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Palm Pre 2
The Palm Pre 2 is an update to last year's original Palm Pre, and it is the first major announcement from Palm's new owners HP, featuring the brand new webOS 2.0 operating system.
The original Pre was hailed by many people as an "iPhone killer".. but of course, it wasn't. Although the handset and operating system were pretty good, sales were very weak and Palm was eventually acquired by HP earlier this year. Many people speculated that the real prize was Palm's webOS platform and that HP might ditch the smartphone line altogether.
However, the Pre is back.. for now at least. Cosmetically very similar to the original, the biggest changes are a faster processor, better camera and the refreshed operating system.
The Pre was an impressive piece of kit when it was announced, but a lot has happened since then. The iPhone 4, HTC Desire, Motorola Milestone and Nokia N8 have all moved expectations onwards, and compared to these the Pre 2's 3.1" 320 x 480 pixel display and 5 megapixel camera seem a bit mundane.
What does set the Pre 2 apart most of all is the webOS operating system. Featuring full multitasking and a highly polished and usable interface, webOS 2.0 also comes with improved support for social networking, messaging and there's also a beta version of Adobe Flash 10.1 for rich web-based multimedia. The new 1GHz processor promises to make a very responsive operating system even better.
The first carrier to get the Pre 2 is (somewhat surprisingly) the SFR network in France. Verizon will follow later in the US, and the Pre 2 will also be launched in Canada. We suspect that other carriers might want to see how the Pre 2 sells before committing themselves.
There will be at least two versions available - a CDMA-based handset for Verizon and one or two GSM-based devices for everyone else. The Pre 2 will doubtless feature 3.5G support in the GSM version, and it also packs 802.11b and g WiFi. One unusual feature is that you can use the Pre 2 as a WiFi router for up to 5 devices.. another unusual feature is the Touchstone wireless charging dock.
The Palm Pre 2 also has GPS, the 5 megapixel camera has flash and video capture capabilities, there's Bluetooth 2.1, 16GB of non-expandable Flash memory and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The whole thing weighs 145 grams and measures 101 x 60 x 17mm. Talktime on 3G is quoted as being up to 5 hours with a maximum of 14 days standby time.
Although no European carriers except SFR have announced that they are carrying the Pre 2, we expect it to be available as a SIM-free device through specialist retailers. SFR should have the Pre 2 this month.
We don't know how much the Palm Pre 2 will sell for.. existing Pre Plus units have been very heavily discounted to about €300 in order to try to shift them, the original Pre comes in even cheaper at about €250. We suspect that HP will try to pitch these at the €400 plus mark, but expect to see heavy discounts if sales are sluggish.
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