HP Palm WebOS Announcement: Future Revealed

1 February 2011

The waiting is nearly over with less than ten days remaining until HP Palm’s big announcement(s) on 9th February, I thought I would take a nostalgic look back over my usage of Palm devices, Palm’s history and look forward to what possibilities could be available very shortly.

I have used Palm devices for over 10 years, initially using a Palm m505, then a Palm Tungsten T3 and TX.  All of these devices were PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants), which used various versions of the original Palm OS operating system.  Since it was launched in the UK, I now use a Palm Pre, which is a smartphone.

When reflecting on the older Palm PDA devices, I used them for various reasons including personal and work activities.  The main features I utilised were for PIM (Personal Information Management), for example: calendar appointments, contacts, memos and notes.  I would use the devices for various other activities including accessing the Internet, playing games, listening to music, watching video clips and using a range of installed applications.  In the later TX model, I was able to use this for GPS Satellite Navigation in addition to the above uses.  Throughout using all of the devices, I enjoyed the convenience of being able to use a portable, handheld device in order to access, view, create and edit information, the ability to sync information between the device and Palm Desktop on my computer using the cradle or cable.  Just like the cradle with older Palm devices, the Pre uses a Touchstone dock, allowing the phone to charge wirelessly using inductive technology.

The Palm Pre uses the Palm webOS operating system.  Some of the main benefits of webOS are the multi-tasking capability, notifications of updates and messages (calendar appointments, text messages, emails and other alerts), ability to synchronise various online accounts (email, contacts, calendars and others including Facebook, Twitter etc) to the phone as well as a modern user interface.  The main method of interacting with older Palm PDAs was using a stylus, however with the Palm webOS devices they use natural finger gestures via the touch screen, like other modern mobile phones.  Multi-touch actions are also supported to allow you to zoom in and out of pictures for example.  In addition to the touch screen, the Pre has a QWERTY keyboard that slides out, due to being a slide type phone.

Another difference between Palm OS and webOS is the multi-tasking ability, whereas previously you would have to go in and out of applications.  With webOS you can multi-task being able to go between several open apps at once with each application being displayed within a “card” concept.  The webOS operating system is updated via automatic OTA (over-the-air) updates when necessary, allowing new features, applications as well as other improvements.

Throughout using all Palm devices, I continually use them throughout the day, everyday in my personal and work life for various tasks including contacts, appointments, alarms, reminders and typing notes allowing me to access information and complete tasks quickly and easily without the need of a computer, especially somewhere when computer access isn’t possible.

In relation to the upcoming HP Palm announcment, I imagine HP Palm has been busy behind the scenes preparing new devices, webOS updates as well as other new features and products in preparation for the big “Think Beyond” event on 9th February.  This is reinforced by the various leaks, rumours and duration since there has been a new device or significant webOS update released.

As a long time Palm user, I’m personally looking forward in anticipation to a selection of new devices in a range of form factors, such as phones, tablets / slates for the different needs of the users.  I also look forward to other improvements, such as new innovative features in webOS updates, new apps, faster performance as well as improved battery life.

The announcement(s) that HP Palm will be revealing in just over a week will hopefully represent the biggest announcements of what will be coming very soon and in the near future in terms of their roadmap for devices, webOS, accessories and other updates.