And just like that, the rumor mill smirks. HP has just come clean with a device that we've been hearing more and more about over the past few weeks, and with it will come the next generation of webOS that we've been hearing about for even longer. The Palm Pre 2 will be the first device to ship with HP webOS 2.0, with the revamped and renamed (presumably to use on more than just Palm smartphones) mobile OS promising "true multitasking," Stacks (for organizing apps) Just Type, HP Synergy (links your email and social networking accounts), Exhibition (enabling users to run apps designed specifically for the Palm Touchstone Charging Dock) and support for Adobe's Flash Player 10.1 Beta. It's also bringing along a new Favorites tagging option, Skype Mobile (on the Verizon version only), text assist, integrated Quickoffice, VPN support, a redesigned launcher and full support for Bluetooth keyboards and SPP peripherals.
As for Pre 2 itself? Little is being revealed at the moment, but we're told to expect a 1GHz CPU, a five megapixel camera (LED flash, extended depth of field, geotagging, and video capture), glass display and a "sleeker, streamlined design" that still combines a touchpanel with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. In other words, it's a faster, slimmer Pre, and some would argue it's what the Pre Plus should've been. At any rate, SFR customers in France will get first dibs on Friday, with Verizon and an undisclosed carrier in Canada scheduled to get it "in the coming months." Oh, and as for US-based developers? They'll be able to purchase unlocked UMTS versions of the Pre 2 (!) in their homeland, though pricing remains elusive.
Update: The Pre 2 portal is now live, showcasing a 3.1-inch 480 x 320 (HVGA) multitouch display, a black enclosure, Exchange support, built-in GPS, ambient light / proximity sensors, an accelerometer, 802.11b/g WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, 16GB of inbuilt storage space, a battery good for around 5.5 hours of talking and a 3.5mm headphone jack.