Palm’s webOS was hailed by critics as the best mobile operating system in the market when it was launched. Unfortunately, the lack of appealing handsets coupled with poor buzz led to disappointing sales for the would-be iPhone killer. When HP bought Palm, many of us hoped that its financial clout might just turn out to be what the doctor ordered. On its part, HP made it clear that they view webOS as a prized possession, and would like to “double down” on it.
HP has just announced the next generation webOS, and at least on paper, it’s an impressive update. 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.
HP webOS 2.0 will improve Palm’s original card metaphor interface and add powerful multi-tasking capabilities. The stacks feature in webOS 2.0 will automatically group related cards together to create a more intuitive multi-tasking environment.
Another new feature in webOS is Just Type, which is an evolution of Universal Search. Whenever you want to e-mail, send an SMS, update your status, or just search, you can simply start typing. WebOS will automatically take you to the appropriate destination. The Just Type feature can also be tapped into by app developers to provide a richer user experience. PalmCentral has a nice low-down on this new feature that is worth checking out.
HP has also beefed up webOS’ social capabilities with HP Synergy, which can be used by developers to add new Messaging, Contacts and Calendar application sources. The unified messaging app now includes support for Yahoo! Messenger. Other new features include Flash and Skype (for Verizon Wireless customers) support.
Palm Pre 2, which was also just announced, will be the first device to carry webOS 2.0. Pre 2 will be go on sale on Friday in France, and will be available in the coming months in the U.S. from Verizon Wireless.