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HP unveils Palm Pre 2 and Web OS 2.0

Hewlett-Packard Co. unveiled the Palm Pre 2 and an upgraded version of Palm's WebOS smart phone operating system Tuesday.

The Palm Pre 2 and the updated operating system, officially dubbed HP WebOS 2.0, are the first new product releases since HP bought Palm in April for $1.2 billionWhy-go_2

The new handset will come equipped with WebOS 2.0. It will hit stores in France on Friday through mobile carrier SFR, but North America will have to wait a bit longer.

The Palm Pre 2 will make its way to the U.S. and Canada in "coming months," HP said in a statement. Users of the first Palm Pre, the Palm Pre Plus, the Pixi and the Pixi Plus will also have to wait a few months before they receive a free upgrade to WebOS 2.0.

The new Palm handset will be exclusive to Verizon customers in the U.S. A Canadian carrier has yet to be announced.

The Pre 2 doesn't depart much from the formula of the original Pre, which hit U.S. retailers about 16 months ago. It will run on 3G networks, and there are no major new features such as a front-facing camera. The screen still measures 3.1 inches diagonally.

The new handset features a 5-megapixel camera that can shoot both photos and video. It will also come with 16 GB of memory -- the same amount as the Pre Plus and 8 GB more than the original Pre. The Pre 2's processor speed will jump to 1 GHz from the Pre and Pre Plus' 600 MHz. 

A black band and rounded edges around the phone's touch screen look similar to those of its predecessors, and a vertical slide-out keyboard underneath the screen returns too. Webos_touchstone

WebOS 2.0 isn't much of a departure from the first iteration of WebOS either. The new software will improve management of multitasking between applications, grouping together related tasks, HP said.

WebOS collected contacts from Microsoft Exchange, Facebook, LinkedIn and other services in one place, and WebOS 2.0 will do the same with calendars and instant-messaging services as well. 

And WebOS 2.0 will be able to support Flash 10.1 to render websites and video running on the Adobe software application.

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Photos: Palm Pre 2. Credit: Hewlett-Packard Co.

 
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