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Palm webOS
Palm webOS logo.svg
Company / developer Palm, Inc.
Working state current
Source model Free and open source software
Latest stable release / 2010-01-12; 2 days ago
Marketing target mobile devices
Supported platforms ARM
Kernel type Monolithic (Linux)[1]
Licence GPL (open source components only) [2]
Website Palm Developer Website

Palm webOS is a mobile operating system running on the Linux kernel with proprietary components developed by Palm.[3]

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 (2009-01-08). The Palm Pre and webOS were released on June 6, 2009 (2009-06-06). 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.



webOS's graphical user interface is designed for use on devices with touchscreens. It includes a suite of applications for personal information management and makes use of a number of web technologies such as HTML 5, JavaScript, and CSS.[4][5] Palm claims that the design around these existing technologies was intended to spare developers from learning a new programming language.[6][7] The Palm Pre, released on June 6, 2009, is the first device to run this platform.



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.[8]

Web browser

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.[9]


The device makes use of the cloud based services model, but uses no desktop sync client (in the style of Palm's HotSync synchronization method).[10]

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.[11] Palm has offered an online guide to help customers.


Palm publishes a webOS software development kit called Mojo, which was released July 20, 2009. Developer mode can be accessed from the launcher screen of the Pre by typing the phrase "upupdowndownleftrightleftrightbastart" (well-known as the Konami code)[12] or "webos20090606" on webOS 1.1+ (the United States release date for the Palm Pre). webOS has a built-in application catalog, and APIs for extending JavaScript in order to access hardware features of the device.[13] Although many of the pre-loaded applications available on webOS are based on the original PIM applications available on Palm OS, webOS is a completely new platform using Linux.[1]

The web browser uses the WebKit layout engine. It supports streaming video in RTSP, H.263, and H.264 formats.[14] On February 16, 2009, Adobe announced that it will be developing a Flash Player for webOS.[15]

Palm commissioned MotionApps to develop a Palm OS emulator, called Classic, for webOS.[16]


The Palm Pre was the first smartphone launched with 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.[17]

Both Palm and ACCESS now promote competing independently developed smartphone platforms, webOS and ALP respectively.

See also


  1. ^ a b Carroll, Tim (2009-01-19). "TealPoint & Normsoft on webOS: It's Great, But We Want C". Retrieved 2009-01-19.  
  2. ^ "Source code for Palm WebOS released". The H Open Source. 19 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-28.  
  3. ^ "Palm webOS Platform Architecture". Palm, Inc.. Retrieved 2 October 2009.  
  4. ^ Rogers, James (2009-01-08). "Palm Soars 35% on Smartphone Debut". Retrieved 2009-01-09.  
  5. ^ Hartsock, Paul (2009-01-08). "Palm Steals CES Spotlight With New Smartphone and OS". TechNewsWorld. Retrieved 2009-01-09.  
  6. ^ Pearce, James (2009-01-08). "Palm Announces Palm WebOS At CES, Also Palm Pre". Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-01-09.  
  7. ^ Richtel, Matt (2009-01-08). "For a Palm Rebound, the Phone Is Not Enough". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-14.  
  8. ^ Palm, Inc. (2009-01-08). "Palm Unveils All-new webOS". Press release. Retrieved 2009-05-27.  
  9. ^ Tricia Duryee (2009-02-16). " - @ MWC: Adobe Creates Fund With Nokia For Open Project; Palm Pre Will Support Flash". Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-05-27.  
  10. ^ Stokes, Jon (2009-01-11). ""Synergy" means no need to "save" or "sync" on Palm's pre". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2009-01-14.  
  11. ^ "Several Companies Bringing Desktop Synchronization to Palm Pre". 2009-06-08. Retrieved 2009-07-03.  
  12. ^
  13. ^ Kairer, Ryan (2009-01-08). "Palm Announces the Palm webOS". Retrieved 2009-01-08.  
  14. ^ Segan, Sascha (2009-01-09). "Palm Pre: The Top 15 Questions, Answered". PC Magazine.,2817,2338583,00.asp. Retrieved 2009-01-12.  
  15. ^ " - @ MWC: Adobe Creates Fund With Nokia For Open Project; Palm Pre Will Support Flash". Washington Post. 2009-02-16. Retrieved 2009-07-03.  
  16. ^ "PalmOS Emulation on webOS CONFIRMED: will be done by Motion Apps" PreCentral
  17. ^ Bohn, Dieter (2009-02-11). "Palm CEO Ed Colligan Talks Pre with Investors". PreCentral. Retrieved 2009-11-22.  

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