webOS 2.0 SDK available today, new features detailed

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from  Omaha, NE
| August 31, 2010

Palm webOS 2.0

We've seen webOS 2.0 show in up the logs of a couple of webOS apps, but now Palm has announced that they're dropping the webOS 2.0 SDK in a limited release today, and they've also let loose information on the highlights of the new version of the OS.  Palm has said that a limited number of devs will have access to the webOS 2.0 SDK today, but they didn't talk any more about a concrete release date for 2.0 or anything of that nature.  Here's a quick roundup of the new features that will show up in webOS 2.0:

  • Stacks - What Palm describes as "true multitasking," Stacks automatically groups together related cards.  For example, you're reading an email and open a link in the browser, those cards will be grouped together.  Stacks will function without any sort of developer or user action in webOS 2.0, as the OS will figure out which cards to group together.  You can also easily remove a single card from a stack or move a card from one stack to another.
  • Just Type - Palm has renamed Universal Search to Just Type and opened up the API to developers, which brings the possibility for devs to integrate Just Type into apps or other services, like a browser search.  Included in Just Type is the new Quick Actions system, which allows a user to initiate an action from Just Type.  Palm has said that, using Quick Actions, a user can "start an email, create a message, update your status, search your favorite websites-all without having to launch an app."
  • Exhibition - With Exhibition, Palm is looking to make their Touchstone charger an even more important accessory than it was in the past.  Devs can use Exhibition with their apps to switch on a certain part of an app, say a slideshow or clock, when the webOS device is docked on a Touchstone.  Think of all the glanceable information possibilities!
  • Synergy - Synergy isn't new to webOS, but with version 2.0, devs will be able to tap into Synergy with their own third party apps.  For example, tying an IM service or calendar event directly into your messaging and contacts apps.
  • HTML5 - With webOS 2.0, Palm is increasing support for HTML5.  This means improved canvas support, local and session web storage, geolocation, and application cache functions for offline use.
  • Javascript - Palm is transitioning to Javascript services with webOS 2.0, meaning the framework of the OS will be more familiar to web developers.  What does this mean for us end users?  Speed, as well as background applications running much more efficiently.
  • PDK plugins - In webOS 2.0, Palm Plugin Development Kit (PDK) will fully integrate into the OS and SDK.  This means that devs will be able to mix regular SDK elements with more intensive PDK pieces.  As PreCentral put it, "having a spreadsheet app that displays a 3D chart with the PDK while showing the regular data via the SDK."

This is huge for Palm, and remember that this is just all developer stuff.  When we finally see webOS 2.0 hit the market later this year, we should see several other improvements, as well.  Now that we've seen some of the great features that will be included in webOS 2.0, let's hope that Palm also has some powerful new hardware to take advantage of all of the additions.  Considering how long it's been since we've seen any new webOS hardware, I'd say the odds of new devices are pretty good.  Perhaps that Roadrunner HD we saw recently?

Via Engadget, PreCentral