Palm Begins to Preview webOS 2.0
Last week's big story was the public emergence of the first concrete details about WebOS 2.0 from the HP/Palm camp. These tidbits have now been bolstered by a series of leaked WebOS 2.0 screenshots that apparently originated on a Chinese WebOS enthusiast site Webozi (now removed but still available at engadget).
First, a brief overview of some of the coming enhancements for WebOS 2.0: a few highlights of WebOS 2.0 were announced on Palm's develop page. The first is "Stacks", a natural extension of WebOS' existing card-based multi-tasking metaphor. Stacks will group related cards in separate stacks, making it easier for users to juggle multiple open programs simultaneously.
Another new feature that is an improvement of an existing WebOS 1.x feature is "Just Type". Basically a refreshed Universal Search, user-initiated typing triggers the appropriate app or function, such as a creating an email, searching the web, or updating a social networking status or feed. Developers will now be able to tie into this functionality as well.
Additional WebOS 2.0 features are less exciting but still welcome additions, such as "Exhibition" mode for devices attached to a Touchstone dock. This appears to largely be a response to the popularity of the increasingly complex dock modes found on the latest generation of Android 2.x handsets.
The leaked WebOS 2.0 screenshots don't reveal any revolutionary new UI changes or overhauls but rather reinforce Palm's claims that everything has been expanded, improved, and enhanced. A unified Synergy account manager is present, along with support for more services such as Dropbox, including the rather puzzling inclusions of Skype and MobileMe. Also, a much-needed overhaul has been given to the phone app, with GSM Treo-style icons at the bottom for switching between voicemail, favorites, contacts, and the dial pad. Finally, the Quickoffice WebOS integration, all-but-confirmed with last week's story, is now confirmed as the replacement for the departed Documents To Go.
The full sneak preview of WebOS 2.0 can be found on Palm's Developer Page.