HP has released details of the firm’s anticipated relaunch of the Palm brand with the new Palm Pre 2 smartphone powered by a revamped webOS 2.0.
The firm called the webOS 2.0 smartphone operating system the most "significant update to webOS ever", saying that the new version "ratchets up a few notches" the set of features from previous versions. One of the major new features is a multitasking interface called Stacks which, the company said, automatically groups related ‘cards’ together in stacks in order to make it easier to switch between many applications.
"With webOS 2.0, we’re advancing the innovations we introduced 16 months ago, expanding the features that make webOS great for consumers, enterprises and developers," said HP’s Palm business unit boss Jon Rubinstein. "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."
Also coming in webOS 2.0 is a feature called Just Type which launches appropriate applications such as composing an email, writing a message or searching the web without needing to move to an appropriate application first. The system will be made available for developers to hook into in order to enhance the Just Typle functionality.
HP Synergy is the name given to a new software aggregation hub in webOS 2.0 which aims to combine a range of accounts such as Microsoft Exchange, Facebook and Google, presenting them through a common front end interface.
The Palm Pre 2 phone now includes a processor clocked at one gigahertz, similar to the current grop of high-end smartphones and rather more than the previous Pre offering. The new Pre 2 will also have a slide-out keyboard, 3.1-inch "vivid touchscreen" and 16GB of onboard memory.
The Palm Pre 2 will appear first on the French network SFR, as early as this Friday, while listed as the "coming months" for the US. The company will also be making available an unlocked version to run on any network although the carrier of choice for subsidized contracts in the US and Canada is Verizon.