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Phones

HP smart phones with Palm's webOS arriving early next year

HP has confirmed that the first smart phones running webOS, the software it gobbled up by acquiring Palm, will make their debut at the beginning of next year.

HP is releasing smart phones running on Palm-built webOS software from early 2011 -- sooner than you might have expected.

Hewlett-Packard bought Palm with the aim of tapping into a fast-growing smart-phone market that was quickly passing it by. Palm was finding it difficult to make headway in a crowded market, but had a rich history of development with handheld devices.

Senior vice president Eric Cador said the webOS software HP gobbled up when it acquired Palm earlier this year was "fundamental" to the deal, Reuters reported

It made sense. You might have forgotten about the Palm Pre from last year, but it showed webOS was well capable of doing great things.

So what will these new HP smart phones look like? If they're going to be in the shops as soon as early next year, it might just be running webOS 2.0, which is still in development. But already webOS 2.0 looks like it will be a significant step up, more than capable of turning a few heads.

With the Pre, Palm was one of the first companies to develop a useable form of multi-tasking on smart phones, and it will be enhanced on webOS 2.0. You'll be able to group related 'cards' representing apps in stacks, which should reduce clutter and let you move more quickly between tasks.

Work has also been done on webOS' search. With a new feature called Quick Actions, users will be able to perform functions such as start emails and create messages without having to launch an app. There are also improvements in Palm Synergy, the way information is gathered from multiple sources.

As far as hardware for the new HP smart phones is concerned, your guess is as good as ours. But HP has got money to burn, and we expect to see a tablet to launch along with those smart phones at some point, hopefully better looking than this one.

Image credit: Gizmodo