As mentioned earlier, because of various leaks leading to the event, we knew a tablet and a successor to the Pre 2 were launching today. But what came as a complete surprise was the dimunitive QWERTY-slider, Veer.

As Jon Rubenstein demonstrated while announcing the Veer, the phone is no bigger than a standard credit-card. While the small body may lead you to believe that the same downsizing trend follows through to the internals, it was a pleasant surprise when we saw that it is actually powered by the Qualcomm MSM7230 SoC consisting of a Scorpion core running at 800MHz and an Adreno 205 GPU. This is the same SoC that powers the T-Mobile G2 whose performance has been previewed here. As can be seen in those graphs, the 7230 is no slouch. Further, this is an HSPA-only chipset and as a result will only be available on AT&T or T-Mobile (assuming a carrier does pick it up here in the US).


The HP Veer is about the size of a credit-card with the slider closed

Apart from packing in a decent SoC, the Veer has 512MB of RAM and 8GB of storage onboard. The Adreno 205 GPU drives a rather small 2.6" 320x400 screen. While definitely losing out on the real estate side of things, the screen is very sharp and during use I didn't really find it bothersome. However, surfing the web will definitely prove to be an issue. Speaking of web, the Veer supports Adobe Flash as well. It also comes equipped with a 5MP camera, 802.11 b/g, and built-in GPS. The Veer should be the first of the new webOS devices to hit the market with a projected launch happening sometime towards the end of this Spring.


(Left) The HP Pre 3, (Right) the Pre 3 looks gigantic compared to the Veer

Moving on, we have the last device announcement, the HP Pre 3. This is probably the device that we know the least about because HP didn't talk a whole lot about it and we weren't allowed to use the demo devices ourselves. It's the Pre 3's internals that piques our interest the most. What powers this smartphone is a Qualcomm 8x55 SoC that has a single Scorpion core rated for 1GHz. However in the Pre 3, the core runs at 1.4GHz. This is a 40% increase over the rated clockspeed for this particular 45nm SoC and aside from the unreleased 8x7x series, it's the highest clocked Qualcomm core.

The rated power at load with the core running at 1GHz is 500mW, so it will be interesting to see how the battery life will play out on the Pre 3 considering the fact that we should theoretically be hitting close to 700mW at full throttle (for reference, the Pre 3's 1230 mAh battery is just 7% larger than the one found in the Pre Plus). The 8x55 core also sports an Adreno 205 core driving a 3.6" 480x800 display, along with support for LP DDR2 RAM (the Pre 3 has 512MB). Also, while HP just stated the SoC family while referring to the '8x55', since they do brand it as being a world phone capable of both HSPA+ and EVDO Rev.A basebands, it is clear that they are using the QSD8655 in the Pre 3. Why they didn't specify this in the presentation, I'm not sure.

The Pre 3 will be available in 8GB or 16GB versions, sporting 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1+ radios along with GPS. The rear-facing camera on the Pre 3 is a 5MP unit, although this time with autofocus and LED flash assist. The Pre 3 is also capable of recording 720p HD video. It features a front-facing VGA camera to be used for video calls. This slide-out QWERTY packing phone is expected to be launched sometime this summer.


(Left) Both phones support Touchstone charging, (Right) in a quick browser speed test (history cleared), the Pre 3 was notably faster than the Veer by a good 5 secs

Both the phones will support Touchstone inductive-charging functionality and both have 'gesture areas' below their LCD's (unlike the touchscreen-only TouchPad). As mentioned on the previous page, it seems clear that HP is looking at high-frequency cores to make up for webOS 2.x's apparent inability to efficiently schedule multiple threads. It remains to be seen if this approach affects real-world usage in the smartphone form-factor.

Say hey to the TouchPad Other announcements and final thoughts
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  • anada - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I like WebOS but the opensourceness of the thing is questionable.

    They link to a few patches for a-now-outdated version of WebOS and that does not even include the Linux kernel.

    While it looks technically very good, I've troubles seeing a future vs Android (which is FULLY open source) or iOS (which open sourced parts are MUCH larger)

    I'm not sure if closed OSes have a large chance today, where you have to rely heavily on the distributor (HP) for everything.

    As proof, the promised WebOS 2 won't be ported to the pre afterall. If it were open source, it'd be running there ages ago.
    Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Presumably most tech-savvy consumers already have a smartphone. What webOS and other smarthphone OS makers should be targeting is the much larger rest of the population, those still using dumbphones and maybe not even a cellphone, in order to grow the smartphone market. I'm not sure the ability to look at, contribute, compile, and install your own OS source code is a major selling feature for most people. Reply
  • Spivonious - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I don't have a cell phone at all. I really don't see the point of a smartphone. If I need to call someone, I'm usually at home or at work. If I'm somewhere else, I probably don't want to be contacted. I have an MP3 player for music. I have a very short commute, so there's no time for videos, games, or books. I have a laptop at home and a desktop at work. If I'm out somewhere, I really don't need to have web access at all times.

    I think Apple surprised everyone when they successfully marketed the concept of a smartphone to consumers.
    Reply
  • kingpotnoodle - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    Apple didn't sell "smartphone" to users, Apple (in a very Apple-y way) heavily marketed a device which converged all your pocket objects (iPod, phone, games) into one shiny device that made you cool and trendy, with simple idiot proof apps rather than fiddly small screened slow internets. They polished the idea and sold it as a lifestyle object in a way that appealed to the masses, not just geeks.

    Still most people who own a smart phone do very little that's actually "smart" with it, they just listen to music, call/text, use a few apps and some social networking. I see old people who can barely operate a door carrying them... just bought one cos the salesmen told them it was good.

    Smartphones owners != Smartphone feature users.
    Reply
  • halcyon - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I'd like to see a thriving multi-ecosystem in the mobile and tablet market, but I don't see it very likely.

    Apple is skimming of the easy-to-use high-end with iOS. Tech for the rest of us. Overpriced perhaps to some, but it works and sells well.

    Android is grabbing all tech-heads, much of devs and lots of mid-market and even the low-end.

    Win7 is not ready for tablet.

    Where does that leave HP as the only manufacturer fighting against Android with hordes of manufacturers?

    In a pinch.

    They have no consumer brand (esp. outside US). They are not a great marketing company. WebOS is very limited as an ecosystem and highly web centric.

    Yes, it has a lot of features and innovations going for it, but so did OS9 and still Windows dominated.

    I have no positive view for WebOS. Within 2-3 years HP will have buried it pretty much or sold it off to be integrated somehow to somebody's other platfrom.

    A shame, but alone they have no chance.
    Reply
  • Dribble - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    It all sounds very nice but you know it's going nowhere. Google are going to win in the end, with apple keeping their customary % of the high end. Google are like the borg - you will be assimilated or destroyed. Reply
  • cmdrdredd - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Actually, you won't and cannot beat Apple in the mobile space. It will never happen. You can make a dent, but Apple is too chic at the moment. What I mean is, iPhone is the first thing most people think of when I bring out my Android phone. They don't realize that the iPhone is not the only device that does what it does. Same for the iPad, plus the itunes library and app store are too vast. Google can only be second best here. Reply
  • argosreality - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I'm sure Gm and Ford said the same thing about the vehicle market. Oops, wait... Reply
  • Aloonatic - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    I am not so sure that you are right, in the mobile space as a whole.

    Apple have done a great job establishing and growing the market. Sucking people in, but that was during the high spending, early adopter phase. However, now, the deals/tariffs that go along with their devices are just way too expensive for many people, but more people want in, so Google are taking up their business.

    Apple will always have a good position in the high end smart phone market, but we are seeing a mid/lower end, cheaper market appear, with devices such as the HTC Wildfire. Apple aren't interested in cheap-skates who won't or can't afford to buy apps and stuff though, so it's no skin off of Apple's nose, I'm sure.

    Therefore, I believe that, just as in almost every other mass consumer markets, the number of people in the mid/low end will be far far greater than the high end. So Apple wont dominate the whole market forever, but I doubt that that matters to them, in the end. They will still have a big stake in the most lucrative, high-end market ,which is just how they like it :o)
    Reply
  • StormyParis - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    I'm no longer sure about the high-end thing.

    Apple have such volume, that they can make money at low price points. They can get the best components&assembly deals, amortize research, get lots of free press... So they can be profitable in the low-end. Neither the iPhone, iPad nor iPod are horrendously expensive compared to competing products.

    And above all, there's the whole lock-in +network effect thing. Once you start buying things from iTunes, it starts to make sense buying lots of iTunes hardware, then more content, then more hardware...

    I'm sure, as long as it won't devalue their brand, Apple will be thrilled to have "starter" (gateway ?) products to suck more customers in.
    Reply

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