IT LOOKS LIKE HP's investment in Palm's WebOS is looking likely to pay off as the outfit took the wraps off the latest version of the operating system.
Released to developers via its early access program, WebOS 2.0 offers updates to multitasking capabilities, search, synchronisation and development tricks and tools. The production release of the operating system is expected sometime before the end of the year.
Though WebOS has been able to multitask since its first release, using a 'cards' system, now WebOS can stack cards allowing them to be moved around the screen. The whole thing sounds like a marriage of Apple-esque design with real technological merit, showing just what Apple could have done if it bothered to do any real innovation and ditched the marketing flim-flam.
HP's recent purchase of Palm was all about the firm's impressive WebOS. The problem for Palm is that even with the well-received Pre smartphone, it simply was too little, too late to turn the outfit's fortunes around. One of the criticisms leveled at Palm and its WebOS was the lack of applications, something that this early developer's release will help to mitigate.
The problem for HP is, just how many developers will spend time and money developing applications for an operating system that has a relatively small install base? Even with its impressive feature set, HP still hasn't provided any clear information on which devices it will install this clearly capable operating system.
If HP doesn't give the market some guidance and encouragement fairly soon, technology fans could once again be frustrated at seeing one of the best touchscreen operating systems languish on devices that aren't worthy of it. µ
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