According to the photos posted to SFR's web site, the Palm Pre 2 is a vertical slider with a touch screen. It is black, and still looks like a smooth, round river stone. At a glance, you couldn't differentiate between the original Palm Pre and the Palm Pre 2. That's bad.
Palm's rebooted webOS might have won over some smartphone users, but Palm's newer generation hardware simply doesn't measure up to the competition. The original Pre's screen is tiny and has low resolution compared to the monstrous Android devices in the market.
What is different? SFR notes that the Palm Pre 2 has a 1GHz processor on board, with 512MB of memory and webOS 2.0. The hatch covering the USB port appears to have been removed, and the keys on the QWERTY keyboard have a slightly different shape to them (the original keyboard was a disaster).
On the software side of things, webOS 2.0 will support push notifications, better battery life, and all-around improved performance. It will also boast much faster boot times. That's all good, because the original Pre was sluggish.
Palm has been very quiet about new hardware since being acquired by HP earlier this year. We haven't seen genuinely new hardware from Palm in nearly a year. For it to debut a third variation on an already-tired hardware design could be disastrous for Palm.
If there's one thing HP's new mobile business needs, it is to churn out some class-leading hardware and not rely on a design that is two years old.
This is why I can only hope that the information on SFR's web site is inaccurate. If it's right, Palm is in much more dire straights than previously thought.