Time's Chief Digital Officer Randy Rothenberg, that the publisher's titles will be available with a subscription option at launch. These will include Time, Sports Illustrated and People, to be followed by Fortune and others.
Small Device, Big Interest
Reporters and analysts swarm around one of the few TouchPads that they actually could touch during the launch event in San Francisco. The devices will become available in the U.S. next summer and in Europe in the fall. Pricing is still being formulated.