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HP thinks small with WebOS-based Pre 3 and Veer phones

Feb 9, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

HP announced two WebOS-based heirs to its Palm Pre phones, both with slide-out keyboards, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, and five-megapixel cameras. The 3.6-inch, HP Pre 3 runs on a 1.4GHz processor and adds a front-facing webcam, and the 2.6-inch HP Veer offers an 800MHz processor, says the company.

Announced today along with HP's first WebOS tablet PC, the 9.7-inch, dual-core Snapdragon-based HP TouchPad, HP's new phones are fairly substantial upgrades to previous Palm WebOS models. The new HP Pre 3 (now stripped of its "Palm" insignia) is the heir to the Palm Pre 2, while the HP Veer  upgrades the low-end Palm Pixi Plus.

HP Pre 3

HP appears to be staking out a definitive competitive niche with the phones: offering relatively powerful phones in small packages. While the Pre 3 bumps the display up to 3.6 inches from the Pre's 3.1-inch size, that's now considered fairly small for a smartphone. Yet, the company touts the pocketability of the two phones, and the smaller screens should also help with battery life, although no talk times were listed for either phone.

Stated Jon Rubinstein, senior vice president and general manager, Palm Global Business Unit, HP, "While much of the industry is trending toward larger and larger devices, we believe there's also a whole lot of room for thinking small."

HP Pre 3

The 3.6-inch (technically 3.58-inch) HP Pre 3 offers a 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8x55 processor, up from 1GHz on the Pre 2. This would appear to make it one of the fastest phones on the market in its mid-range size category. This latest single-core version of the Snapdragon boosts performance up to 1.4GHz, compared to the Snapdragon's earlier 1GHz and 1.2GHz speeds.

Pre 3, closed (left), and showing slider extended

The move to Qualcomm processors on the Pre 3 and Veer phones (as well as the TouchPad) represents a break from earlier Pre models, which used Texas Instruments OMAP3430 processors.

The Pre 3 offers 512MB RAM, and either 8GB or 16GB of internal flash memory. As with the original Pre, however, there is no SD slot for further flash memory expansion. HP does provide a USB port, said to support mass storage mode for media transfer.

The phone features 800 x 480 resolution on its 3.6-inch multitouch display, and provides a downward slider QWERTY keyboard, similar to that of earlier Pre models, but "redesigned," says HP. As with previous Pre phones, the Pre 3 offers a gesture area beneath the display, which allows user to swipe right to left to go back to a previous page, website, or mode, and a reverse swipe to go forward.

More views of the Pre 3
(Click to enlarge)

Designed for 3G networks, the phone offers 802.11b/g/n, GPS and aGPS, Bluetooth 3.2, and an optional Wi-Fi mobile hotspot, says HP. In addition to the rear-facing five-megapixel autofocus camera with flash, capable of 720p video recording, the device offers a front-facing VGA fixed-focus webcam, says the company. Additional features include 3.5mm stereo headset jack, proximity sensor, light sensor, accelerometer, and compass.

The 4.37 x 2.52 x 0.63-inch device weighs 5.5 ounces and runs on a 1230mAh battery, says HP. As before, the Pre 3 is compatible with the HP Touchstone inductive charging device.

In addition, it supports a Touchstone-related technology in HP's new TouchPad tablet that lets users tap the phone against the tablet's screen to exchange URLs and text messages between the devices. In fact, with the 3G model of the Touchpad, one can even start a phone call on the Pre 3 and continue it on the tablet, says HP.

The Pre 3 ships with WebOS, and offers a full slate of browser, email, and other related apps.

HP Veer

The HP Veer's 400 x 320 touchscreen measures only 2.6 inches (2.57 actually), which makes it even smaller than the puny 2.8-inch Palm Pixi Plus. The 3.3 x 2.1 x 0.6-inch, 3.6-ounce phone nevertheless is able to fit in a tiny vertical slider keyboard like the Pre 3. The HP Veer features a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM7230 clocked to 800MHz, which is faster than the Qualcomm MSM7627 used on the Pixi.

HP Veer, showing QWERTY mode on right

Available with 8GB of internal flash, with no upgrades and no SD slot, the phone does, however offer a USB port with mass storage support. Like the Pre 3, the Veer offers 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.1, and GPS, as well as an optional Wi-Fi mobile hotspot, says HP. The Veer is said to support tri-band UMTS and quad-band GSM/EDGE cellular services.

Veer — the smallest WebOS phone yet

The Veer supplies a rear-facing five-megapixel autofocus camera, but lacks the Pre 3's front-facing webcam, says the company. Additional features include 3.5mm stereo headset jack, proximity sensor, light sensor, and accelerometer. Apparently, a wee 910mAh battery is all it takes to keep the Veer veering.

The software stack includes WebOS, music and video players, email and web browsing, and more. For more details see the link below.


The HP Pre 3 will be available in the summer, and the HP Veer will be available in the spring, says the HP, which did not list pricing or carrier support. More information on the Pre 3 may be found at HP's Pre 3 page and more on the Veer may be found on the HP Veer page.

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