Preview of HP launch today: smartphone so small it is cool

HP/Palm announcement

I really hated Palm’s devices the past couple of years. Why? I wrote I hated their small screens. I still do.

But recently I got a look at the smartphone that HP will be announcing in an hour and a half. More on that later today.

What is it? The smallest little phone I’ve ever seen. It’s like a large pebble in your hand. Smooth and really nice to hold.

This still sucks as a competitor for the iPhone or Android.

But they’ve made it so small now that the thing I hated (small screen, which isn’t good for really doing work) is now an attribute.

Why?

Because I could see owning this as a second phone. A “date” phone.

Why?

Because it’s so small it helps me keep my online addiction at bay. But it still lets me tweet or look at the web in an emergency.

It’s fashionable.

It’s cute.

Women are gonna love it.

People who don’t want to look like a geek on their nights out will love it.

That’s the “small” thing HP/Palm is announcing today. I’ll get you some video and photos.

Congrats to HP/Palm on turning around my objection to your crappy small screens and making that a real product attribute.

That’s what they mean in the announcement by “small.” The “big” is their 10-inch tablet. I haven’t seen that or the services that will power all these things. More later today.

I got that image over on the Everything Pre website. Watch that and Techmeme for more.

About Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, I travel the world with Rocky Barbanica looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology and report that here.

19 thoughts on “Preview of HP launch today: smartphone so small it is cool

  1. HP Veer looks promising with its form factor and speed and seems to be a winner …all now depends on the price point it will be launched at…

  2. If not anything, this will further drive Apple and Google to continue innovating. The iPhone should really come in multiple form factors just like the iPod.

    Fun times to be a consumer.

        1. Just because it’s widely used doesn’t mean it is in any way quality, let alone “perfect”. HP announced today webOS will start shipping with their laptops/desktops in 2011. Guessing those will also be Windows computers, so that doesn’t sound like “dead” to me considering HP sells 2 PCs per second. Pair that with webOS specific device sales, and you are looking at close to 100 million units in 1 year.

      1. Oh I’ve tried it, no software UI can impress me. What matters is the ecosystem, platform adoption, developer support, openness, easy of customization and implementation. WebOS has no users and won’t get any more with HP.

    1. There is no money in making Android hardware. All the Android hardware makers combined make less than 1/3rd the profit of RIM, less than 1/5th the profit of Nokia, and less than 1/10th the profit of Apple. Those 3 account for 90% of all the phone profits. Not just smartphone profits; all the phone profits. So HP only has to build a small mobile business to make more money than all the Android vendors combined. And building something with more quality than Android is very achievable. They can offer a native C API and make it easier to port iOS apps (which are C, while Android is Java), they can offer a consistent OpenGL platform, they can utilize sales channels outside of carriers, where Android is sold, they can offer direct software updates, they can move more quickly than Android.

      Apple is slaying all comers in mobile. Copying Apple is a better strategy than copying Android, especially for another PC maker. Hopefully HP will do something original on the way. Not holding my breath, but at least there is a chance for that if they make their own software.

      1. Android single handedly saved most of the smartphone makers and carriers. All were on the brink of bankruptcy before Android, and now they are all doing fine and taking marketshare away from rim, wm and apple. Android could save nokia, rim and hp as well, but only if they want to be saved.

    2. There is no money in making Android hardware. All the Android hardware makers combined make less than 1/3rd the profit of RIM, less than 1/5th the profit of Nokia, and less than 1/10th the profit of Apple. Those 3 account for 90% of all the phone profits. Not just smartphone profits; all the phone profits. So HP only has to build a small mobile business to make more money than all the Android vendors combined. And building something with more quality than Android is very achievable. They can offer a native C API and make it easier to port iOS apps (which are C, while Android is Java), they can offer a consistent OpenGL platform, they can utilize sales channels outside of carriers, where Android is sold, they can offer direct software updates, they can move more quickly than Android.

      Apple is slaying all comers in mobile. Copying Apple is a better strategy than copying Android, especially for another PC maker. Hopefully HP will do something original on the way. Not holding my breath, but at least there is a chance for that if they make their own software.

  3. This is good news. I have been thinking lately that an iPod Nano (previous generation) sized phone would have a reasonable utility.

    Hopefully HP/alm has a lot more up their sleeve though, the Veer, Palm 3 and Tablet are just hardware devices, they need a serious and solid platform that supports developers in order to push this hardware.

    1. Yeah, price is a huge factor. There were people who were legitimately excited about Motorola XOOM until they found out it is $71 more than last year’s iPad with the same storage. Price made XoM a universal joke.

      The $49 iPhone, $229 iPod touch, and $499 iPad leave very little room to undercut Apple, and Apple has huge volumes, and uses economies of scale like no other. For example, reusing the OS X core from the Mac, iTunes+iPod in everything, the same SoC and flash storage chips in everything.

      Also, an HP $399 tablet has a chance of cannibalizing HP’s $399 PC’s. iPad did not cannibalize Apple’s +$1000 PC business.

      Big challenge for HP.

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