Palm's webOS 2.0 touts more open developer experience

Almost two years after the premiere of Palm's webOS smartphone operating system, HP unveiled webOS 2.0, touting a host of new features targeting both webOS 2.0the consumer and enterprise segments while promising 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.

HP will offer unlocked UMTS versions of the Palm Pre 2 to U.S. developers looking to create webOS 2.0 applications and services. More information on the purchase program is here.

In related news, Palm Developer Relations program co-directors Dion Almaer and Ben Galbraith are leaving HP to launch a new software development consultancy. "It's been a singular experience being part of the Palm webOS story up to now and we're confident that the new resources HP brings will take the developer program to the next level," Almaer and Galbraith write on the HP Palm Developer Center Blog. "We are happy to share that we will continue to work with HP as consultants and we look forward to being an active part of the webOS developer community."

For more on webOS 2.0:
- read this release

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