HP Intros webOS 2.0, Palm Pre 2

HP is hoping to snag some of the smartphone market with its just announced launch of webOS 2.0 and the Palm Pre 2 smartphone. The Palm Pre 2 is the first device to run webOS 2.0, and is also the first device HP has launched based on its purchase of Palm.

The Palm Pre 2 and webOS 2.0 combination offers a new Stacks feature for grouping open apps, and can launch apps based on what you start typing. Typing and email address, for example, will launch the built-in email client app, or typing a URL will launch the built-in Web browser.

Palm Pre 2, now with more webOS-inessThe Palm Pre 2 with webOS 2.0

The new smartphone sports a 1 GHz processor, which is twice as fast as the original Palm Pre processor, along with a 5 megapixel camera, LED flash, a slide-out keyboard,built-in Wi-Fi, 16 GB storage, and a 3.1-inch 480x320 glass display.

webOS 2.0 also includes Flash Player 10.1 beta, HP Synergy for pushing contacts, calendar and messaging data to mobile devices via Facebook, Yahoo!, Google, LinkedIn or Microsoft Exchange accounts, and can run apps designed specifically for use with the Palm Touchstone Charging Dock.

HP will launch the Palm Pre 2 and webOS 2.0 on Friday in France, and will roll out in the United States some time in the coming months. Verizon seems to be the most likely Palm Pre 2 partner in the U.S. since it already supports the original model.

HP’s launch schedule brings out the Palm Pre in the middle of the iPhone upgrade cycle, which could help the company draw in customers that are tired of waiting for Apple’s combination iPod and smartphone to come to Verizon’s network. If the new Pre woos customers like the model it replaces, however, HP may have a difficult time competing with with the iPhone.