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Centro 2 Running WebOS in the Works?

Centro 2 WebOSRumor: Just days after Palm announced the exciting Pre phone with a drastically new formfactor, rumors have already begun to surface regarding the next device destined to run Palm's new WebOS.

I heard from a seemingly reliable firsthand source that Palm is prepping a new Centro 2 to debut later this fall on Sprint. It will supposedly be around the same size as the current Centro and will be powered by the Palm WebOS.

Adding further substance to the rumor is a PCMag article addressing the top fifteen questions surrounding Palm's new platform. According to them, the device will omit the QWERTY keyboard in order to maximize the available screen real estate necessary for the various icons and cards that form the basis of WebOS.

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no Linux access

tompi @ 1/11/2009 6:46:57 PM # Q
From the article: "14.) Is webOS Linux based? Yes, but developers won't get access to the Linux core."

That rules out many important classes of applications, including imaging and games.

RE: no Linux access
craigf @ 1/11/2009 7:24:27 PM # Q
Quake Live runs at 1280x1024, 60fps inside a browser.

RE: no Linux access
tompi @ 1/11/2009 7:42:28 PM # Q
Quake Live uses a native code plugin, exactly the kind of code Palm says they won't let people write.

(Of course, Palm may get into legal trouble over this; the Linux license requires them to make the source code for the kernel available.)

RE: no Linux access
lobotomic @ 1/12/2009 2:09:10 AM # Q
""" (Of course, Palm may get into legal trouble over this; the Linux license requires them to make the source code for the kernel available.) """

They will surely provide source code for the kernel. What they are not required to do is to provide the means to replace that kernel for another; this means they can design hardware that runs only a linuk kernel that is signed by them, so removing the restrictions that it imposes should be difficult.

The lingo for this is "Tivoization" because Tivo were the first to discover they could lock their flavor of linux onto their machines, thus getting Linux for free without having to yield control on what their users could run.

Rivers of bad blood have run on this subject, and it is the main reason why the GPL license Version 3 was designed. But Linux is GPL V2, and intended to remain so.

Sooner or later the protection will be broken, and you will be able to load a custom linux distribution, but the point is, that does not really matter, because it will be a marginal activity, apps will not integrate with webOS proper, and all of webOS (do I really have to say that?) apps will be jailed with Palm's restrictions.

Still, not everything has been said yet about huevos, and I would not be surprised in the slightest if there were bindings for languages other than Javascript; in fact, I would if there weren't, because there MUST be some intelligent people at Palm that just know their next shot in the foot would be the final.

RE: no Linux access
conorn @ 1/12/2009 2:58:10 AM # Q
From PCMag:

8.) Will the Pre run Palm OS apps?
Not initially, but a third party could write a Palm OS emulator.

That surely indicates that there must be some lower-level access available, or will be.

RE: no Linux access
tompi @ 1/12/2009 3:45:00 AM # Q
"They will surely provide source code for the kernel. What they are not required to do is to provide the means to replace that kernel for another"

People don't have to replace the kernel in order to put applications on top of it. The fact that they have to publish the kernel source means that the ABI and device interfaces are open.

Theoretically, Palm could try to design the hardware and software such that it is impossible to load binaries on top of it. Almost nobody has succeeded in doing that yet, and I doubt Palm has the discipline to achieve that.

RE: no Linux access
palmato @ 1/12/2009 4:21:12 AM # Q
If Palm is serious about third party application development, sooner or later they will release a native SDK just as Apple did. Mojo looks like a stopgap measure to give developers something to chew while waiting.



-------------
Hey Admin: Why do we have to keep two profiles?

RE: no Linux access
jeffhoward001 @ 1/12/2009 11:32:51 AM # Q
WAYYY too early to make assumptions like this guys. I'd be willing to bet the farm that they'll come up with some tiered level of core lib access for "approved" partners. And honestly, I don't blame them one bit! I've been a PalmOS user for 6+ years now, and the biggest stability issues in Garnet are based around shitty apps, or apps that have a low-level driver that quite honestly the coder did have have the skills to write. If you're a long-time PalmOS user, you definitely know what I'm talking about.

Coming from a software development company, I can vouch that finding a balance between protecting stability and providing open access for developers is a delicate dance, and I don't blame them one bit for erroring on the side of stability in the beginning.

- Jeff

Tungsten T -> Palm TX -> TX & Centro (Good combo so far!)

RE: no Linux access
tompi @ 1/12/2009 5:31:45 PM # Q
"WAYYY too early to make assumptions like this guys"

It's not an assumption, it's Palm's corporate position.

"Coming from a software development company, I can vouch that finding a balance between protecting stability and providing open access for developers is a delicate dance,"

Of course it is. That doesn't make it any less serious of an omission. Not providing native access is akin to releasing the device without 3G capabilities, or with a 240x320 screen, or with some other serious limitation.

RE: no Linux access
lobotomic @ 1/12/2009 11:55:47 PM # Q
"""People don't have to replace the kernel in order to put applications on top of it. The fact that they have to publish the kernel source means that the ABI and device interfaces are open.

Theoretically, Palm could try to design the hardware and software such that it is impossible to load binaries on top of it. Almost nobody has succeeded in doing that yet, and I doubt Palm has the discipline to achieve that."""

You can show all the world how your kernel only loads signed binaries and that won't do you much good if you don't have the appropriate keys.

As for nobody succeeding, it does not really matter. It might be satisfying to jailbreak your phone and installing one of the three available Forbidden Apps, but 99.99999% of the users will be out of that market, which will keep it sadly unsupplied, which will keep 99.99999% of the users out of it.

And I agree with others here, low-level access will surely be coming, when it's done. Tiered or not, I don't know.

RE: no Linux access
tompi @ 1/14/2009 8:41:41 PM # Q
"which will keep it sadly unsupplied, which will keep 99.99999% of the users out of it. [...] And I agree with others here, low-level access will surely be coming, when it's done. Tiered or not, I don't know."

And that pretty much sums up my point: Palm can't really keep low level apps or malware off the platform, but by not actively supporting this from the start, they are greatly limiting the platform. And we're not talking about a restriction that exists right now, we are talking about a restriction that apparently will exist at launch time, six+ months from now.

Reply to this comment

This rumor doesn't sound credible...

bhartman34 @ 1/11/2009 7:35:48 PM # Q
According to them, the device will omit the QWERTY keyboard in order to maximize the available screen real estate necessary for the various icons and cards that form the basis of WebOS.

That's obvious and complete nonsense. Any device Palm puts out has to have either Graffiti or a keyboard. There isn't any other option. Since it appears Graffiti is dead, I've got to call B.S. on any claim that a keyboardless WebOS phone will come out.

RE: This rumor doesn't sound credible...
hkklife @ 1/11/2009 8:18:25 PM # Q
I would agree but the source was "industry-affiliated" and seemed pretty confident in it. Perhaps a decent onscreen keyboard is in the works for WebOS and it'll be ready in time for the Centro 2?


In all honesty, I could see physical QWERTY keyboard-less Centro2 working better with WebOS than a 320x320 tiny screen Centro2 with a keyboard.


WebOS basically needs a good deal of screen real estate and seems highly optimized for "tall" portrait displays.

Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->Zodiac 2->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p->?

RE: This rumor doesn't sound credible...
DarthRepublican @ 1/11/2009 9:48:52 PM # Q
Why would Graffiti be dead? Anyone who has ever used Graffiti Anywhere or the older NewPen utility knows that Treos continued to ship the Graffiti libraries on their devices long after Palm (actually Handspring since I am talking about going all the way back to the Treo 180, 270, and 600) eliminated the Graffiti area. It wouldn't surprise me at all to find out that there is some sort of Graffiti 3 hidden in the bowels of the webOS as well. Palm might not have told anyone about it because it's not ready for prime time yet or because they want to avoid confusing users whatever the reason that they had for not telling anybody about the hidden Graffiti support on Treos. It is absolutely possible that Graffiti or some sort of son of Graffiti library is alive and well on webOS.

Screw convergence
Palm III->Visor Deluxe->Visor Platinum->Visor Prism->Tungsten E->Palm LifeDrive->Palm TX
Visor Pro+VisorPhone->Treo 180g->Treo 270->Treo 600->Treo 680->T-Mobile G1
http://mind-grapes.blogspot.com/
RE: This rumor doesn't sound credible...
heavyduty @ 1/12/2009 12:12:52 AM # Q
On Palm's blog a Palm rep said there are new devices in the works.

If Palm offers a slideout physical keyboard then there's no reason they couldn't (and shouldn't?) offer a front-facing physical keyboard (think 'i-mate 8502'). Personally I'd find that form factor very appealing, and even more given that webOS starts a device + web search as soon as you type something on the keyboard, so I would want to have that keyboard available at all times.

I'd say go for it.

Palm Vx (a classic) -> Palm 505 (*yawn*) -> Dell Axim (slooow...) -> Palm TE (great) -> Qtek 9090 (great idea, lousy platform) -> Nokia 6630 (a toy) -> iMate SP3i (not bad) -> Nokia 9300 (can't sync notes!!) -> Treo 650 (awesome) -> hw6915 (almost perfect) -> Nokia E51 (un/impressive) -> Touch Enhanced (nice!) -> Samsung 780 (mousepad woes)

RE: This rumor doesn't sound credible...
grimpeur @ 1/12/2009 1:00:04 AM # Q
I hope a Graffiti subsitute, be it an official Palm release or a 3rd party add on is available for WebOS. I think that being able to 'draw' graffiti characters on the touch screen with your finger to enter text might actually work quite well. On my old LifeDrive I actually enter graffiti characters with my finger nail rather than the stylus quite a lot of the time and can do it pretty accurately.

RE: This rumor doesn't sound credible...
bhartman34 @ 1/12/2009 2:31:59 AM # Q
Perhaps a decent onscreen keyboard is in the works for WebOS and it'll be ready in time for the Centro 2?

I could see this, except for the fact that Palm spent a good deal of energy dismissing virtual keyboards when they announced the Pre. That would strongly suggest that they're not going to follow up on this model with one with a virtual keyboard. That would almost certainly come back to bite them, wouldn't it?

What I see happening instead is them releasing a Centro-sized device without the hard buttons, with the (capacitive) screen flush with the device, with a keyboard. If you take out the hard buttons and put the gesture area there (or maybe put part of the screen and the gesture area there) you could end up with a good, Pre-like device.

The reason I think Graffiti is dead is because they haven't included it in recent models. You don't get Graffiti on the Centro, for instance, without Jot installed. I also think that the abandonment of the resistive screen bodes ill for Graffiti. It's possible, but a good deal more difficult, to use Graffiti with your finger. And finally, there's the fact that WebOS is gesture-based. How are those gestures going to live together comfortably with Graffiti? As it was, Graffiti2 was more difficult because certain characters would be mistaken for other characters/movements. (Think about the Graffiti2 "X", for example.)

I just don't see a virtual keyboard in the cards, and I think Graffiti isn't practical in the new direction Palm is going...



RE: This rumor doesn't sound credible...
LiveFaith @ 1/12/2009 4:13:03 AM # Q
** in order to maximize the available screen real estate necessary **

This is why the rumor does not sound credible. Since when has Palm cared about the greatest lost opportunity in Palm design history. Gosh, just the thot that rumors are being tossed around like this makes me want to pinch myself. Therefore it must be a dream. Wow.

I for one could live with a VK on a screen optimized device. A Centro FF could work, but I'm actually hoping for a larger device filling a Treo like frontal area with display. Or my dream is a T3,T5,TX (credit card) sized screen in a device only fractionally larger than the screen itself.

Ahhh well, since were dreamin' ...
http://tinyurl.com/87ph5a

Pat Horne

RE: This rumor doesn't sound credible...
bhartman34 @ 1/12/2009 9:27:34 AM # Q
This is why the rumor does not sound credible. Since when has Palm cared about the greatest lost opportunity in Palm design history. Gosh, just the thot that rumors are being tossed around like this makes me want to pinch myself. Therefore it must be a dream. Wow.

I don't see the problem as a screen real estate one. The Pre certainly seems to take advantage of available surface area for screen real estate, and I think that a virtual keyboad would have the advantage of being able to slide out of the way when not in use. From a design point of view, the problem I see is that the keyboad would have to be too small to fit on anything Centro-sized. Pushing physical buttons is a very different experience from using a touchscreen, because the buttons are flat and your thumbs hit the screen flatly. Cento-sized keys in a virtual keboard would be too small, and how are you going to fit lager virtual keys on something Centro-sized?

Now, they could surprise us, and go with a larger form factor, but I'm doubting that right now. They seem to have settled on this one. Hell, the Pre screen is large compared to the Centro screen, and comparable in size to the iPhone, so I don't see them going much larger. The much-hoped-for TX with a cell radio is a pipe dream.

RE: This rumor doesn't sound credible...
LiveFaith @ 1/12/2009 4:14:43 PM # Q
** I don't see the problem as a screen real estate one. **

Not on the Pre. They actually did quite well there. It's the other 693 designs that they have released since the pilot. All most all waste 50%+ of the device frontal space forcing the user to do business in 50% or less of the remaining space.
if they
The Pre is encouraging, and a candybar Centro with HVGA and VK would work too. Actually the same FF of the Centro could remain with the HVGA if they would get efficient with the wasted space and oversized app keys. Check this crude example @ only about 10% longer. Pretty easy it would seem.

http://i202.photobucket.com/albums/aa125/livefaith/CentroHVGA.jpg

Pat Horne

RE: This rumor doesn't sound credible...
Gekko @ 1/12/2009 4:18:09 PM # Q

any "Centro 2" with WebOS will be a Centro in NAME ONLY.

now stop being silly!!!!!!!!

Reply to this comment

Betting a Foleo-2 will be the next webOS device

freakout @ 1/12/2009 4:08:54 AM # Q
The netbook craze is only just beginning, and webOS seems like it might just be a great platform for that form factor - with a few more apps, that is. Rubinstein was boasting of "laptop-like performace" from the Pre, so it's not that much of a stretch to imagine that the same kind of hardware could easily power a bigger device.

Many of the Foleo concepts appear to have turned up in webOS - the idea of "no saving" of your data, or the smart syncing that keeps your stuff the same across all your devices. And the core concept is still solid - sometimes, you just need a full-size keyboard and a big screen in order to get real work done, without all the overhead of a desktop OS.

Foleo with a gesture area below the keyboard, maybe?

Or a webOS tablet?

I think Palm will hold off on more webOS smartphones until the Pre is firmly established - let's say at least a year on the market. In the meantime, they've still got Garnet Centros and WinMob devices like the Pro to keep up variety in their smartphone lineup.

Tim
I apologise for any and all emoticons that appear in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.
Treo 270 -> Treo 650 -> Treo 680 -> Centro

RE: Betting a Foleo-2 will be the next webOS device
LiveFaith @ 1/12/2009 4:18:14 AM # Q
Sounds great. I for one (maybe the only one) was actually considering the Foleo. Seamless (vaporware) integration with my Treo, quick and uncluttered access to biz apps on the road in small FF sounded appealing. Was hoping for a final lauch device with some actual horsepower tho.
Device like this needs to be the size of the MB Air.

Pat Horne
RE: Betting a Foleo-2 will be the next webOS device
SeldomVisitor @ 1/12/2009 5:27:15 AM # Q
When it existed, the "new" management page for Andy Brown, CFO, showed some type of small laptop in front of him.

RE: Betting a Foleo-2 will be the next webOS device
twizza @ 1/12/2009 7:42:50 AM # Q
@SV: that page still does exist, and your observations are quite interesting:
http://www.palm.com/us/company/management-team/brown-andrew.html

mobileministrymagazine.com
antoinerjwright.com
RE: Betting a Foleo-2 will be the next webOS device
Gekko @ 1/12/2009 8:14:24 AM # Q

i'm pretty sure that's a Dell Latitude, silly. i have the same one.

RE: Betting a Foleo-2 will be the next webOS device
SeldomVisitor @ 1/12/2009 8:57:21 AM # Q
If it's a Dell then (1) It's small and (2) it's the only nonPalm device on the management web pages.

RE: Betting a Foleo-2 will be the next webOS device
Gekko @ 1/12/2009 9:00:54 AM # Q

Colligan has a Dell PC sitting on his desk, silly. and there was nobody on the grassy knoll either.

RE: Betting a Foleo-2 will be the next webOS device
BaalthazaaR @ 1/12/2009 10:50:43 AM # Q
And he is holding what looks to be a Motorolla flip phone too :-D
RE: Betting a Foleo-2 will be the next webOS device
Gekko @ 1/12/2009 11:07:43 AM # Q
RE: Betting a Foleo-2 will be the next webOS device
AdamaDBrown @ 1/12/2009 11:18:58 AM # Q
I wouldn't expect a Foleo 2.

Yes, netbooks are big, but again you've got the essential problem of how do you compete with devices running desktop Windows or Linux? It's not really going to be much cheaper than, say, an Aspire, and you'll be limited to what, web apps and whatever Palm lets happen in third party development? On a netbook? No way. It would get absolutely slaughtered in the marketplace.

RE: Betting a Foleo-2 will be the next webOS device
jeffhoward001 @ 1/12/2009 11:38:13 AM # Q
While we're on the rumor mill, have you guys heard the rumor that there are very few Windows Mobile Treo's used on the Palm campus? Heard that observation from an insider about a year ago, not sure if it's still true with the release of the Treo Pro. I always hoped it was true since it was evidence that they were holding out for the next Palm-based OS.

Tungsten T -> Palm TX -> TX & Centro (Good combo so far!)
RE: Betting a Foleo-2 will be the next webOS device
freakout @ 1/12/2009 12:46:00 PM # Q
Yes, netbooks are big, but again you've got the essential problem of how do you compete with devices running desktop Windows or Linux?

By doing more with less. There's a favourite quote of mine I liked to bandy about when Foleo was first introduced from a Linux developer who basically made the observation that despite hardware getting more powerful all the time, desktop computer performance is still sluggish because of the constant layers of features that desktop OS's keep adding.

With an OS that's designed with mobility in mind - and presuming an eventual native SDK that uses C, like the Foleo had - there's real potential for Palm to redefine how you interact with mobile computers. Ideas like "you never have to save", constant sync and instant-on are things that neither Windows nor OS X offer and probably won't for awhile yet.

RE: Betting a Foleo-2 will be the next webOS device
mikecane @ 1/12/2009 12:52:57 PM # Q
>>>Yes, netbooks are big, but again you've got the essential problem of how do you compete with devices running desktop Windows or Linux?

Apple does it. iPod Air/iPod Touchbook in Fall.

(Oh shut up, lefty. ACCESS is FAIL. Give it up!)

ALP hardware from Sony!
vorlon @ 1/13/2009 12:35:12 PM # Q
(Oh shut up, lefty. ACCESS is FAIL. Give it up!)
Nope.

This Sony has a 3,5" touchscreen with six times bigger resolution than 320x480, 802.11g, 4 Gb internal memory and a MemoryStick slot, 10 megapixel camera with 4x optical zoom & optical image stabilization. Too bad it isn't a smartphone or a PDA.

http://www.linuxpromagazine.com/online/news/sony_dsc_g3_camera_has_wi_fi_and_linux


RE: Betting a Foleo-2 will be the next webOS device
BaalthazaaR @ 1/13/2009 1:52:41 PM # Q
An ALP device actually available for sale. WOW.
RE: Betting a Foleo-2 will be the next webOS device
mikecane @ 1/13/2009 2:29:48 PM # Q
GTFOH!! I was just reading about that camera earlier today. It took a *Linux* site to reveal the ALP bit! Good catch!

So now ACCESS is in the CAMERA biz, eh lefty? And yet he doesn't come here to gloat about SONY!

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I'm excited.

Frenchie @ 1/12/2009 10:00:23 AM # Q
I like what I am seeing!

I might seriously look into this :-)

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Honestly, it might just be the normal Centro hardware guys...

jeffhoward001 @ 1/12/2009 11:43:24 AM # Q
That would make the most sense from a manufacturing standpoint... Just use the existing hardware in the pipe, and make a scaled-down version of the OS to run on it. It would be much easier to just cut features from WebOS to make a "lite" version of the WebOS to get people educated and excited about the features, plus it would yield a great update path for when the full version on the PRE comes out.

I'd be willing to bet my retirement that we won't see them get rid of the querty keyboard on the Centro... That goes against EVERYTHING said in the PRE release, and Palm's exec team for the past three years. Maybe they might slim down the hard buttons and nav pad in favor of a non-square screen, but that's a big maybe.

- Jeff

Tungsten T -> Palm TX -> TX & Centro (Good combo so far!)

RE: Honestly, it might just be the normal Centro hardware guys...
hkklife @ 1/12/2009 12:03:58 PM # Q
Yeah, I normally would've immediately called B.S. on such a rumor but the tipster was quite confident of it and appeared to not be an easily excitable type. After seeing the PCMag piece from the always-credible Sascha Sagan, we decided to post it.

Now, that said, the Pre's single front clicker button is pretty small. I'm thinking that Jeff's hit the nail on the head if there's any truth to this rumor. It would not be hard to remove the Centro's entire hard button/d-pad area to make room for slightly larger LCD and a small gesture area + button. The gesture area is more reliant on sideways motions than any major vertical motions.

Or they could keep the same basic Centro size but make it slightly taller to accomodate a small 320x480 LCD.

P.S.

Another question I asked of the Palm reps and they confirmed: WebOS WILL have scalable system font sizes. Though they didn't understand what I was saying when I asked about "anti-aliasing" or "Font smoothing such as ClearType". But I'm glad to see that all text looked very nice, with no apparent jaggies or anything like RIM's horrid skinny fonts. Everything on WebOS looked approporiate for the scren size/res, much like iPhone. Aesthetically & legibility-wise, onscren text seemed an enormous step above anything by RIM or Microsoft mobile platforms. Icon-wise, though, I'd like to have seen more use of color to alert the user to "hot" areas onscreen that can trigger actions. There was a lot of dark grey/light grey/black areas or onscreen buttons whose function didn't clearly jump right out at me (the calendar app & photo app stood out for this in particular) but being extremely familar with the Palm OS I assume that Palm has just gussied up existing PIM app functions so it won't be too hard for any of us. It might be a good idea to brng the "tap counter" back into the fold at Palm, as I do worry that some functions that can be quickly executed under Garnet via 1 or 2 hard/soft button taps may take more taps, strokes, jabs and swipes under WebOS.

P.P.S.

So my initial WebOS impressions in a nutshell after having a few nights to sleep on it:

Less clutter & less imtimidation for n00bies? Yes.
More efficiency for longtime Palm OS power users trying to multitask (look up someone's addresss while composing an email to someone else, for example)? Yes.

More speed and efficiency for longtime Palm OS users needing to very quickly pull up a piece of critical info? No.

Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->Zodiac 2->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p->?

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