HP just announced the next generation webOS and it’s a doozy. This platform now has all the weapons necessary to fully compete in the smartphone wars: true multitasking, an updated version of the social media connection service Synergy, Adobe Flash 10.1, and a whole bunch of new advancements. Hardware is really the only thing missing now, but that’s set to change as the first webOS device, the Palm Pre 2, will hit later this week in France and in the coming months on Verizon in the states.
This big update comes 16 months after the original webOS devices dropped at CES ’09. The OS was herald as an iPhone killer back then, but the excitement was quickly hampered with poor hardware and carrier support. We’ve said all along that webOS is great, but the Pre and Pixie didn’t take advantage of it. Hopefully HP, with its massive manufacturing strength, can finally out hardware to take advantage of the OS. Oh, and a webOS tablet would be nice too. Just saying.
PALO ALTO, Calif., Oct. 19, 2010 – HP today announced HP webOS 2.0, the most significant update to the platform since its launch in 2009 and a substantial step in HP’s vision to transform how people think, feel and connect.
The first device to run webOS 2.0, HP’s new Palm Pre 2 smartphone, will be available on Friday in France from SFR and is scheduled to be available in the coming months in the United States from Verizon Wireless and in Canada.
“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. “We’ve made tremendous strides since the platform launched, and now we’re taking our biggest leap forward with powerful new features that make it easier to get more things done with your webOS device.”
webOS 2.0 offers consumers compelling application experiences not available on any other platform, while providing developers an unparalleled level of openness to integrate their applications and services. The next generation of webOS makes it easier to get more done:
True Multitasking – Pause a game, tap an email notification, check your calendar, read a restaurant review, send an email reply, then switch back to the game without closing anything.(1,2) webOS lets you easily manage multiple open applications and notifications using natural touch gestures. New in webOS 2.0, Stacks logically groups together your open apps so they work the way you do. Whether you’re reading email or planning a night on the town, Stacks keeps related items together so managing multiple tasks is even easier.
Just Type – Start an email, create a message, update your status, search your favorite websites – all before you’ve even opened an app.(1) With webOS 2.0, whenever you want to do something on your phone – whether it’s emailing, texting, searching or almost anything – just type. And Just Type is open to developers, so they can integrate with the search function and add their own user-customizable shortcuts, called Quick Actions.
HP Synergy – webOS was the first mobile OS to connect you seamlessly to multiple web services. With the Synergy feature, you just have to sign in to your Facebook, Google, Microsoft® Exchange, LinkedIn and Yahoo! accounts and your information automatically populates your phone.(3) webOS 2.0 will extend the support for Synergy so developers can easily plug new Messaging, Contacts and Calendar application sources directly into the core webOS experiences.(4)
Exhibition – A new way to use your webOS phone, Exhibition lets you run apps designed specifically for the Palm Touchstone Charging Dock, turning charge time into useful time.(4, 5) Set your phone on the dock and Exhibition launches automatically, showing you anything from today’s agenda to a slideshow of your Facebook photos. Exhibition will enable developers to display aspects of their existing app experience or create specialized apps for use when users have their webOS device in charge mode on the charging dock.
Adobe® Flash® Player 10.1 Beta – With version 2.0, webOS now supports a beta of Adobe Flash Player 10.1 in the browser, which provides access to rich, Flash based web content.(6)
webOS 2.0 also includes many more new features, including the following:
Favorites – With webOS 2.0, you can tag your favorite contacts so they appear as favorites in Phone and Contacts views. When you search for them by name, they instantly show up at the top of the Contacts, Email, Messaging and Phone apps. Favorites make it simple to get in touch fast.
Skype Mobile™ (Verizon Wireless only) – For Verizon Wireless customers, webOS 2.0 supports Skype-to-Skype calls and messaging while in the United States to anywhere in the world, and low-rate calls to international landlines and cell phones.
Text Assist – webOS 2.0 offers greatly expanded capabilities to spell check, auto correct, set up macros and customize the dictionary.
Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite – An all-new document viewer from the leading provider of mobile document viewers offers support for Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents and provides integration with a variety of services, including Google Docs and Dropbox.
Facebook 2.0 – Available via the Palm App Catalog, Facebook 2.0 will support Facebook IM via Synergy in the Messaging application,(4) as well as Stacks, status updates via Quick Action and the Exhibition feature.
Browser – The browser adds support for more HTML5 features, including geolocation support. OpenSearch plugin support makes it easy to add your favorite websites to Just Type web search.
Messaging – The unified Messaging app in webOS 2.0 adds Yahoo! IM and buddy management. Customers can now connect to their buddies through SMS, MMS, Google Talk, AIM and Yahoo! IM.
VPN – webOS 2.0 supports the most popular ways to connect to a corporate network, including IPsec and Cisco AnyConnect mobile optimized VPN, which supports SSL (TLS and DTLS).
App Catalog – The redesigned Palm App Catalog makes finding and discovering great apps even easier.(7) And the new Software Manager helps you keep your apps up-to-date.
Launcher – A redesigned app launcher lets you add, label and reorder launcher pages.
Phone – The webOS 2.0 Phone app lets you easily dial your favorites and offers reverse area code lookup and Skype Mobile integration (Skype Mobile for Verizon Wireless only).
Accounts – The new Accounts app provides a single place to manage all your Synergy accounts.
Bluetooth® keyboards – webOS now supports Bluetooth keyboards and Bluetooth SPP peripherals, enabling applications such as barcode readers and realty lock boxes.
More information about the features of webOS 2.0 is available at www.palm.com/softwareupdate.
Introducing Palm Pre 2
HP also introduced the Palm Pre 2 smartphone, the latest evolution to the Palm Pre lineup. Pre 2 is the first Palm phone with a gigahertz processor and features a 5-megapixel camera, a glass screen and a sleeker, streamlined design that still gives users the ideal combination of a vivid touchscreen and a slide-out keyboard.
More information about Palm Pre 2, including features and specifications, is available at www.palm.com/Pre2.
Palm Pre 2 featuring webOS 2.0 will be available on Friday in France from SFR and is scheduled to be available in the coming months in the United States from Verizon Wireless and in Canada. The webOS 2.0 update will be delivered to existing customers in the coming months, with exact timing to be announced at a later date.
Developers will be able to purchase unlocked UMTS versions of Pre 2 in the United States to use as a canvas to build the next generation of webOS applications and services. More information about the purchase program will be available at http://developer.palm.com/devdevices.html.