Poking Around webOS 1.3

The SDK is Out TherewebOS 1.3. You want it. I want it. We all want it running its point-updatey goodness on our Pre phones, because there's nothing like an OS update to reassure one that the mother company does indeed still love you. It's on its way very, very soon - in fact, some developers are already running it on their Pres - but in the meantime, PalmInfocenter will settle for the next-best thing: playing around with the 1.3 SDK, which just happens to have found its way into our grimy mitts, courtesy of our elite Bothan spy network.

What secrets does this mysterious bundle of code contain within its gaping electronic maw? In short: Pixi compatibility, and a lot of foundations for the future. Read on for the Forbidden Knowledge...

Pick Pre Or Pixi

That dialog box on the right there is what greets you when you first fire up the SDK.

The Pixi version of the emulator is no different from the Pre version apart from the smaller screen dimensions, so far as I can tell. My playing about with it yielded no truly interesting results, apart from a sense that the webOS experience will be pretty much just as good on a smaller display as a larger one.

Facebook, Flash & Funambol!

Here's where things start to get interesting. If you go digging into the file system of 1.3, you'll find several files related to upcoming webOS features. For instance, facebook.jar is obviously part of the foundation for the upcoming native Facebook app, while the Fnmbl files appear to indicate Funambol support in some form - possibly for that AOL Sync we were hearing about a few months ago? (It should be noted the Fnmbl files are also present in webOS 1.2, so it could be unrelated.)

Moving on to the BrowserServerPlugins folder, we also see that the groundwork has begun for webOS Flash support, with clearly Flash-related files present. Flash does not work in the SDK so it's obviously not all the way there yet, but it's being worked on...

Default Apps & Files

And this one should bring a smile to all our faces: webOS 1.3 is apparently going to allow you to choose which apps you want to use as defaults.

So, for instance, if you'd rather have phone numbers handled by a Google Voice app rather than the built-in Phone app, you can just pick from this handy-dandy menu in the Launcher. Or if some enterprising developer wishes to put out a new mapping application, you can use that instead of Google Maps. Or if you were to install an alternate media player, like, say, NaNplayer... well, you get the picture.

If you scroll further down the list, you'll also be presented with a list of different file types, from which you can select which apps will get to open them. Thus, you could have mp3 files handled by the built-in Music app, but other media files handled by a different player, if you wanted.

The menu isn't functional yet: it's just there, madly hinting at things to come. Can't be long till we have it on our Pres and Pixis, though... November 15 is only eight days away.

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Good Stuff

Scotland @ 11/7/2009 9:16:26 AM # Q
Good to see WebOS continue to progress. These, plus a healthy performance boost (expected but not yet confirmed), plus removing the app limit bug should make this a welcome update.

BTW, nice graphic - loved that show. Keep up the investigative digging...

RE: Good Stuff
Scotland @ 11/7/2009 9:27:46 AM # Q
Hmm, just saw the other article about Palm downplaying the speed boost w/ 1.3... The incremental releases are good but, surely, there's a 2.0 update coming in the next 3-6 months. The graphics overhaul will probably be in the major release would be my expectation.
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Funny Comments

Gekko @ 11/7/2009 10:15:15 AM # Q


"Come develop for Palm! Where it's dead simple to make an app that a very small percentage of the population will ever use! Remember, fewer users means less bug reports for you to deal with!"



Palm is a bunch of idiots with this Web Developer strategy. Web Developers develop for the web. They should be catering to device developers, who develop for devices. I just don't understand where they expect this strategy to go.

It's like building a racecar that can only be driven by old ladies with vision problems. It might be impressive in a way, but it's not the correct strategy to win races because none of the experienced drivers can operate it.

Not that web developers are old ladies or anything, but they're just not the people who are going to make the next great handheld app. Their skills are tuned for a different kind of experience completely.



RE: Funny Comments
Tim Carroll @ 11/7/2009 3:11:54 PM # Q
Meh. Native development is coming (if you count the work that's been done by the hackers, it's already here), Palm's open developer program still hasn't even launched yet, and paid apps aren't live internationally.

webOS has only been out for five months. Five months. People talk about it like it's been out for years and PALM IS DOOMED IF THEY DON'T FIX IT NOW NOW NOW.... rubbish.

RE: Funny Comments
abosco @ 11/7/2009 4:02:01 PM # M Q
You're right. EP is good for another 200 mil cash infusion.

What does Gekko always say? Double down, baby!

RE: Funny Comments
jca666us @ 11/7/2009 7:23:38 PM # Q
Meh. Native development is coming (if you count the work that's been done by the hackers, it's already here)

I don't count the hackers - it's not here yet!

webOS has only been out for five months. Five months. People talk about it like it's been out for years and PALM IS DOOMED IF THEY DON'T FIX IT NOW NOW NOW.... rubbish.

The competition (iphone, android) are not standing still - Palm is doomed if they can't compete.

After seeing droid, it's obvious Palm can't compete (yet).

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