Palm previews Enyo framework for webOS app development

Palm previewed its forthcoming Enyo application development framework during its Developer Day event in New York City this weekend, touting a more flexible and efficient webOS software engineering experience compared to the current Mojo framework. Named after the Greek goddess of war, the Enyo touch UI framework is slated to roll out in 2011--specifics are scarce, but on his blog, Palm Developer Relations program co-director Dion Almaer promises a substantial performance upgrade over Mojo: "Enyo based apps start incredibly quickly and stay smooth," he writes. "This is an area that webOS needed to improve and Enyo makes huge strides." Almaer adds that Enyo also boasts "some fantastic developer ergonomics, especially around layout and the event design, which also helps make sure that you don't leak memory (obviously a huge thing on mobile)."

Additional benefits of Enyo include support for HTML5 web standards and features enabling the creation of cross-device apps that conform to multiple screen resolutions, dimensions and capabilities. Also on tap: Cross-platform solutions. "Enyo is too good to be stuck on any one platform," Almaer contends. "I think that the folks behind webOS know this. Having a set of tools and framework like this available for the web as a whole is going to add to the growing list of quality frameworks that are available for true touch applications." Palm is expected to release an Enyo SDK sometime early next year.

HP (which purchased Palm for around $1.2 billion in April) unveiled webOS 2.0 last month, touting a host of new features targeting both the consumer and enterprise segments while guaranteeing developers expanded openness to integrate their applications and services. HP webOS 2.0--debuting on the new Palm Pre 2 smartphone, slated to launch via Verizon Wireless in the coming months--introduces Just Type, enabling users to begin composing messages, search queries and status updates without opening a particular app; HP will allow developers access to the Just Type API, enabling them to integrate with the search function and add their own user-customizable shortcuts, dubbed Quick Actions. The webOS revamp also features Synergy, which automatically populates the device with information from the user's Facebook, Google, Microsoft Exchange, LinkedIn and Yahoo accounts--HP will extend Synergy to developers as well, giving them tools to plug new Messaging, Contacts and Calendar application sources directly into core webOS experiences.

Another new webOS 2.0 feature: Exhibition, which lets users run apps designed specifically for the Palm Touchstone Charging Dock while the smartphone is restoring its battery life. When a Palm Pre 2 unit is set on the charging dock, Exhibition launches automatically, showing consumers daily schedules, photo slideshows and other customizable content--according to HP, Exhibition also enables developers to display aspects of their existing app experience or create apps tailored expressly for use in charge mode. WebOS 2.0 adds Node.JS, giving developers the latitude to build services in JavaScript; they also can use the webOS Plug-In Development Kit (PDK) to combine C/C++ with web technologies in a single app. The revamped OS supports Adobe Flash Player 10.1 beta as well. HP also promises a redesigned Palm App Catalog storefront, bolstered by improved application discovery.

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