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Day October 19, 2010

webOS 2.0 review roundup

The best mobile operating system just got better — but it’s still far from perfect. Here are some excerpts and links to early reviews of HP webOS 2.0 on pre-production Palm Pre 2 hardware from around the Web.

WebOS 2.0 is without question the biggest webOS update we’ve seen since Palm first unveiled webOS at CES in January 2009. You could argue that the main features…are mainly evolutionary and you wouldn’t be wrong. However, the sum of these updates adds up to an OS that is coming into its own….webOS 2.0 is not a me-too operating system.

from Dieter Bohn’s review at PreCentral

Despite some issues, webOS 2.0 is probably neck and neck with iOS4 when it comes to polish and ease of use….This isn’t just a good OS, it’s a great OS….[however] the problem with webOS 2.0…[is that] Palm is still hampered by last-generation, underpowered hardware. The Pre 2 is nice, but it’s not cutting edge, and it doesn’t hold a candle to the iPhone 4 or G2.

from Joshua Topolsky’s review at Engadget

The general sentiment seems to be positive on the software side and meh at best when it comes to hardware. Whereas webOS 2.0 is a strong hand, the Palm Pre 2 looks to be an amateur poker player. The lack of innovation on the hardware front is the one major thing holding webOS 2.0 back. The Pre 2 is a good first step, but killer hardware is necessary for widespread adoption of the platform. Hopefully, HP and Palm will have a bleeding edge device to unveil in early 2011 that can do webOS some real justice.

Palm Pre 2, HP webOS 2.0 official — Verizon bound, unlocked dev phones a lock

HP announced HP webOS 2.0 today along with the first device that will run it: Palm Pre 2. The Pre 2 is essentially a highly refined Pre that updates the hardware to current times — 1GHz processor, 5-megapixel camera, glass screen — without departing from the original design concept. The Palm Pre 2 will be available on SFR in France this Friday and will be coming to Verizon in the US and to Canada ‘in the coming months.’ HP also states that developers will be able to purchase an unlocked UMTS version of the Pre 2 ‘to use as a canvas to build the next generation of webOS applications and services.’

The real star of the show, of course, is webOS 2.0 — now rebranded and prefixed with HP’s name. Fans of the sleek multitasking mobile operating system will not be disappointed. The same ingenious card UI is still the centerpiece, now enhanced with Stacks — the ability to group related cards together.

Universal search has been renamed Just Type and now searches almost everything on the phone or on the Web simply by entering text. Just Type also houses a new killer feature called Quick Actions — essentially turning Just Type into a command line that can run virtually any action with user-defined shortcuts.

Exhibition will allow webOS 2.0 devices to run apps while on the Touchstone charging dock. ‘Set your phone on the dock and Exhibition launches automatically, showing you anything from today’s agenda to a slideshow of your Facebook photos.’

As far as social networking and contact services are concerned, webOS is still at the front of the pack. Synergy is still there ‘to connect you seamlessly to multiple web services’ and is now open ‘so developers can easily plug new Messaging, Contacts and Calendar application sources directly into the core webOS experiences.’ The Messaging app has been updated to include Yahoo! IM and Facebook chat. Speaking of Facebook, version 2.0 of Palm’s Facebook client will be in the App Catalog soon and will support Stacks, Quick Actions, and Exhibition upon availability.

Other features of HP webOS 2.0 include a beta version of Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Bluetooth keyboard support, and a QuickOffice document viewer (replacing Documents To Go’s viewer) that integrates with your Google Docs and Dropbox accounts.

The official press release is available after the break.