The line between tablets and smart phones is often a blur. Most electronics companies are trying to come out with the new device that will compete with BlackBerry and Apple. With the iPad currently the darling of the techno world, several companies are trying to market tablets. Enter: HP’s Palm Pre 2.
It is firmly entrenched in the smart phone category. However, when HP purchased Palm, the producers of the fabled Palm Pilot and PDAs galore, it did so with the intention of getting involved in the smart phone and tablet markets. The company set about revamping the webOS operating system, with the intentions of designing a phone and tablet around it.
The Palm Pre 2 has everything smart phones should have. It has a 5 megapixel camera, which is a significant boost over the original Palm Pre, and is fairly standard in the market today. It runs a 1 GHz processor and 512 MB of ram, which puts it in the same league as the iPhone or droid phones used by many users. It has a slide out keyboard, which can have benefits over the virtual variety for those coming in from BlackBerry.
And yet, the biggest problem I foresee the Palm Pre 2 having is that it lacks anything cutting edge that will convince people to go with a new OS. Say what you will about Apple, which has its shortcomings, but people are familiar with how to work their products. Similarly, Android has become incredibly popular in a short amount of time. It’s OS shows up on smart phones from a variety of companies. And BlackBerry is the granddaddy of the smart phone market, so why go with a new system, based on a system that was a huge financial failure last year?
HP feels that they have come up with a few ideas that might garner some attention. A major one is Adobe Flash. I don’t recall a time when Adobe’s program has been the center of such attention, but since Apple decided to shun Flash, many companies have heralded their ability to utilize Flash videos, and HP is one of them. They also have an app designed to draw all of your social web contacts into the same area, called HP Synergy. Still, I doubt this will be a serious game changer for them however. The final new feature they are promoting is the fact that the Palm Pre 2 can double as a slideshow viewer, planner, or similar office device when docked. This seems especially weak, given the size of their screen.
HP has a lot riding on the success of the Palm Pre 2. Some feel that this is just a stepping stone. They are using designs already developed by Palm, just to get the ball rolling on webOS 2 while they prep a tablet, based on it. But this is their signature device headlining the new operating system. If this bombs, many people will stay away from webOS 2 products. Some may feel that it is doomed to failure and I won’t go that far. All I can say is, HP needs to up their game and prepare for a battle, because they are coming late to this market, and the fact that they build reliable computers and printers won’t help them win over consumers interested in apps, phones, and touch screens on portable devices.