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Thursday September 2, 2010 1:25 pm

Palm reveals WebOS 2.0


Posted by John Kilhefner Categories: Cell Phones, Software


webOS2.0
If there were an award for most underrated OS than Palm’s webOS would certainly be giving an acceptance speech. However, Palm is looking to tailor a new acceptance speech for ‘best OS around’ by introducing webOS 2.0. The new features slated for the upgrade are momentous to say the least, and with any luck HP will be able to help put Palm’s webOS where it should be in the smartphone market.

Stacks
Improving upon the already prolific multi-tasking capabilities of webOS, version 2.0 will make cards even more intuitive and easier to sort through. WebOS 2.0 will expand upon the card scheme of the original OS, but will introduce “stacking” into the mix. This will enable groups of cards to be kept in piles related to one another in order to minimize clutter and maximize efficiency. For instance, if you go to open a link in your Facebook app, it will become stacked within that group, and can be arranged and sorted as you please. Developers will even find that their applications will automatically be grouped by Stacks, requiring them to make no special changes to their applications.


Just Type
One of the more exciting and ambitious features of webOS 2.0 is the Just Type feature. This enables users to simply start typing without opening any application in order to update their status on social networking sites, create memos, send a text, e-mail, etc. If this feature can be pulled off intuitively then it will be a great asset for people who are constantly on the go and need to jot something down on the fly.

Exhibition
Giving the Palm Touchstone more uses then simply being a convenient charging dock and digital clock, Exhibition will turn your Palm device into a full blown widget manager. The potential for Exhibition is rather great, as you will be able to see stocks scrolling across your device as it charges, Facebook photos, news and sports, etc. From the get go Exhibition will have some out of the box support, but Palm is really looking to the developers to expand this aspect of webOS 2.0.

Synergy
Palm’s Synergy revolutionized the way smartphones link up with your online data in a significant way. Facebook, Google, LinkIn, AIM, and other accounts seamless integrate into the device to keep a clean way of storing information from a number of different places. With webOS 2.0 Synergy will be made available to developers as well. This will allow users to:

  • Connect to your chat or IM network from the webOS Messaging app
  • Access their personal contacts, their favorite businesses, or your community’s shared address book from the webOS Contacts UI
  • View and manage their personal and shared calendars, keep track of their favorite sports and entertainment events, and more, from within the webOS Calendar app

JavaScript Services
Also available for the developers is the JavaScript service Node.js, a runtime environment that is built into webOS 2.0. This will allow developers to build services in JavaScript in addition to their apps. JavaScript services will also work to enhance the system’s “low-level networking, file system access, and binary data processing—to the web technology stack.” What does this mean exactly? Basically, you will get better background processing and performance out of your webOS 2.0 device.

PDK Plug-ins
The PDK plug-ins for developers will make it easier for developers to port apps from other operating systems (iOS?), and will make application development “lightweight” while building heavy performance features such as graphics. This means that developers will be able to get the most out of their device with the least performance hiccups when creating applications.

HTML 5 Enhancements
Several HMTL 5 enhancements and features will give developers more wiggle room when creating apps and sites, such as:

  • Enhanced Canvas support, including image data and gradients
  • Support for Web Storage—both local and session storage
  • Geolocation support, allowing websites to access location information with the user’s permission
  • Application Cache, which lets websites cache resources on the device for offline use

As of now only participants of the Early Access Program have, well, early access to the webOS 2.0 SDK Beta. When exactly the updated webOS will hit the public is not certain yet, but expect even more features and subtleties in the new webOS 2.0 when it arrives later this year.

Read More | Palm

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