Why the leaked webOS device should be a priority

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| April 6, 2011

Here soon, hopefully very soon, HP will finally let loose the latest generation of webOS-powered devices. Coming in three different flavors (small, medium and large), two of the new devices take several cues from their older siblings in design elements, but the software on board is fresh and new, and even the upgraded hardware specifications make the new devices an eye-catching and noteworthy possibility for anyone wanting a new smartphone. But thanks to a newly leaked image, it looks like HP has another device waiting in the wings. A device that a lot of people want, but that they didn’t take the time to announce, or even hint at, at HP’s last webOS event. This device, an all-touchscreen handset, looks amazing in design, and also finally ditches the portrait-slider form factor.

webOS is a mobile OS that’s been marred by repetitive hardware, and it’s to the point where the OS wasn’t able to really take off due to the fact that a lot of people weren’t fans of the hardware, even when they continued to get slightly upgraded. The Pre 2 was the same way, as it looked almost exactly like the original Pre, but the upgraded internals and newer version of webOS made it somewhat of an enticing device to some people out there. Now, with the Pre 3 and Veer on the way down the pipe, HP finds themselves launching new/old hardware, with great new software yet again. And while the Pre 3 is now rumored to be heading to Verizon, that’s probably not enough to make it sell like hot cakes.

HP needs a new device. A device that throws the design elements of old right out the window, and accepts that in today’s world, the majority want a touchscreen-only experience. And that’s exactly what this new device looks to be. While specifications and any hard information about the handset are scarce at this point, we can see in the image that there’s definitely an all-touchscreen device there. There’s room at the bottom for a gesture area, and the display looks big enough to actually enjoy webOS on it on a daily basis.

But, HP’s keeping the lid on this device for now. And while they probably want to keep all of the focus on the Pre 3, Veer, and even the TouchPad until they launch, I think HP needs to start at least hinting at the existence of this device, and soon. If it’s the real deal, and the company does plan on launching an all-touchscreen handset in the coming months, even by the end of the year, this is something they could get potential customers excited about, well in advance. This handset should have been HP’s “one more thing” at their last webOS event, just to get people excited.

But instead we’re waiting for refreshed and familiar hardware with a brand new, and feature-packed mobile OS. Again. I’m personally interested in getting my hands on the Pre 3, but my love for webOS as a mobile operating system is driving that desire and not the hardware at all. Even with its updated and powerful hardware, I want a new form factor with those powerful internals. Hopefully this slate-looking device manages to break cover more often from here on out, and we get more information about it sooner than later.

What do you think about this new, leaked image? Does HP have a potential winner on their hands, as long as the hardware can match the software in performance and statistics? Or are you perfectly content with the portrait-slider form factor that’s been made famous by the Pre line-up? Let me know in the comments below what you think.