Palm Pre 2 HP's First webOS Smartphone?

French carrier SFR advertised a Palm Pre 2 on its Website, raising speculation that the Pre 2 is the webOS-running device HP has slated for early 2011.

Hewlett-Packard's first WebOS-running smartphone looks to be a Palm Pre 2.

SFR, the second-largest mobile carrier in France, touted the device on its Website Oct. 12, before apparently noting its faux pas and pulling the page-though not before grabbed a screenshot.

The Palm Pre 2, looking quite a bit like the original Pre, is said to feature a 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, a flatter screen-PreCentral guesses that means glass-a more intuitive user interface, a faster boot time, an "overlayed" view of related applications, and a redesign of the Palm App Catalog. It will also run webOS 2.0, which will features "push integration."

The QWERTY keypad design also appears less recessed, and a PreCentral reader with sharp eyes points out that the Palm Pre's USB door has been replaced with an exposed microUSB port. SFR offered no details on pricing or a release date.

Since HP's announced $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm in April, the PC manufacturer has made no secret of its plans to introduce numerous mobile form factors running a version of the Palm-created operating system, webOS. Both a tablet PC and smartphones are reported to be are among the planned devices. Eric Cador, senior vice president in HP's PSG (Personal Systems Group), recently offered a hint at the expected timeframe for the latter, saying HP will begin introducing smartphones in early 2011, Reuters reported Oct. 6.

During Palm's Aug. 19 earnings call, Todd Bradley, executive vice president of PSG, also said a webOS-based device would be coming at the turn of the calendar-though at the time, many expected he was referring to HP's tablet PC, a version of which is also expected to run Microsoft's Windows 7.

"You'll see us with a Microsoft product out in the near future and a webOS-based product in early 2011," Bradley said during the call.

On Oct. 11, Microsoft released its Windows Phone 7 platform on several smartphones from Taiwan-based phone-maker HTC, as well as Dell, LG Electronics and Samsung. Microsoft imposed several hardware requirements on its manufacturing partners, including a "pane of glass" form factor.

Palm fans literate in French may want to give the SFR screenshot another read. PreCentral, working to glean any additional details, reports that in the unedited image name, SFR also gives away the Pre 2's internal codename: Roadrunner. Which is hopefully the most telling detail of all.