HP held their Something Beyond event today where they announced the new, tiny Veer, the beefed up Pre 3, and their iPad competitors, the TouchPad. (And I'll note with sadness it was HP, and no longer Palm that announced them.)
The Veer replaces the Pixi as the mainstream fashion phone, only now it packs the Pre slider form factor shrunk down to credit-card size (don't call it MiniPre!). I'll miss the iconic front-facing QWERTY that made the Treo famous but for slider fans there's a lot -- read: a little -- to like here. Check out PreCentral.net's Veer hands on for more.
The Pre 3 is the Pre on Hulk serum. Bigger screen and far more powerful internals. If HP can nail the build-quality they could realize every dream original Pre-users have had. I'd have liked a slab form factor here, but I have an iPhone so HP is at least sticking to Palm's guns on hardware keyboards. Check out PreCentral.net's Pre3 hands on for more.
The TouchPad is HP's answer to the iPad, with identical display size but quadruple the RAM, a front-facing camera, and webOS 3.0 which really shines on the big screen. The UI doesn't scale automagically (it was unrealistic to think it would) but HP has moved some controls to the top, made notifications into a hybrid drop down, and cards and stacks just look gorgeous on a tablet. Check out PreCentral.net's HP TouchPad hands on for more.
HP also promised webOS as an ecosystem on everything from printers to webOS PCs to devices, all tied into the cloud. (They even showed TouchShare, where they "bumped" a web page from Pre3 to TouchPad by touching the devices together.)
It wasn't a home run -- Palm-now-HP has to start delivering more, faster if they want to keep up. But it was a solid at-bat in a game that's nowhere near the end yet. (2 hours was also long for an event, half the time would have made the highlights twice as dense.)
The lack of firm release dates or pricing info was disappointing, as is the nebulous state of webOS updates for previous generation Palm devices. And while the Pre3 and TouchPad specs look solid we're weeks away from iPad 2 and months away from iPhone 5, so HP has a heck of a pace to keep up with. HP has money, however, and that buys time (see Microsoft, Nokia) and at the very least they've shown webOS isn't dropping out of the race.
Check out all the videos linked above and then come on back and tell us what you thought of HP's Think Beyond event, does it raise the bar for Apple's 2011 iOS lineup? What's the threat level?