In addition to the Palm Pre 2 running on webOS 2.0, which is more of a refinement of the original Palm Pre with an updated processor and Gorilla Glass screen, PreCentral is reporting that HP Palm is showing that the new venture is committed to the webOS platform with four additional codenamed devices. The codenames, which were discovered in a webOS 2.0 ROM image for carrier SFR, shows five names: the roadrunner–now believed to the Palm Pre 2, broadway–rumored as a Pixi 2, mantaray, stingray, and windsor.
We’ll have to see if HP Palm can gain market share. Despite a lot of positive press behind the original Palm Pre and webOS, Palm never was able to translate media enthusiasm into consumer sales for a variety of different reasons. For one, in the U.S. market, Palm had given partner carrier Sprint too long of an exclusivity period. Additionally, a slow growing applications catalog, lack of enterprise-ready software such as a documents viewer and editor, and quick battery drain on webOS didn’t help either. Moreover, while the Palm Pre, touted as having an organic design to feel like a pebble in the palm of your hand, was innovative and different, the Palm Pre did suffer from a plasticky build quality. With a refined Gorilla Glass touchscreen rather than the slightly curved plastic display of the original, the Palm Pre 2 will hopefully feel more solid.
At its unveiling, Palm presented webOS as a serious challenge to iOS by offering a more natural user interface with multitasking via its Cards paradigm. The device also supported multitouch, deep integration with emails and social networking services, and an elegant interface and experience. Since its release, however, much of webOS’s advantages have been eroded as Android has added social network integration and Android’s notification bar mimics webOS’s notifications. Also, now BlackBerry has released BlackBerry 6 OS, which offers enhanced notifications and Microsoft’s debut of Windows Phone 7 presents an attractive consumer-centric UI for webOS 2.0 to challenge when HP Palm releases its next generation Pre.
Hopefully, with HP’s backing–the company has committed to bringing webOS to more devices–the new HP Palm will have more resources to bring more form factors and different devices to market. Palm’s initial webOS entry was limited to the original Palm Pre (and Pre Plus) and the Pixi (and Pixi Plus)–both with a QWERTY keyboard.