As a way to shoehorn its way into the smartphone market, last April HP acquired Palm along with its webOS mobile operating system. Obviously keen to see a return on its US$1.2 billion investment HP today unveiled three new mobile devices running webOS – a 9.7-inch tablet called the TouchPad and two new smartphones, the pint-sized HP Veer and the third generation Pre, called predictably enough, the HP Pre 3.

HP Pre 3

The business-oriented Pre 3 retains a similar form factor to the original Palm Pre, which became the first device to use webOS at its launch in 2009. There’s the familiar rounded corners and vertical slide out keyboard, but HP says Pre 3’s backlit keyboard is the largest and widest on any webOS phone to date. The display has also been improved with the Pre 3 sporting a 3.58-inch multitouch screen with 480 x 800 pixel resolution. A 5-megapixel rear-facing camera provides 720p HD video recording, while a new front-facing VGA camera enables video calling.

A 1.4GHz Snapdragon processor provides the grunt for true multitasking with users able to switch between multiple open applications without closing anything. The Pre 3 is available with 8 or 16GB of memory, which can be used to store files that can be easily transferred to or from PCs or other devices via a USB mass storage mode. The device supports 802.11 b/g/n and can act as a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to five devices. There’s also Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR with A2DP stereo, integrated GPS and A-GPS, proximity sensor, compass and support for Adobe Flash Player 10.1 beta.

The HP Pre 3 measures 111 x 64 x 16 mm (4.37 x 2.52 x .63 inches) and weighs 156 g (5.5 oz). HP will offer HSPA + and EVDO Rev A world phone versions of the phone when it is released later this year.

HP Veer

With a form factor “the size of a credit card and no thicker than a deck of cards” the everyday consumer-oriented HP Veer looks like a Pre 3 that has been hit with a shrink ray. In a market dominated by slab of glass smartphones, HP is hoping to attract consumers looking for something a bit different. Measuring just 54.5 x 84.0 x 15.1 mm (2.1 x 3.3 x 0.6 inches) and weighing in at 103 g (3.6 oz) the Veer is the smallest phone to run webOS to date.

The Veer is powered by an 800MHz Snapdragon processor and sports a 2.57-inch, 320 x 400 pixel resolution multitouch screen. It sports many of the same features as the Pre 3 including the vertical slide out keyboard and 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, but there’s no front-facing camera, A-GPS or compass. Still, not bad for a phone of this size.

The HP Veer will come in Tri-band UMTS and quad-band GSM/EDGE world phone varieties when it is released in a few months.

HP is yet to announce pricing and carriers for both the Veer and the Pre 3.