Today HP is holidng a press conference to introduce its new webOS-based tablet and smartphones to the world, while also providing a roadmap for its mobile strategy going forward. WebOS is a mobile operating system that HP acquired when it bought Palm last summer for $1.2 billion and it's expected to serve as the basis for a number of HP products going forward - and not just tablets and phones, but possibly even Internet TVs and personal computers.
The theme for the conference, whose tagline is "Think Big. Think Small. Think Beyond," is connected experiences. Some devices are better at content consumption, while others are for content creation - this according to HP exec Todd Bradley, VP in the company's Personal Systems group. He made these comments during a CNBC interview last month, where he teased the news of the forthcoming HP iPad competitor. Today, the teasing ends and HP gives up the goods on what it has planned next to take on the iPhone, the iPad and the Android army. Stay tuned for our live coverage of the event.
9:59 AM: We have entered the main area and the announcement is forthcoming. Stay tuned.
10:16 AM: HP Executive VP Todd Bradley has taken the stage and the event has begun.
"Think back to that time when you first experienced something" he asks the crowd. His memories? A first drive of an electric car. "We should all witness these firsts, as often as we can in our lives. Creating these experiences for a living is what the technology industry is all about."
10:19 AM: We serve over a billion customers in 174 countries with 145,000 partners, 88,000 retail locations. "Our global reach is unprecedented." Ship 120 PCs every minute.
"We're in the early stages of a market that's going to continue to grow in size, importance and relevance for many, many years to come."
10:23 AM: "We've seen an explosion in the number of digital services. We have more and more people accessing more and more content from cloud-based devices. No one before today has come forward and developed a solution that works ubiquitously across these devices."
-Showing a slide with Pandora, Google, Facebook, Pandora, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
"Think, feel & connect" looks to be the tagline phrase of today's announcement.
10:25 AM: John Rubinstein, Senior VP and GM takes the stage.
Talking about "Synergy" - merges information from the cloud across devices.
"Today marks an important new beginning."
10:28 AM: Delivered hundreds of new features (video capture, 3D games, enterprise) over the past year.
WebOS 2.1 is "most important so far" with "true multitasking," universal search and more.
Delivered WebOS on five devices in Pre and Pixi families.
"It's time to take things to a whole new level."
10:30 AM: "What works well for a lot of people is the power of a large phone in a smaller size. Soemthing that's powerful, but elegantly small."
Rubinstein holds up the HP Veer - this thing is tiny, we're talking smaller than a credit card.
-Has slide-out QWERTY keyboard, 2.6" 320x400 touch display, gesture area, browser, full Adobe Flash, GPS, 5 megapixel camera.
10:34 AM: Introducing the Pre3 - another slideout QWERTY phone that looks similar to an iPhone otherwise.
Rubinstein says that when you put your Veer or Pre3 on your Touchstone device to charge it, it automatically goes into a preview mode to scroll through your pics or showcase other content. (Do you want your photo library to be shown every time you charge? I'm not sure I do.)
10:38 AM:And now, the HP TouchPad.
-16 or 32 GB, twice the memory of Pre2, Gyro, accelerometer, compass. Dual Core.
10:40 AM: "Nobody comes close to our WebOS experience."
"If you buy a TouchPad, all you need to do is enter your username and password and all your information shows up." - talking about Synergy.
-Keyboard contains number row.
-Works with QuickOffice, Google Docs, Dropbox & Box.net
-VPN, Video Calling
-Full Web/Adobe Flash
-Sync'd music collections
10:44 AM: Sachin Kansal - Director, Product Management takes the stage.
Kansal is going to "dive a bit deeper" into the features.
Showing off charging on Touchstone - switches the device to "exhibition mode," which shows coming appointments and similar information.
Now here's something: A text message that comes in on the phone can be accessed from the TouchPad. Same for phone calls.
"These are a couple examples of how WebOS helps me integrate my devices."
10:51 AM: Email app:
-Email supports multiple accounts, lets you navigate according to an account or can view all accounts in one inbox.
-Multi message select for deleting, etc.
"On WebOS, multitasking was not an afterthought. It was key from day one."
10:56 AM: Multitasking & Notifications:
-Notifications don't interrupt workflow, wait in the upper right corner. Can be dismissed with a swipe or opened with a tap.
-Organizes messages from different aps all in one place
Keyboard can be resized - has multiple options for keyboard size, from small to medium to large for different size fingers.
11:00 AM: Social Networking Integration:
-Integrates photos from across social platforms, show Facebook comments on a photo from within the WebOS photo app.
"This is seamless integration with social networking."
-Also showing ability to quickly print from TouchPad - click through two quick windows and the photo is printed.
11:04 AM: TouchPad as an eReader
-Partnering with Amazon - will have access to books from Kindle collection.
-Renders text as well as color images, standard page flip animation
-Shows off video calling via Skype, from TouchPad to Pre3
"We're working to build video calling into all our applications."
11:10 AM: Bringing Pre3 together with TouchPad, one device can sync with the other to show the same Web page or content. Uses "TouchStone" technology.
11:12 AM: Availability: Wi-Fi version of TouchPad available this summer, followed later by 3G and 4G enabled devices.
-Snapdragon processors from Qualcomm power the devices unveiled today.
11:16 AM: Dr. Paul Jacobs - Qualcomm Chairman & CEO:
"The future is wide open when it comes to growth and opportunities in the mobile space."
Last year, shipped 399 million chipsets on a wide variety of devices - smartphones, netbooks, feature phones, eReaders, etc.
11:24 AM: TouchPad - first to support Beats audio system
Jimmy Lovine, CEO takes the stage.
"We're here to fix the degradation of music. We're working on everything from the file to the PC to the headphones to the speakers and right to the consumer."
The record industry downgrades music quality before shipping to iTunes.
"We're changing our pipes to 24 bit."
"Paul McCartney can engineer the music all he wants, when you play it on a Dell PC it sounds like it's coming from a portable TV."
"We have a million laptops with Beats audio. HP is stepping forward and it wants to own music. Computers are the de facto home stereo. Music is still the best app for the Internet."
-Developed a hardware/software solution with HP.
11:32 AM: Steven McArthur - Senior VP of Applications and Services
Facebook is fully integrated, is the long and short of it. Contacts, photos, notifications, etc.
"But, WebOS doesn't just enhance big players like Facebook."
SelfAware Games - used WebOS to create in-app payment structure (card games)
Kandutech - created Voogle - a Google Voice app
"We give developers a choice of powerful tools that are fun and easy to use."
Will be showing off SDK to over 500 developers tonight. Wants to help developers move away from stand-alone apps to deeper integration with full OS.
11:55 AM: Bringing WebOS to the PC
"Do the math on two PCs a second. Do the math on 2 printers per second. You easily excede 100 million devices annually. I think that's the start of something pretty big."
Apparently MC Hammer and Serena Williams are here. In case you were wondering.
"We're committed to helping build this ecosystem, from small to big, from local to global."
Alrighty, folks. That's about it for the HP event (and my laptop battery.)