I'm not going to go into super deep detail about what's changed in WebOS 2.0 because our own Mithun has already done an awesome job going over the differences in much better detail than I could in an earlier piece for AnandTech. 

That said I think it's still important to go over the higher level software changes just for the sake of doing so, and again make some comparisons to the Pixi. Side by side with the Pixi running WebOS 1.0 and the Veer running WebOS 2.0 something immediately stood out. In WebOS 2.0 there now is a "just type..." search logo at the top of the card view screen, and cards are appropriately smaller underneath it. My friend who uses a Pixi daily at first insisted that the Veer's screen was smaller (they're the same size) which was confusing until I realized that the discrepancy in card size when in the card view zom level is rather dramatic. See for yourself:

  
Left: Palm Pixi (WebOS 1.0), Right: HP Veer (WebOS 2.0)

The screen size and resolution between the two is exactly the same, howver the addition of the "Just type..." search bar at the top of the WebOS 2.0 view results in dramatically smaller cards. When it comes to the messaging application and others, this often made the difference in terms of whether text inside the card was readable or not. You can really see just how much smaller the cards are now, and the Veer's very square aspect ratio accentuates the problem. I get the impression this was a feature designed on and for the Pre 3 with a much more rectangular aspect ratio.

The improvements to the "Just type" search system are actually very good, with google suggestions populating the list, prompts to add new search engines whenever they're encountered on webpages, and more local application searching. 

The other major improvement is Flash support in WebOS 2.0. It's enabled out of the box, though by default Flash elements are not preloaded and played, though you can enable this functionality. By default, you get grey boxes with a play symbol where Flash lives.

 

Tap on them, and Flash starts running, and the browser locks its current zoom level and translation so you can interact purely with the Flash element. Tapping on the X in the bottom right corner doesn't stop the Flash plugin, it gives focus back to the browser so you can multitouch translate and zoom around again. This is honestly a superior implementation to Android's unstated hybrid of the two. 

Quite honestly other than the lack of any improvements in boot time (reasons for which we will get into in a few pages), I found that WebOS 2.0 is a decent step forward that's mostly incremental. To be completley honest, WebOS 2.0 feels more like WebOS 1.5 than a big update that really warrants a full version change.  I understand what HPalm is trying to do here though, and for the most part I'm pleased with the changes - there just needs to be even more of them, faster. Android and iOS both are borrowing from WebOS more and more each update. 

In the Touchstone the Veer also goes into exhibition view, even if right now it's essentially just the default display Mithun already showed in his own WebOS 2.0 exploration. I couldn't quickly find any examples of applications that leverage this view, but it's just one of the interesting innovations I feel like WebOS is pushing that it has to capitalize on before others beat it to the punch. 

Camera and Video Analysis WiFi on the Veer
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  • peskypescado - Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - link

    I have been a webOS user for a couple of years now and I can tell you that the Touchstone definitely charges _significantly_ faster than the same AC charger just plugged into the phone via microUSB. I'm not sure exactly why, but it is consistently faster on both of the Pre's we have at my house. For me, it is a bigger benefit for why I use a touchstone than the convenience of just being able to set my phone down. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - link

    Interesting - I mean that definitely bears itself out in the results. I originally ascribed the differences to just charging management, but there definitely seems to be something said for the touchstone charging faster. I'll see if I can find more.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • Johnmcl7 - Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - link

    I'm guessing as SE devices rarely seem to get mentioned here that they're just not available in the US? Their X10 Mini Pro is a very similar design and size to the Veer although I think SE's design is better in a few ways, they've gone for a horizontal slider (or whichever way round it is when you turn the phone 90 degrees to use the keyboard) which gives more room and makes for a better keyboard. The keys are well spaced and have a solid 'click' when pressed so that despite its size it works well, better in fact than some of the bigger qwerty devices I've used. The X10 Mini Pro has a 3.5mm port onboard and a micro USB port (for data and charging) plus the back is removable to get access to the user-replaceable battery and has expandable storage through microSD.

    Unfortunately it's also an ARM11 SoC although it's driving a small screen compared to other smartphones, SE's customisation on top of Android is a bit messy in places as well although in general performance isn't bad. The phone seems to have had reasonable appeal, it's particularly popular amongst my female friends looking for a small phone to slip in a handbag/pocket.

    John
    Reply
  • Penti - Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - link

    Yes they have, but the SE X10 Mini Pro isn't a fluid phone in regards to performance and it's not that hard to use the gd 3.5 mm adapter you snap on, or a USB-charger & data cable both included in the box. It's not that you can't use those.

    However the X10 Mini Pro is or was available directly from SE, or from Verizon and AT&T. So on. But the new Xperia Mini Pro should come any day. And it's hardly the only cell phone with a slide out keyboard.

    As a Swede I would just say stay away from SE basically. They are not up to the task and un-updated software is just a pain. I wouldn't want to use timescape either. It's basically in regard to the X10 mini a phone even too weak for Angry birds.

    The guys working in Lund for SE would probably do a lot better job at one of the Chinese manufacturers any way. Nobody in China will miss their factories either. It's virtually a collapse business and has been for years any way. Seriously they are not competitive, and in the states you got stuff like Motorola Milestone/Droid and Droid 2, and so on that's popular instead I guess. The SE's might fit the people who only text and so on. But that misses the point, and it's overpriced and old legacy stuff by now.
    Reply
  • Johnmcl7 - Thursday, June 9, 2011 - link

    Of course it's not the only phone with a slide out keyboard but it's one of the few that's so small. As a non-Swede I think the advice to stay away from SE odd, there's not many phones like the X10 Mini Pro and it has the Veer beat in just about every way going despite the SE being a much older phone. I haven't seen these 'fluid' problems you mention and the phone is popular amongst my female friends.

    John
    Reply
  • Penti - Friday, June 10, 2011 - link

    It's an abandoned phone by now any how. If the Xperia Mini Pro will be any good I don't really know, but it can't be worse and is out any day.

    As I Swede I'm proud of Ericsson and so on in the telecom industry, they are good and successful, still have manufacturing in Sweden for that matter, but simply not SE. SE is one of the failed mobile brands to begin with, they sell roughly half as many phones as 2007, they are among the ones that have gone bad together with Motorola which collapsed al together but with products looking strong even though they are at about 20% of their 2007 volume and less then that of their 2006 volume (which are just begin to sell again in Sweden mind you at least they are looking up), LG that has stopped growing, SE isn't that respected. Something like Motoblur I would probably prefer over Timescape as it's less intrusive. SE has really screwed up with their software and launcher. I'm fine with running the stock UI and launcher, but you don't really have that choice from mentioned brands.

    But hey, at least the new Mini Pro doesn't look like it's from <2009.

    It's however a common problem with games and other software lagging on the X10 Mini Pro. The UI has pretty much constantly had performance problems. I.e. not being fluid. (Doesn't mean all users experienced it or that they experienced it over all time they had the phone.) They have messed it up so many times on the firmware side. It's simply not recommended for smart phone usage here.

    However a slim company like SE with no software expertise or manufacturing expertise and not much to speak of wouldn't be a loss if they disappeared. They are just building phones with Qualcomm chipsets and not contributing much, they need to pick up if they want to continue delivering phones. They might manage to do it with their revised software on Gingerbread+ but that remains to be seen.

    A X10 Mini Pro is however about the same size like something like this HP Veer though, or other non-keyboard smartphones for that matter (X10 Mini non-pro is the one that sold here in Sweden and that Three etc peddled.). I simply wouldn't recommend the X10 Mini to anybody for that matter. 320x240 is simply not suitable for smart phones. The new model will also be a 3" phone although about the same physical size so it's not really that significantly smaller then any other phone. Smaller then the Desire Z and equivalents yes. Old device is simply not in the same league as this HP Veer or most smart phones, small or large. New Xperia Mini Pro however looks much improved. Not saying HP Veer is a feature phone replacement for the same crowed however. SE's device is clearly trying to grow up though. But at 320x480 is still aimed at low-end users.

    Not that I like using Android in landscape mode however. I think a vertical slider is much better in most cases, however on phones like N900, E7 (Nokia) I would prefer the landscape mode and keyboards. However if you like an Android with horizontal keyboard there is lot of others to choice from other then SE, I did think about buying one even though the X10 Mini wasn't in question then do to it's software troubles. Anywhere from Motorola, Samsung, LG or a few other devices in the unites states, where you often have branded devices like T-mobiles (HTC) G1 and G2 and MyTouch series. I don't see SE filling a space there really even though it's sold by the operators and stores there. While here in Europe we haven't seen as many choices.
    Reply
  • jnmfox - Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - link

    "...still thicker..., which is perhaps an even more important criteria for female shoppers."

    "Whether the Veer goes in the front pocket or is small enough to make it into the back pocket is ultimately a matter of clothing choice and personal preference."

    "I will say that it’s refreshing to carry something around that doesn’t weigh my pants down"
    Reply
  • robinthakur - Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - link

    It's all rather sexist tbh. Lots of men don't want a massive brick of a phone and value a slimline handset that can fit in skinny jeans or tailored jackets without ruining the lines. It's not just a girl thing. This often seems to come up on tech sites, and seems to assume and imply that all men wear baggy jeans and dress like hobos... Reply
  • HowQuaint - Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - link

    I'm coming up on 2 years with an original Pre and it's getting long in the tooth. Seems to "forget" to send me calendar notifications and lock up all the time, plus I've already had to replace the battery. I've been thinking about tossing it out a window and getting a nice Android device or maybe even a dumbphone, but HP might woo me back if Pre 3 (or even Veer) won't have these reliability issues. It's somewhat disheartening to see they still haven't learned their lesson with not having enough options, for example I get poor cell coverage at work so turning off 3G might keep the phone from draining its battery on a daily basis. The funny thing is that despite all the hate for the original hardware, mine has actually been pretty robust -- I'm more of a fan of the hardware than of WebOS and never experienced the wobbly keyboard issues. Reply
  • Lt.PorkyPine - Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - link

    I also have made my original pre for 2 years. I love the OS and have had only minor hardware troubles. Had to have my pre replaced one. I hope to get the pre 3 so long as it comes to sprint. I'm very excited about the new hardware and 2.0.

    Hopefully HP can start to bring regular hardware updates to the webOS platform. It will also help if the comments from HP about licensing webOS to 3rd party hardware makers like HTC and Samsung are true.
    Reply

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