HP has made available a “developer beta” release of the WebOS 2.0 platform, an update to the device operating system it gained through its US$1.2 billion acquisition of Palm earlier in 2010. According to the Palm Developer Center, it will feature a revamped Stacks interface for improved multitasking, grouping related tasks together; a revamped universal search feature named Just Type; and an “exhibition” feature enabling phones to display clocks or photos when using the charging dock. Developers will be provided access to new APIs enabling them to create applications linking to WebOS’ Synergy personal information management application; support for the Node.js Java runtime environment is now included; and WebOS’ HTML5 capabilities have also been expanded. Finally, the ability to create apps including PDK plug-ins will be supported, which the company said will enable developers to “more easily port app logic from other platforms while leveraging the Mojo Framework to give users a familiar interface and integrate seamlessly into webOS.”
The preview is now available to members of HP/Palm’s Early Access programme. The company did not state when it expects WebOS 2.0-powered devices to reach the market, although the platform may make its debut in the first HP-branded device to use the OS – it has previously only been used in Palm-branded smartphones. HP is expected to bring a tablet computer device powered by WebOS to market early in 2011, but has also suggested that the technology could find its way into other products including printers. The intention is to boost developer interest by increasing the reach of the platform across categories, and therefore growing the size of the addressable customer base.