HP veer

We still think the HP Veer shows promise, mostly because of the webOS 2.0 platform. This "promise" is a bit like the grand hope of Linux that someone will finally get the interface right, and devs will start making must-download apps (coincidentally, webOS is based on Linux - actually, it makes perfect sense).

The Veer is a step in the right direction, but this particular model is just too small to be taken seriously as an everyday-use smartphone. Some of the new webOS features are making us eager to test the upcoming HP TouchPad, which may finally show webOS as a major contender.

We liked

The HP Veer has gone several steps further down the road that the Palm Pre and Pixi were on. It's a good thing that HP resurrected Palm, which was essentially poised to go under.

The card interface is logical and easy to use. There's something to be said for having cards grouped any way you want, especially if you keep an email open or stack up several videos you want to watch.

In truth, most of what we like about the Veer has to do with the intuitive interface - although we're impressed with the build quality for the most part, and the ability to play Flash Video is a plus, although we're not sure the processor can keep up.

We disliked

What we don't like is the phone itself – it's too small and quirky. The keyboard is terrible unless you have small fingers. The camera and video recording options were major letdowns because it's so hard to hold the device steady, and there are no settings for improving the picture.

Every promising feature – mapping, aggregated contacts, the Just Type feature – is made less compelling by the small size. If you buy the Veer you will find yourself squinting a lot, and the battery life is simply terrible for any phone, no matter the cost.

Verdict

In the end, the Veer is pointing in the right direction. We're not going to say "watch out Google" or "start counting your days Apple" – and we think even RIM BlackBerry has nothing to worry about – but we're also not predicting total failure. The Veer is just an early false restart for the webOS platform.

The main problem we have is working out who this phone is aimed at - is it teenagers with feasibly smaller fingers? They probably will want more apps and better messaging options. Media and camera fans need not apply, and the battery life rules out any kind of power user who might be interested in the newer OS.

The Veer is generally well-packaged, but unless it comes with a fantastic price point when it lands on UK shores, it's not going to be a winner for HP.