After much anticipation, webOS 1.4 is now available for the majority of Pre and Pixi users! (Sorry Canada and Verizon users.) You can grab it by going to the Updates application. Some interesting points for developers:
- An application developer can feature a video in App Catalog by providing a YouTube URL for the developer’s application. The URL appears as a link on the app details screen. Tapping the link opens the video in the phone’s YouTube application.
- With the new video recorder, users can now record video on their webOS device. (How video functionality will be opened up to developers in the webOS 1.4 SDK remains to be seen.)
- This release offers better overall performance, including faster loading time for apps and increased battery life across a wider range of user scenarios.
- This release includes support for the Adobe Flash 10.1 Beta plugin. Note that the plugin is a standalone app that will be available in App Catalog.
- A new Sleep Settings application menu item allows you to change a setting so that if Wi-Fi is on and the phone screen turns off, the Wi-Fi feature turns off. By default, if Wi-Fi is on and the screen turns off, the Wi-Fi feature stays on. This setting may affect some applications with persistent data connections.
- This release implements a security fix to the developer portal. It now uses HTTPS to protect all sensitive data. We'd like to thank Andrew King and Michael Siroskey for reporting this issue.
Check out the full list of changes after the jump.
As you probably already know, Mojo v1.3.5 dropped recently and v1.4 should be hot on its heels. Here's a list of the new goodies for developers in v1.3.5 of the Mojo SDK:
- StageController.setWindowProperties() method now supports the fastAccelerometer property to increase the frequency of acclerometer events from 4Hz to 30Hz
- Emulator ROM updated to webOS 1.3.5
- Emulator now simulates orientation and shake events via function keys:
- F5: Simulate shaking
- F6: Simulate "up" (12:00 or normal) orientation
- F7: Simulate "down" (6:00) orientation
- F8: Simulate "right" (3:00) orientation
- F9: Simulate "left" (9:00) orientation
- Emulator: keyboard shortcuts to simulate device orientation changes and shake events
- Added option to palm-log to control the system logging level on device. By default, release builds running on a production device will only log errors. If you also wish to see warnings and info messages, you can now change the logging level with the palm-log command, as follows:
$ palm-log-level --system-log-level
Set to either error, warning, or info. Note that logging levels are progressive, that is "info" will show info, warnings and errors, "warning" will display warnings and errors, and "error" will only display errors.
- Apps now installed on the media partition, allowing available space to be used for apps
- If your app uses a hard-coded path to the app directory for any purpose, you will need to update it
- You should use Mojo.appPath to compose paths to resources within your app directory, rather than hard-coding paths
- Fixed a bug that was causing playback of some audio files to be clipped at the end
- Upgraded sqlite to version 3.6.20 to address certain reproducible crashes in sqlite
- Updated the app sandbox file-access whitelist: apps can again display contact photos returned by the People Picker widget
- Fixed an issue affecting the ImageView widget: the widget can again display local images regardless of whether the ???noextractfs??? parameter is set to true
- Launching Palm Emulator will now display an error message if an unsupported version of VirtualBox is installed. Currently the supported versions are 3.0.0 to 3.0.12. Note: If you installed VirtualBox 3.1 and then downgraded to 3.0, you will need to delete your VirtualBox directory (~/Library/VirtualBox on Mac, ~/.VirtualBox on Linux, etc) as the VirtualBox metadata has changed between versions.
- Fixed an issue where launching Palm Emulator with "palm-emulator -- start" would require escaping spaces in the image name. This is no longer required although quotes are still needed around the name.
- Additional garbage-collection performance tuning
Also, if you've been paying attention, webOS will soon support Flash 10, and it looks pretty good! We'll have a quick intro to Flash article coming soon so you can take advantage of this support with the release of webOS 1.4.
Yes, it's a bit late, but that's been the norm around here lately, hasn't it? Well, no more. After a
brief extended hiatus due to moving house to a new country followed by a month-long trip to Nepal and China, we're finally back...and boy did we miss a lot. Get ready for a flurry of "catch-up" articles, most of which you will probably already know about, followed by some great new content and new community-driven site features!
Also, from now on we're going to really focus on developer-related news and eliminate all the "other" Palm webOS news that other sites with more resources (read: cash) can cover faster and better.
Got an idea? Drop us a comment below; we'd love to hear from you.
Palm released their latest update to webOS today to Sprint and Bell users, notes Precentral, with the 126MB OTA download bringing the version on the Pre to 1.3.1. New features include:
- Yahoo now fully integrated into Synergy
- E-mail - notification improvements, Google Apps and Yahoo Small Business now supported
- Track scrubber in Music
- Text messaging - forwarding and custom ringtones
- Google contact sync improvements
- Timer for PIN lock
Many bugfixes and minor feature changes to existing apps have also been included in the update. Check out the full release notes for Sprint and Bell respectively. If you're in Europe fear not, the GSM update is expected by the end of the month.
In addition, the Mojo SDK has also been updated to match, and the anticipated native Facebook App is now available in the App Catalog. Functionality is quite limited right now, but like other platforms, new features are sure to be added for the social networking gurus out there. So far you can:
- Read a list of your friends' status updates.
- Comment on their status updates and make them as "liked."
- Update your own status.
- When a friend updates a photo album, you can view the album within the Facebook app.
- Comment on a friend's photo album.
Many other webOS apps have been added recently to the App Catalog; remember you can keep track via the @PalmNewApps feed.
With the release of webOS 1.3.1 today, Palm has updated the Mojo SDK to 1.3.1 with numerous enhancements including some Pixi-friendly ones. Here's the breakdown of what's new:
- Emulator ROM updated to webOS 1.3.1
- Emulator now provides a user interface for choosing Pixi or Pre resolution at launch
- Emulator now checks to ensure a supported version of VirtualBox is installed
- The Mojo SDK v1.3.1 officially supports VirtualBox 3.0.10. Earlier 3.0.X versions may work, but you will need to upgrade if you are still using 2.2.X.
- The palm-install command-line tool from earlier versions of the SDK is incompatible with webOS 1.3.1 device ROMs, so the 1.3.1 SDK is required to install apps on a device running 1.3.1.
StageController.setWindowProperties() method to prevent screen from dimming / turning off
- App Help/Support scene
Mojo.Controller.StageController.pushAppSupportInfoScene() may now be auto-generated from info provided in appinfo.json
- File-access restrictions added to the application sandbox environment for increased security
This is in addition to new and revised documents to help you on your way. Check out the full release notes or get it via the download.
A new teaser page on the Flash website states that Adobe Flash 10.1 is coming to Palm webOS in the first half of next year. This is a positive move from last month, when Adobe demonstrated an optimized version of Flash 10.1 on the Pre and stated that beta should be available to developers by the end of the year (meanwhile, iPhone users still get this teaser page). From the Adobe Max Conference:
Adobe® Flash® Player 10.1 is the first runtime release of the Open Screen Project that enables uncompromised Web browsing of expressive applications, content and video across devices...A beta is expected to be available for Windows Mobile, Palm webOS and desktop systems including Windows, Macintosh and Linux later this year."
So the earlier part of next year for a final, end-user release sounds about right. It's quite possible Flash 10.1 will be released alongside a major webOS update (webOS 2.0 perhaps?) and no doubt will bolster the application and games lineup on the Pre and Pixi with new and established content. Who here is looking forward to the beta?
In the demo, a Palm engineer created a search application for Flikr. Using a simulation of the webOS interface, he dragged logos, a search field, button, list widget and other components to successive screens, and linked the app to Flikr using an Ajax request that called a Flikr API. Ares then allowed him to see a preview of the app in both portrait and landscape view using the phone emulator.
To simplify the development process, the tool will also allow you to package up the completed app, download it to the Pre or Pixi, share it with friends; even submit it to the App Catalog. It will be compatible with a variety of browsers, including Firefox and Safari. According to Palm's senior VP of application software, Michael Abbott, Ares is designed to help web developers make the leap to mobile development, and won't require any downloads or configuration, as well as including debugging and a way for developers to share libraries and APIs.
This looks like a useful web tool that should help streamline the app building process and attract some new talent to webOS. Do you plan to use Ares when it is released?
Ben Galbraith and Dion Almaer spoke yesterday in London about changes in webOS, including CSS transformation and performance improvements that should improve multitasking on the Pre and bring it more in line with the iPhone 3GS:
On ease of use, multitasking has been great; UI latency is still an issue even though the hardware is comparable to 3GS. The problem is the path to the GPU didn't exist, but now with CSS transforms, that will be solved in the future.
Some developers already have webOS 1.3.1 in their hands, and are no doubt experiencing the improvements for themselves. As for CSS transformation, it is essentially animation using CSS (examples here). Palm is also apparently considering options for obfuscating code (to give you more control over who can view your source code). Also, assuming Palm's new ATI graphics engineer hire is already being put to work on the Pre's GPU, we should also see OpenGL support in the not-too-distant future, and with it, more engaging 3D games. In terms of priorities, Palm has implied that it's definitely up there:
They’re evolving the platform pragmatically and they feel other things might have more immediate impact, e.g. OpenGL support.
Some predict this will come in the form of WebGL, which is already in the latest version of the webkit. For those interested, Ajaxian has all the highlights from the webOS developer event in London.
Besides speed improvements, what are you most looking forward to in the next version of webOS?