HP Reveals New webOS Device Lineup, Shamelessly Takes iOS Cues

Jon Rubinstein, former Palm CEO and current HP Senior Vice President, took the stage at a HP/webOS event on Wednesday to reveal a new lineup of webOS 3 devices, which includes two new phones and the highly-anticipated webOS tablet. Rubinstein begins his presentation fiercely by highlighting how Laptop Magazine named webOS the best mobile OS just yesterday in their OS Bowl 2011. The new devices more than start blurring the lines between webOS and iOS, and HP is able to compete with the big modern mobile operating systems better than ever now. iOS just got one more competitor that has a serious shot at being a hot seller.

The well-received Palm Pre is being refreshed and rebranded. The HP Pre3 has a bigger 3.58″ touchscreen with a respectable 800×480 resolution, is a serious performer with a 1.4GHz Snapdragon processor, sports a full GB of RAM, comes in two models with either 8GB or 16GB of storage (low amounts for the app-obsessed and those who like to carry a lot of media with them), and is a HSPA+ and EVDO Rev A. World Phone. The Pre3 is also ready for video chatting with a camera over the display. Key differences control-wise between the Palm Pre and the iPhone are that the Palm Pre has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and a gesture area around its home button.

A new webOS smartphone that is significantly smaller was also announced, titled the HP Veer. Similar to the Pre Pixi, the HP Veer will be a compelling choice for users who want a tiny phone, but also want a (almost) full-fledged smartphone. The Veer features a 2.6″ display with a 320×400 resolution, a 800MHz Snapdragon processor, a measly 8GB of storage, 512MB of RAM, HSPA+, an equally tiny slide-out keyboard, and is one of the smallest smartphones on the market. For users who prefer a small phone, HP has Apple beat since the iPhone only comes in one size with a 3.5″ screen, but having that one iPhone size helps the App Store flourish since an iPhone app does not have to be optimized for multiple resolutions and screen sizes. Of course, the practicality and usability of the Veer’s size are yet to be determined.

Rounding out the lineup is a brand new webOS tablet, simply called the HP TouchPad. The TouchPad is another very serious performer with a blazing-fast 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor and 1GB of RAM. A 9.7″ display, “Beats Audio” stereo speakers, and a front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera top off the package, which will be available in 16GB and 32GB models, and is just a little thicker and heavier than the iPad. The TouchPad is more than ready ready to take on the current tablet competition with hardware that is better than just about everything currently out, and is poised to hold up just fine when competitors to release their newest tablets.

Sure, the new webOS lineup has some nice hardware inside, but the new webOS 3 is what will make or break it. The new version of the OS adds Adobe Flash Player 10.1 beta support, Facebook integration in the photos app, and a nice video calling feature to an all-around improved list of features. The card-based true multitasking is still the star here; webOS 3 seems to be playing catch-up, but HP has really innovated in at least one new way: how devices interact with each other. You can bump the Pre3 into the TouchPad to share web addresses between the devices. More interestingly and seriously useful, the Pre3 can sync messages and phone calls to the TouchPad so you would not have to get out your Pre3 if you are on your TouchPad.

The interface on the Pre3 looks unique enough, but the TouchPad takes a lot of design cues from the iPad. The virtual keyboard, internet browser, and mail app look strikingly similar to what is found on the iPad, to only name a few. Judge for yourself:

The new webOS 3 devices are set to launch sometime around the summer. No pricing has been set yet. Apple will likely more than catch up with the power of the Pre3 and TouchPad by the time they are actually released, but they are still looking to be good competition nonetheless.

[via HP/Palm]