|Company / developer||Palm, Inc.|
|Source model||Free and open source software|
|Latest stable release||220.127.116.11 / 2010-01-12|
|Marketing target||mobile devices|
|Kernel type||Monolithic (Linux)|
|Licence||GPL (open source components only) |
|Website||Palm Developer Website|
The Palm Pre smartphone is the first device to launch with webOS, and both were introduced to the public at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on January 8, 2009 . The Palm Pre and webOS were released on June 6, 2009 . The second device to use the operating system, the Palm Pixi, was released on November 15, 2009. The webOS features significant online social network and Web 2.0 integration.
The webOS interface is based on a system of "cards" used to manage multitasking. Applications can be launched from either the "Launcher", which displays a default of three pages of applications icons in a scrollable grid, or the Quick Launch bar, which displays five icons inline horizontally. The user switches between running applications by clicking the front-face button to bring up the "cards" and then flicking left and right on the screen. Applications are closed by flicking a "card" up—and "off"—the screen. webOS also supports multi-touch gestures, enabling most navigational input to be made using the touchscreen. Unlike other touchscreen smartphones, the Pre does not include a virtual keyboard as it includes the slide-out keyboard.
webOS includes a feature called Synergy that integrates information from many sources. webOS allows a user to sign in to accounts on Gmail, Yahoo!, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Microsoft Outlook (via Exchange ActiveSync). Contacts from all sources are then integrated into a single list. Calendars from multiple sources can be viewed together or one at a time. For messaging, Synergy combines all conversations with each contact into a single chat-style window. For example, instant messages and SMS text messages are viewed together.
The webOS web browser is WebKit-based and, thus, pages render similarly to other WebKit-based browsers such as Safari, Google Chrome and the Android. The browser can be viewed in either landscape or portrait orientation, switched by rotating the device. Specific features of the web browser include the ability to play .pls file types without the need for an additional application. In addition, on February 16, 2009, Adobe announced that it will be developing a version of Adobe Flash Player for webOS.
Palm has referenced a number of solutions for users who need to sync with their desktop software like Palm Desktop, Microsoft Outlook, or IBM Lotus Notes. Additionally, Mark/Space, Inc. has announced Macintosh desktop sync software, and Chapura such software for Windows. Palm has offered an online guide to help customers.
The web browser uses the WebKit layout engine. It supports streaming video in RTSP, H.263, and H.264 formats. On February 16, 2009, Adobe announced that it will be developing a Flash Player for webOS.
From 1992 to 2002, personal digital assistant maker Palm Computing (later renamed Palm, Inc.) was the developer of the Palm OS software platform. In 2002, Palm created a wholly-owned subsidiary for its software division, naming it PalmSource. PalmSource was later spun off as an independent company which was subsequently purchased in 2005 by Japanese developer ACCESS Co. Ltd. ACCESS used the Palm OS as the basis for its ACCESS Linux Platform (ALP), an open source platform for mobile devices.
Palm licensed Palm OS for continued implementation in its PDAs and smartphones. They also licensed Windows Mobile for their business smartphone line. Palm started developing a completely new platform, as they had no intention of using ALP for future products. After the presentation of webOS Palm will not introduce any new devices with Windows Mobile or the older Palm OS.
Both Palm and ACCESS now promote competing independently developed smartphone platforms, webOS and ALP respectively.