I just went to the AT&T store in downtown Walnut Creek, California to check out the new HP Veer. I asked the greeter about it and was pointed to a display at the back of the store. The Veer shared counter space with the Pixi and another tiny phone (I believe it was a Pantech).
The first thing I did was pull out my Palm Pre to compare it with the Veer. It kind of resembled a SUV next to a VW Golf. The Veer was cute for sure and that, I believe, will be a key selling point.
As for accessing the keyboard, I found it just as difficult at the original Palm Pre. It takes a forceful shove to get it open. What I immediately noticed is that with the Palm Pre, you can do that shove without impacting the viewing area. With the Veer, shove equals smudge. Not good.
Then I played with the swiping. My real goal was to get to try to open a number of apps to test not only how the cards worked in this version of webOS, but to see if I could live with the screen size. That's where I ran into issues.
The Veer was locked into setup mode -- forcing a User Name, Password (twice) and email address to set up an account. What the...? Yes, I get that is a necessary step once you purchase the device. But for playing with it in the store?? Didn't they have some kind of demo mode? The Pixi next to it was in a self-running demo mode. Seemed really weird to me.
I tried rebooting it, but it returned to that screen forcing the profile setup information.
Tired of fooling around, I walked out. Too bad too. I was actually pondering opening an AT&T account if I liked what I saw. My conclusions are:
1) To AT&T, this is just another 4G phone which will sell itself (or not).
2) HP can't seriously think that dropping it into a sales channel will work... especially at AT&T. The Veer will only sell if HP takes complete control of every aspect of how the product is displayed/demoed.
3) If you really want one of these, order it online. Going to a retail outlet is a waste of time.
4) And if you order it without playing with it first AND have older eyes, there is a strong possibility you'll end up returning the Veer. From what I could tell, the screen is tiny and not necessary conducive to doing any extended mobile web activity.
I really wanted to be wowed today. Instead... all I can say is that I'm veery disappointed.
To learn more about the Veer, please checkout write-ups like this one from our sister site, PreCentral.
Note to HP: Please do a better job with the Pre3 rollout and do it quickly!
HP Veer Dimensions
Weight = 3.63 ounces
Size (inches) = 3.30 X 2.15 X 0.6 inches
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Read Merciful by Casey Adolfsson