A closer look at the HP Pre 3 and Veer

After an action-packed event by HP, we take a closer look at the two upcoming WebOS smartphones, the Pre 3 and the Veer.

HP Pre 3
HP Pre 3 James Martin/CNET

HP wasn't kidding when it said, "Think big. Think small. Think ahead. Think beyond."

As you've probably heard by now, the company unveiled three new WebOS products today in San Francisco: the HP TouchPad , HP Pre 3, and HP Veer--or, as HP called them, large, medium, and small.

Though we have more hands-on coverage coming soon, I thought now would be a good time to take a closer look at the WebOS smartphones and what they have to offer.

HP Pre 3
We'll start with the Pre 3. Though the Verizon Palm Pre 2 is finally shipping tomorrow, we're already looking past it to the Pre 3.

For one thing, the smartphone features a larger 3.6-inch capacitive multitouch screen with double the display resolution (480x800 pixels) of the previous model (the Pre 2 has a 3.1-inch HVGA touch screen), so we're looking forward to taking advantage of the WebOS features on a bigger and sharper screen.

The larger display also means a larger device, but at 4.47 inches by 2.52 inches wide by 0.63 inch thick and 5.5 ounces, you're still looking at a relatively compact phone. Plus, the extra space makes more room for the QWERTY keyboard, which looks to be improved.

Under the hood, you've got a 1.4GHz Qualcomm processor powering the device with 512MB RAM and a choice between an 8GB or 16GB model. The other big improvement is that the 5-megapixel camera can shoot HD video.

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Unfortunately, carrier and pricing were not announced today, and the Pre 3 won't be available till the summer. What happened to shipping products a few weeks after announcing them, HP?

We do know, however, that there will be an HSPA+ version and a EV-DO Rev. A world phone, which opens up the possibilities of multicarrier support.

HP Veer
The HP Veer is an interesting device. It's most notable for its small size, which comes in at 3.13 inches tall by 2.15 inches wide by 0.59 inch thick. It's similar in height and width to a credit card, or as CNET's Donald Bell calls it, "a choking hazard."

My first reaction to the Veer is that it's a mistake. Who would want such a small phone? Are its 2.6-inch touch screen and QWERTY keyboard actually usable at that size?

However, Donald also made a good point during our live blog. In a time when smartphones are getting bigger and bigger, going small could be a good strategy. In fact, during the presentation, HP said the Veer is the alternative to "jumbo phones."

So just because it may not be right for me doesn't mean it may not be right for someone else. And having choice is always a good thing.

Plus, HP did a pretty good job of cramming a good deal of features into such a small package. They include an 800MHz Snapdragon processor, a 5-megapixel camera, HSPA+ support, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.

The HP Veer will be available this spring, but again no word on pricing or carrier.

Admittedly, we're disappointed that we'll have to wait several months for the devices to come to market, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited. I've always loved WebOS, and I'm glad it will continue to live on with HP and hopefully flourish.

The HP TouchPad looks pretty slick, and though I'd love to see some new designs on the smartphone front, I'm anxious to check out the Pre 3 and Veer myself when I head to Barcelona, Spain, next week for Mobile World Congress. And you can get a closer look at the devices now with our hands-on video and photo gallery.

What did you guys think of today's announcements?

About the author

Bonnie Cha was a former chief correspondent for CNET Crave, covering every kind of tech toy imaginable (with a special obsession for robots and Star Wars-related stuff). When she's not scoping out stories, you can find her checking out live music or surfing in the chilly waters of Northern California.

 

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