HP Veer: Is It Too Small To Be Functional?

On Wednesday, HP’s Jon Rubinstein announced the Veer smartphone that is smaller than a credit card. The Veer specifications are impressive.

After the presentation, reporters were allowed to try out the Veer. The Veer is amazingly small at 3.31 x 2.15 x 0.59 inches (84 x 54.5 x 15 mm) and it only weighs 3.63 oz (103 g).

The original Palm Pre was 3.96 x 2.34 x 0.67 inches (100.5 x 59.5 x 16.9 mm) and weighed 4.76 oz (135 g).

The Veer’s small display screen is a 2.57-inch LCD, capacitive multi-touch screen, it has both light sensor and proximity sensor, with 18-bit color, 320 x 400 resolution display, and a gesture area.

As you can see by the above photo, the screen resolution is readable. With two cards stacked, the GPS location in the Google map is a bit difficult to see. However, with a simple pincher stroke you can immediately zoom in on the image.

A Google search on the Veer was readable and the cellular network seemed responsive. The response time seemed faster than the Palm Pre Plus we have used in the past.

The Veer uses Qualcomm HSPA+ chipset. In the US with that chipset, there are only two choices, either AT&T or T-Mobile. We dialed our mobile number and checked it later. We found the number was assigned to AT&T. PC Magazine’s Mark Hackman agreed the Veer demo was on AT&T.

The main menu was very similar to the Palm Pre Plus and photos of webOS 2 demos. The keyboard slides down and out like all the Pre models. The buttons are tiny and it was not very easy for this reporter to ?thumb it?. The slide seemed to be smooth and didn’t wobble like the earlier Palm Pre was prone to do. The edge of the keyboard is not sharp like the original Palm Pre was.

Potential problem area are headsets and using USB. Due to its thickness, and sliding design, the HP Veer doesn’t have a 3.5mm headset jack or micro-USB port. The Veer has a small low-profile magnetic five-pin connector that is used to attach to the USB cable and to a 3.5 mm adapter. There were not any samples available for us to test the reliability of this idea.

The price was not announced and the delivery time was said to be in the spring. The problem with Palm’s past shipping dates is they are often five months after the announcement hoopla has faded away.

As everybody knows, by early summer Apple, Windows Phone 7, and every other Android smartphone maker will have something new on the street. Hopefully with HP driving the new webOS products, they will not be late getting into buyers? hands.

When BSN* the Veer sitting in the palm of our hand, one of our questions was who will buy it? Final judgments will have to wait until BSN has an evaluation unit to benchmark.