HP announced that webOS 2 on Palm Pre 2 will be available Friday in France from SFR. The rumors about a Palm Pre 2 got a boost earlier this month when the SFR Blog had photos and a brief write up.

Former Palm CEO, Jon Rubinstein, is now Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Palm Global Business Unit at HP. He said "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."

Meet the HP Palm Pre 2 - Do you see any difference?
Meet the HP Palm Pre 2 – Do you see any difference [note to HP: if you rip off Apple's background, you could have at least used a 32-bit rendering, photo suffers from poor 16-bit banding, Ed.]?

The original Palm Pre had such promise at CES 2009, but it was only available from Sprint for far too long. Later, their Palm Pre Plus was not really much of an update. However, first on the list of new features for webOS 2 is Adobe Flash Player 10.1 Beta ? something that Steve Jobs says he won’t have on his iPad. Then there is VPN. The webOS 2.0 supports the most popular ways to connect to a corporate network, including IPsec and Cisco AnyConnect mobile-optimized VPN, which supports SSL [TLS and DTLS].
 
True Multitasking – Pause a game, tap an email notification, check your calendar, read a restaurant review, send an email reply, then switch back to the game without closing anything.
 
Just Type – Start an email, create a message, update your status, search your favorite websites ? all before you?ve even opened an app.
 
For Verizon Wireless customers, webOS 2.0 supports Skype-to-Skype calls and messaging while in the United States to anywhere in the world, and low-rate calls to international landlines and cell phones.
 
The feature list is expansive and located at HP Palm’s press release website. The press release says the Pre 2 is the first Palm phone with a 1GHz CPU. That is a bit misleading because PreCentral has links to a UberKernel hack that boosts your old Palm Pre CPU, the Texas Instruments OMAP3430 from puny 600MHz to 1GHz.
 
The Palm Pre 2 also comes with a 5-megapixel camera and a "sleeker, streamlined design" that maintains a slide-out keyboard. The hardware will have a 3.1-inch multi-touch "glass" screen with a 320×480-pixel HVGA display. It has 16GB of internal storage [same as Palm Pre Plus], built-in GPS, an accelerometer, and ambient light and proximity sensors.
 
Developers will be able to purchase unlocked UMTS versions of Pre 2 in the United States to use as a canvas to build the next generation of webOS applications and services. More information about the purchase program will be available at this link. As you might have imagined, it is hard to expect that GSM carriers such as AT&T and T-Mobile will carry Palm Pre 2, given the amount of noise in Android space. Still, we know that HP Palm sales reps are working overtime to re-assure the future of the platform.
 
The Palm crowd has been waiting for some sign that HP has not abandoned the smartphone race. The Pre 2 is a place holder. The rumors are building about a tablet powered by webOS 2. We shall see what HP brings to CES 2011 to dazzle us. HP and Palm have a lot to prove so we will hold back our opinions of their version 2 upgrades until we see them in action.