HP Blew It With The Pre3 And Veer - InformationWeek

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2/9/2011
04:45 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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HP Blew It With The Pre3 And Veer

HP announced two new smartphones -- the Pre3 and the Veer -- at its webOS event today in San Francisco. The Pre3 and Veer are two formidable devices, but they're not going to put a dent in Android and iOS's domination.

HP announced two new smartphones -- the Pre3 and the Veer -- at its webOS event today in San Francisco. The Pre3 and Veer are two formidable devices, but they're not going to put a dent in Android and iOS's domination.Were it not for HP's deep pockets, Palm would likely have languished and died by the end of 2010. Palm's attempt at a resurrection -- webOS and the Pre and Pixi phones -- didn't help reverse its slide toward oblivion. Had HP not acquired the company in July 2010, today's announcement wouldn't have happened.

The Pre3 and Veer are two formidable devices, no doubt, but they're not going to put a dent in Android and iOS's eventual domination of the smartphone space. Here's why.

1. Design: The Pre3 is nearly indistinguishable from the Pre 2 and the Pre. One of the reasons the Pre wasn't a spectacular seller was in part because of its odd design language. The Pre3 makes no changes in the overall look, design, or feel of the hardware when compared to the original. HP should have nixed any devices that looked like the older webOS phones and moved forward with bolder designs.

2. Specs: One of the problems being faced by HP right now is the large crop of Android super phones. New Android devices are launched nearly every week, with many of them pushing the technological barriers of size, speed, and features. The Pre3 and Veer break no new ground (perhaps with the exception of the Touchstone charging features). Also, where the heck is the 4G? Adding WiMax or LTE to either handset would really have helped it. By the time these devices hit the market, they'll be up against a number of 4G options.

3. Limited Form Factors: webOS devices are only available on one shape: vertical sliders. Consumers want options. What about a bar-style phone with a software QWERTY keyboard instead of a real one? What about something less chubby than the Pre3 and Veer?

4. Ecosystem: HP claims that the Pre3 and Veer will fit in perfectly with its huge ecosystem of devices. That includes PCs, printers, the TouchPad tablet, etc. But what about social networks, media services, and a more robust application experience? Despite all that HP has done to lure developers, its app store is pathetic when compared to the iPhone App Store, Android Market, BlackBerry App World and even the newly-launched Windows Market for Mobile.

5. Availability: HP announced these devices too far ahead of when they'll be available. The earliest we're going to see any of this hardware is "spring" and "summer." Guess what's going to happen between now and then? More Android phones will be announced -- many of them with 4G -- and the next iPhone.

I still continue to believe webOS has potential, but not on handsets such as these.

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