Palm and webOS are officially back from the dead as of today. HP has formally announced both HP webOS 2.0 and the Palm Pre 2 smartphone. The Palm Pre 2 will be a Verizon CDMA phone.
There are a few interesting things. It looks like you can use it as a mobile hotspot if you have the right data plan from Verizon, which would be great if you bring a laptop along and don’t have an independent Wifi source – you can use the Pre 2’s CDMA connection and wirelessly tether up to five devices and connect to the internet through Verizon. One of the most interesting things is that you can have conversations that span multiple protocols and software – you can have a conversation with a person that starts in AOL’s AIM instant messenger, continue it in GoogleTalk, and finish it with normal text messaging. It looks like it can backup your data wirelessly every day. The web browser has Adobe Flash Player 10.1 beta support, but to be honest, in all the years I’ve had a smartphone, Flash has never been a deal breaker to me. I’ve never needed it on my iPhone, nor did I need it on my Windows Mobile phones before that. The sites I’ve come across that didn’t have an HTML alternative to their Flash support were not worth bothering with.
What does it offer genealogists?
There’s no indication of any genealogy software coming to webOS 2.0 just yet. It’s not backwards compatible with the older Palm OS genealogy software. If you just need something to check email and maybe browse the web and stay up on a few social networks (Facebook, etc.), it probably do just fine for you. It even has a hardware keyboard which some people like. One nice thing is that hardware keyboards don’t take up space on the screen. If you are looking for dedicated genealogy apps, you’re probably going to have to wait a while. It took a while before they started to appear on Google’s Android, and we are just now seeing discussion of genealogy apps on Windows Phone 7. My guess would be that developers are going to wait and see some hard numbers on the sales side of things. It looks like it has a decent camera which is a requirement for genealogists these days, and it’s got Skype Mobile. If Evernote comes out with a webOS 2.0 app, that would make it really interesting for some. It does support Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents which is very important for a lot of us.
Palm Pre 2 Specifications