October 19, 2010 / 4:25 PM / 7 years ago

HP updates webOS software, sets new Pre smartphone

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Hewlett-Packard Co announced on Tuesday the latest version of Palm’s mobile operating system and a new model of the Palm Pre smartphone.

HP, which acquired Palm earlier this year for $1.2 billion in a bid to enter the smartphone and tablet markets currently dominated by Apple Inc, said the Pre 2 will be the first handset to run webOS 2.0, an updated version of the software Palm launched in 2009.

The Pre 2 will be available in France on Friday and will be sold in the coming months in the United States by Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc and Vodafone Group Plc, and in Canada.

Palm launched the Pre smartphone last year to good reviews but poor sales, and HP hopes to revitalize the brand through significant investment and its huge sales channel.

Palm held just a 1.2 percent share of the global smartphone market in 2009, according to Gartner.

HP has said it will launch a tablet based on Palm’s webOS next year.

Shares of Palo Alto, California-based HP fell 1.3 percent to $42.76 in late morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Reporting by Gabriel Madway, editing by Gerald E. McCormick

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