Hewlett-Packard and Palm unveiled on Weednesday the Pre3, the first webOS smartphone aimed squarely at corporate folks seeking a "new look for business for the 24-hour life." Jon Rubinstein, the head of HP's Palm unit, and HP's boss Todd Bradley announced three new webOS devices at today's news conference.
The first is the Vree, a compact smartphone the size of a credit card and no thicker than a deck of cards, the other is the long-rumored webOS slate dubbed the TouchPad and the third is Pre3, the third iteration of the Palm Pre which has put Palm's web-focused mobile operating system on the map.
Although the Pre3 won't go on sale before the summer (HP will announce exact pricing and availability "at a later date"), the device is being billed as the phone for "pros who require powerful mobile productivity with an eye on personal connectivity."
Indeed, the black-clad device weighing in at 156 grams is actually a webOS 2.2-powered high-end smartphone with a slide-out keyboard described as the widest and largest keyboard on any webOS phone to date. The gizmo has a 3.58-inch vivid touchscreen with 480x800 display resolution, which is four times the number of pixels on the compact Vree, a 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8x55 processor with half a gigabyte of memory, and 8GB/16GB of storage.
A high-capacity battery lasts all day long, HP said, while the phone's speedy processor ensures true multitasking where you smoothly jump between the running tasks and check all notifications in one place using simple gestures. The Pre3 has a VGA-quality front camera for video calling and a five-megapixel autofocus camera on the back with flash and 720p video recording.
It supports 3G cellular data and WiFi 802.11 b/g/n connectivity and has Bluetooth, GPS and an array of sensors like accelerometer, proximity, magnetic compass and light sensor, in addition to an additional noise cancellation microphone.
The Pre3 runs a HTML5-compliant browser with Adobe Flash Player 10.1 beta. Corporate features include business-class email, VPN connection to corporate networks, encrypted data storage. Additionally, the handset comes preloaded with Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite, a third-party application with Microsoft Office Word and Excel compatibility and support for Google Docs and Box.net cloud storage integration.
Like other webOS devices, the Pre3 lets you download third-party programs over-the-air, via their official app store called webOS App Catalog. The Pre3 also plays nice with the newly announced TouchPad tablet - the new touch-to-share feature lets you tap the phone to the tablet to share web addresses between devices.
The HP Synergy feature brings all contact information in one place, including email, contacts and calendars from Facebook, Google, Microsoft Exchange LinkedIn and Yahoo!. It also brings all your text, picture and instant messages (Google Talk, AIM and Yahoo! Messenger) exchanged with a contact into a single view.
Finally, the device supports HP Mobile Hotspot functionality where your Pre3 doubles as a mobile wireless router for up to five WiFi devices. The updated HP Touchstone wireless charger was also announced that works with supported apps, allowing your phone to automatically run the new Exhibition applications when you set it on the charger, allowing you to check your calendar while the phone is charging, watch a slideshow, use it as an alarm clock, etc.
HP Pre3 in bullets
- HP webOS
- Dimensions: 111 mm x 64 mm x 16 mm (4.37 inches x 2.52 inches x .63 inches)
- Weight: 156 grams (5.5 ounces)
- High-speed connectivity
- Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8x55 1.4GHz processor
- 3.58-inch multitouch screen with a vibrant, 24-bit color, 480 by 800 resolution display
- Gesture area, which enables simple, intuitive gestures for navigation
- Redesigned vertical slide-out QWERTY keyboard with backlight
- 8 or 16 gigabytes (GB) of internal storage
- High-performance browser with full access to the web, including support for Adobe Flash Player 10.1 beta for access to rich, Flash-based web content
- Wireless connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n with WPA, WPA2, WEP, 802.1X authentication
- Integrated GPS (and A-GPS)
- Bluetooth wireless technology 2.1 + EDR with A2DP stereo Bluetooth support
- Wi-Fi router functionality for up to five devices using HP mobile hotspot
- Multimedia options, including music, photos, video recording and playback, a 5-megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash and a 3.5 mm stereo headset jack
- Rear-facing autofocus camera with flash, HD camcorder (capable up to 720p video recording)
- Front-facing VGA fixed-focus camera for live video calling
- Email, including EAS (for access to corporate Microsoft Exchange servers) and personal email support (Google Gmail push, Yahoo!, POP3, IMAP)
- Robust messaging support (combining IM, SMS and MMS capabilities)
- Proximity sensor, light sensor, accelerometer and compass
- Removable, rechargeable 1,230 mAh battery
- USB mass storage mode to transfer media and other files quickly between desktop and device
- Ringer switch, which easily silences the ringer with one touch
- Compatible with HP Touchstone (sold separately)