Long hair na long hair si HP at the Mobile World Congress.
Located right across the BlackBerry booth, it almost seems like HP is telling RIM something. Amidst the many laptops on display, everybody knew that these were just fillers for the real spectacle: the webOS environment and their gadgets.
OK let’s back it off a bit: I was an active member of group called Mapalad.org founded by Jason de Villa (who is now editor in chief of Technoodling.net) back in the early 2000’s. This was an officially recognized Palm OS user group in the Philippines. So you can imagine my excitement to see the spiritual successor of the Palm OS.
They’ve gone through a lot: Palm’s founders put up an offshoot company called Handspring. Palm buys them back. Palm renames to palmOne. Then renames back to Palm. Then after so long a time attempts to launch a netbook. Fails to do so. Launches new devices under a new platform called webOS. Doesn’t really make it. Gets bought by HP. HP removes the Palm logo. Now it’s just HP. And I must say, on paper, HP is doing an excellent job. I think they want a chunk of the BlackBerry market share with what they’re showing us.
We were treated to three things: the HP TouchPad, HP Pre 3 and the sexy Veer. The TouchPad is of course the giant’s corporate tablet solution while the Pre 3 and the Veer are their smartphone solutions. All three run the new webOS operating system. Both phones have a touch screen interface with pull out QWERTY pads. During the demo, we weren’t allowed to hold the units – if we wanted to test it out, the guy had to hold the unit while we played with its many features.
If the Pre 3 and Veer make it to Philippines, these will make a killing in the market. Finally, we have smartphones that looks chic enough to make you want to ditch the iPhone. The Veer is a smaller version of the Pre 3: it’s so small, and yet comes with a very nice keypad (it’s not rubber or plastic; silicon / gel perhaps and feels really good on the fingers). Yeah, I really have to highlight the keypad — the demo guy saw that we had a BlackBerry on us and challenged us to take the comparison test. Maganda ang keypad. They’ve done it.
The new webOS apps are compatible with both the tablet and smartphone so HP is really betting on this platform ecosystem.