After waiting since last fall, Verizon Wireless finally announced Tuesday that the Pre 2 smartphone by HP will be available in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores and online starting Thursday, February 17 (tomorrow). The Pre 2 will also be available in France from SFR.

The Palm Pre 2 is the first device to run the HP webOS 2.0, allowing quick and easy multitasking of email, games, music and other tasks. This is the most significant update to the Palm platform since its launch in June 2009 with Sprint USA.

Yes, the Palm Pre 2 is simply an update. However, at the HP webOS press event last week their press people were promising there were significant quality improvements in this smartphone. One of the weakest areas for the old Palm Pre product line has been the keys ? they often work intermittently. The old three-megapixel camera has been a low-res performer.

The Palm Pre 2 will arrive sporting webOS 2.0 software along with a 3.1-inch 320-by-480 HVGA touchscreen display, hardware QWERTY keyboard, five-megapixel camera with LED flash on the back, 1GHz OMAP processor from Texas Instruments with 512MB RAM, 16GB internal storage, GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1 and a 3.5mm headphone jack. HP’s webOS 2 smartphone supports contact integration via HP Synergy, which automatically updates contacts and calendars through built-in integration for Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft Exchange and Yahoo.

With new webOS 2 capabilities, the Pre 2 can make free Skype to Skype calls over wireless or 3G cellular networks and make inexpensive calls to international phone numbers from anywhere. The Pre 2 will also have a customizable email inbox and will support full HTML browsing with a beta version of Flash 10.1 in the browser. Check out the full spec list at the bottom of this article.

HP also extended their free-to-developer’s Pre 2 hardware to all qualified developers. You can contact Palm Development at devmarketing@palm.com to see how you can receive the latest device to test your apps. The new Palm Pre 2 smartphone will retail for $149 with a two-year contract and has a $50 mail-in rebate. Pre 2 owners must also sign up for a Verizon data plan, with unlimited data plans starting at $29.99 per month. The Palm Pre 2 was previously available unlocked through HP for $449.99. The big question is, can Verizon Wireless convince people to buy a Palm Pre 2 now that they have seen the HP Pre 3


Palm Pre2 specs
  • Color: Black
  • Operating system: HP webOS platform
  • Network specs
    • Unlocked: Dual-band UMTS/HSDPA (850/1900 MHz), Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
    • Verizon Wireless: Dual-band CDMA2000 3G: EvDO Rev A
  • Display: 3.1-inch multitouch screen with a vibrant 24-bit color, 320×480 resolution HVGA display
  • Keyboard: Slide-out physical QWERTY keyboard
  • Email: Microsoft Exchange email with Microsoft Direct Push Technology, POP3/IMAP (Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, AOL, Hotmail, etc.)
  • Messaging: Integrated IM, SMS, MMS, and Skype (Verizon Wireless only and for International calls)
  • GPS: Built-in GPS
  • Digital camera: 5-megapixel camera with LED flash, extended depth of field, geotagging, and video capture
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, ambient light, and proximity
  • Media formats supported
    •  Audio formats: MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR, QCELP, WAV
    • Video formats: MPEG-4, H.263, H.264
  • Wireless connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11b/g with WPA, WPA2, WEP, 802.1X authentication; Bluetooth wireless technology 2.1+ EDR with A2DP stereo Bluetooth support; Wi-Fi router functionality for up to five devices using Palm mobile hotspot.
  • Memory: 16GB (~15GB user available), USB mass storage support
  • Battery life
    • Verizon Wireless (CDMA): Up to 5.5 hours talk time and 350 hours standby time
    • Unlocked (UMTS): Up to 5 hours talk time and 350 hours standby time
  • Connector: Charger/microUSB connector with USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
  • Headphone jack: 3.5mm stereo
  • HP Touchstone Charging Dock: Compatible, Palm Pre Touchstone Back Cover included
  • Dimensions
  • Width: 59.6mm (2.35 inches)
  • Height: 100.7mm (3.96 inches)
  • Thickness: 16.9mm (0.67 inches)
  • Weight: 145 grams (5.1 ounces)