Six months without the HP Pre3 [editorial]
Think back a little ways. Now think back a bit longer, all the way to February 9th, 2011. It was the day we’ve come to refer to as “Think Beyond,” where HP introduced the Veer and Pre3 smartphones and the first webOS tablet – the HP TouchPad. While the Veer and TouchPad have seen their public debuts, with the TouchPad most recently hitting the market a little over a month ago, the Pre3 is still missing in action. Well, technically it’s more AWOL than MIA – you actually have to make it to the battlefield first. Why’s this a problem? Because Think Beyond was six months ago.
Six months is an eternity in the fast moving world of the modern cell phone. In the past six months, Nokia hooked up with Microsoft who had also unleashed the Mango update to Windows Phone 7, Research in Motion renamed BlackBerry 6.1 to 7.0 and released a slew of new phones and the PlayBook, and approximately eighteen thousand new Android phones were announced and released. That’s not to mention the iOS ecosystem, where Apple previewed iOS 5 but didn’t release an updated iPad or iPhone, yet still managed to secure the lion’s share of headlines.
HP, on the other hand, released the Veer to underwhelming reviews and we suspect poor sales, and the TouchPad to the same. Through it all, we’ve been hearing the ongoing cry from the webOS community: “We want the Pre3!”
We hear you, and we’re sure HP hears you, but HP needs to hear this too: more than six months from announcement to release is a recipe for disappointment. We know the Pre3 isn’t going to have received any hardware updates in this time (the original Pre sure as heck didn’t), so this six months has been spent focusing on the TouchPad and polishing the Pre3’s software so webOS 2.2 is perfect for release, right?
So here we are, six months after the Pre3 was announced. It’s gone from a powerhouse phone that would have been at the lead of the smartphone pack in specifications and performance to a phone that is still high-end, but not carrier flagship material. The non-release of the Pre3 to this point has felt more like the Palm of old and much like HP (whom we’ve seen flex their scale muscle to with the TouchPad).
The Pre3 was a contender back in February. Now we’re not so sure. We’re not going to go so far as to declare the Pre3 dead-on-arrival as some others have – we certainly still want one and we know many of you do as well – but unless HP pulls out some sort of pricing and marketing miracle, it’s also not going to be the rebirth of the webOS smartphone that we’ve been waiting more than two years for.