Move over Android and iPhone, here comes the new smartphone ‘choice’ — HP today is introducing webOS 2.0, which it is declaring to be the “next generation of mobile innovation”.

webOS 2.0 will take its first public bow on the Palm Pre 2 in France, the United States and Canada, which will be available Friday in France from SFR and is scheduled to be available in the coming months in the United States from Verizon Wireless and in Canada.

“With webOS 2.0, we’re advancing the innovations we introduced 16 months ago, expanding the features that make webOS great for consumers, enterprises and developers,” said ex Apple veep now senior VP and general manager, Palm Global Business Unit, HP, Jon Rubinstein.

“We’ve made tremendous strides since the platform launched, and now we’re taking our biggest leap forward with powerful new features that make it easier to get more things done with your webOS device.”

To the features (lifted from the press release)

True Multitasking – Pause a game, tap an email notification, check your calendar, read a restaurant review, send an email reply, then switch back to the game without closing anything.(1,2) webOS lets you easily manage multiple open applications and notifications using natural touch gestures. New in webOS 2.0, Stacks logically groups together your open apps so they work the way you do. Whether you’re reading email or planning a night on the town, Stacks keeps related items together so managing multiple tasks is even easier.
Just Type – Start an email, create a message, update your status, search your favorite websites – all before you’ve even opened an app.(1) With webOS 2.0, whenever you want to do something on your phone – whether it’s emailing, texting, searching or almost anything – just type. And Just Type is open to developers, so they can integrate with the search function and add their own user-customizable shortcuts, called Quick Actions.
HP Synergy – webOS was the first mobile OS to connect you seamlessly to multiple web services. With the Synergy feature, you just have to sign in to your Facebook, Google, Microsoft® Exchange, LinkedIn and Yahoo! accounts and your information automatically populates your phone.(3) webOS 2.0 will extend the support for Synergy so developers can easily plug new Messaging, Contacts and Calendar application sources directly into the core webOS experiences.(4)
Exhibition – A new way to use your webOS phone, Exhibition lets you run apps designed specifically for the Palm Touchstone Charging Dock, turning charge time into useful time.(4,5) Set your phone on the dock and Exhibition launches automatically, showing you anything from today’s agenda to a slideshow of your Facebook photos. Exhibition will enable developers to display aspects of their existing app experience or create specialized apps for use when users have their webOS device in charge mode on the charging dock.
Adobe® Flash Player 10.1 Beta – With version 2.0, webOS now supports a beta of Adobe Flash Player 10.1 in the browser, which provides access to rich, Flash-based web content.(6)
webOS 2.0 also includes many more new features, including the following:

Favorites – With webOS 2.0, you can tag your favorite contacts so they appear as favorites in Phone and Contacts views. When you search for them by name, they instantly show up at the top of the Contacts, Email, Messaging and Phone apps. Favorites make it simple to get in touch fast.
Skype Mobile™ (Verizon Wireless only) – For Verizon Wireless customers, webOS 2.0 supports Skype-to-Skype calls and messaging while in the United States to anywhere in the world, and low-rate calls to international landlines and cell phones.
Text Assist – webOS 2.0 offers greatly expanded capabilities to spell check, auto correct, set up macros and customize the dictionary.
Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite – An all-new document viewer from the leading provider of mobile document viewers offers support for Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents and provides integration with a variety of services, including Google Docs and Dropbox.
Facebook 2.0 – Available via the Palm App Catalog, Facebook 2.0 will support Facebook IM via Synergy in the Messaging application,(4) as well as Stacks, status updates via Quick Action and the Exhibition feature.
Browser – The browser adds support for more HTML5 features, including geolocation support. OpenSearch plug-in support makes it easy to add your favorite websites to Just Type web search.
Messaging – The unified Messaging app in webOS 2.0 adds Yahoo! IM and buddy management. Customers can now connect to their buddies through SMS, MMS, Google Talk, AIM and Yahoo! IM.
VPN – webOS 2.0 supports the most popular ways to connect to a corporate network, including IPsec and Cisco AnyConnect mobile-optimized VPN, which supports SSL (TLS and DTLS).
App Catalog – The redesigned Palm App Catalog makes finding and discovering great apps even easier.(7) And the new Software Manager helps you keep your apps up-to-date.
Launcher – A redesigned app launcher lets you add, label and reorder launcher pages.
Phone – The webOS 2.0 Phone app lets you easily dial your favorites and offers reverse area code lookup and Skype Mobile integration (Skype Mobile for Verizon Wireless only). Accounts – The new Accounts app provides a single place to manage all your Synergy accounts.
Bluetooth® keyboards – webOS now supports Bluetooth keyboards and Bluetooth SPP peripherals, enabling applications such as barcode readers and realty lock boxes.
A host of developer features – In addition to Exhibition, Just Type and Synergy APIs, webOS 2.0 adds Node.JS, enabling developers to create services in JavaScript. They also can now use the webOS Plug-In Development Kit (PDK) to combine C/C++ with web technologies in a single app.
More information about the features of webOS 2.0 is available at http://www.palm.com/softwareupdate.

Introducing Palm Pre 2

HP also introduced the Palm Pre 2 smartphone, the latest evolution to the Palm Pre lineup. Pre 2 is the first Palm phone with a gigahertz processor and features a 5-megapixel camera, a glass screen and a sleeker, streamlined design that still gives users the ideal combination of a vivid touchscreen and a slide-out keyboard.

More information about Palm Pre 2, including features and specifications, is available at http://www.palm.com/Pre2.

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