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The HP Veer Debuts (and Personal Finance Links)

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Yesterday was release day for the first phone by Hewlett-Packard since they bought Palm. Followers of this blog know that I love my cell phones - and especially Palm cell phones. I worked in the industry for a few years as a software engineer, and my enjoyment for cell phones and what you can do with them has continued. I've been a very loyal customer of the Palm Software since the days of the Handspring Treo. Palm acquired the company and switched from making organizers to making phones. The Palm Treo 600 should go down in history as the first truly smart phone. It ran third party applications had a touch screen, gave you access to the full web pages including Javascript, and a bunch of other things.

The iPhone came around and crushed Palm into the ground. The first iPhone was pretty much on par with the Palm Treo's at the time, but Apple came out with newer phones. Palm decided to move to a new operating system to replace its aging one and developed Palm webOS. Unfortunately, the hardware that came out for the operating system was only competitive for a few months. Apple and Android devices passed it because companies with deeper pockets than Palm could get the devices out faster. HP recognized the value of Palm webOS and bought Palm. The release of the HP Veer is the first fruit of that labor.

The Veer lives up to its name. It veers away from the dominating trend in smart phones today. Smart phones today are like the cars in the 1950's - bigger is better. AT&T is releasing an Android phone today with a 4.5" screen. That's a half inch away from what Sony was using for it eReader tablets. In contrast the Veer goes back to the days when people liked small gadgets... remember the craze around the Motorola Razr? The Veer is about the size of a credit card and the thickness of a deck of cards. The screen is an extremely small 2.6 inches. However, at this size, it can do just about anything than any other smart phone can do. You can listen to your music, surf the web with a Webkit browser that Android and iPhone's use. It has third party downloadable applications. It also has a slide down physical keyboard for one-hand typing (this comes in handy when walking my dog for instance).

And now for the personal finance links:

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I'm curious to see how the market reacts to the Veer. In a lot of ways the big screen is helpful for viewing full web pages. I could see consumers not liking it for that reason. However, I could see other consumers like it because it's so small it slips into nearly any pocket without an issue. You could forget that you are carrying around. And at 3.6 ounces it's quite possible people will forget they are carrying it. For some consumers that might be the point. The ability to tether a tablet to its data connection to a tablet might make the screen size irrelevant for most.

I'm going to guess that it fails, but only because it isn't marketed as much as competing phones leading the average consumer to not understand the product.

Posted on May 16, 2011.

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