HP has officially introduced webOS 2.0, the most significant update to the platform since its launch in 2009, and confirmed its flagship handset, the Palm Pre 2.

Version 2.0 of the mobile OS will feature Stacks, JustType, as well as Skype and Facebook support. HP is also promising "true multitasking," which means you never have to close an app to do something else, and Flash 10.1 beta support in the browser. "With webOS 2.0, we're advancing the innovations we introduced 16 months ago, expanding the features that make webOS great for consumers, enterprises and developers, said Jon Rubinstein, senior vice president and general manager, Palm Global Business Unit, HP.

As for the Palm Pre 2, the main confirmed details are a 5MP camera and a 1GHz processor, both of which are an expected minimum for a smartphone these days. Other specifications are available on this page. The device will arrive in France this Friday from SFR, for a rumored price of 99 ($137) on-contract or 449 ($622) off-contract. The US and Canada will have to wait until sometime "in the coming months" to get their hands on one. It will be available on Verizon, although if you're a developer you'll be able to purchase an unlocked UMTS device (price still undisclosed).

This is a pleasant surprise for webOS fans. Ever since HP acquired Palm for $1.2 billion three months ago, they were wondering what would happen to their beloved mobile OS and were only told that new phones would arrive in early 2011. Those look like they're still coming, but now the impatient don't have to wait that long.