You may remember the useful onscreen keyboard patch designed to add something that Palm probably should have done already by now. Another patch has been recently making the rounds, allowing you to hang up simply by closing the slider. You can already answer calls by opening it, so this patch finally completes the cycle. There's no more need to fish around for the end call button, or have your friends firmly slide it shut while the line stays open to unwanted dialog. Head over to Precentral for the install details.
"This particularly comes in handy when you are upset...and need a quick way to completely shut them up in a rude fashion," writes palmwebos.org. Sounds useful, and sure beats dunking your Pre in a mug of beer when angry.
For those curious about other patches along these lines, milo from Precentral has started a series entitled "There's a Patch For That". Now in its third installment, it details a variety of patches from the onscreen keyboard, to LED notifications, universal search, calendar, and everything in between. Worth a read.
For those hoping to get a full rundown of the webOS App Catalog without the eyestrain (and battery drain) of searching on your device, Palm has you covered. By request, you can now check all available apps online by category, complete with screenshots and summaries.
The app database is limited to a short summary of each and covers only the US App Catalog, but we're hoping they'll expand it with additional app details (such as prices, download size, ranking, reviews, etc.) and to Canadian and European sites where the Pre is now available. Come December Palm will also offer the option for web distribution, where apps can be listed and sold via the web (and through the browser on the Pre). But the browsable listing is definitely a start, and something that the iPhone App Store is still lacking (you're still forced to browse on-device or through a bloated iTunes download).
As the release of the Palm Pixi nears, it's clear that the Pre won't be the only webOS kid on the block. A recent post on the PDN Blog by Chuq Von Rospach gives you some tips on building your app to run on both the Pixi and Pre, adapting it to work properly and look good on both devices. For those not in the loop, the only two "significant differences" that devs should be aware of are:
Pixi’s display resolution is different - it’s 320×400 pixels, as opposed to Pre’s 320×480
Pixi doesn’t have WiFi
The first point is not as much of a dealbreaker as some would expect, because if your application presents content and interface elements in a list-like (or vertically stacked) layout and makes use of Mojo widgets, it should still work fine on the Pixi. However, full-screen apps, such as some games, will need to be approached with layout flexibility. Thankfully, Palm’s Human Interface team has you covered, with a handy flexibility responsiveness document available for download. Your app can then be tested on the Palm Emulator, running at 320×400. They explain how to do that here.
In regards to the lack of WiFi on the Pixi, few apps should be affected (except those that depend on WiFi, such as desktop sync apps). To alter your app’s behavior based on the presence/absence of WiFi at any given time, you can also use the Connection Manager API to check whether a WiFi connection is active.
By making sure your apps are Pixi-certified, you should be ready to appeal to the Pixi market right from the get-go!
Palm users looking for more functionality when it comes to handling Office files on the go may now have to wait a bit longer. DataViz recently indicated that the webOS release of their popular document editing software, Docs2Go, may be delayed until early 2010. Although being one of the original Palm Pre launch partners and widely expected to launch this year, apparent issues with coordinating the release with a possibly-necessary webOS ROM update may be cause for the holdup.
Other than this tidbit of information, the company continues to stay tight-lipped about their plans; the webOS teaser page still shows the release as "later this year", so there's still hope they could get their act together for the mobile-office gurus out there. In addition, releasing Docs2Go earlier than later would be a bonus for students and educators, and growing their user base for the upcoming Palm Pixi by offering increased functionality out of the box.
Verizon users looking to get in on the webOS action may have something to look forward to, as a tweet this weekend from Verizon Wireless confirmed that the company would carry the Pre "early next year". This backs up earlier rumors that the company would pick up the device after Sprint's exclusivity period ends. Some less patient users have already hacked the device to run on the big V, although enabling data was an issue. Others are looking to import a GSM version, just released in Europe, for other carriers such as AT&T.
Some may remember the Pre vs. Storm smackdown chart that Verizon put out earlier to actually combat the Pre launch, which will no doubt be quietly filed away in preparation to take on other targets, such as the iPhone. While an Apple partnership was once considered, this is now looking unlikely with the new anti iDevice campaign that they are reportedly gearing up for. Let's just hope "early next year" comes in January rather than later. Does anyone plan on picking up a Pre on Verizon?
For webOS app gurus who have run out of the paltry 64MB app space limit imposed on the Pre and are getting the dreadful “Sorry, Not Enough Memory” message, don't get too discouraged. MyPre reports that Palm's hidden 256MB partition (further restricted to 64MB) may be officially expanded in November, giving webOS a larger allocation of space to store applications. The space currently allowed is not nearly enough as the App Catalog continues to grow and homebrew apps proliferate.
The update is rumored to come next month, however resizing the partition may be no easy task without a major shakeup in the platform. So take the rumor with some grain of salt; but with webOS 1.3 also rumored to hit in North America and Europe the same month, we're hoping Palm also takes that opportunity to fix the app space issue.
As a more immediate solution, the new Fair Dinkum App Limit app allows you to take full advantage of the 256MB partition, developed by webOS Internals founder Rod Whitby and available via Precentral. This should buy you a fair bit more time to load up your device with additional apps, although increasing the actual partition will need to be eventually addressed by Palm. For a detailed writeup on the Palm Pre app install limit, you can visit Whitby's blog here.
This week, Europe got their first wave of webOS devices, with Palm Pre releasing in Germany on October 13, Spain on October 14, and the UK and Ireland today, courtesy of O2. While Flash 10.1 is expected to come to all Pre models later this year, the O2 device is sporting only webOS 1.1.3, although North American models already have the improved version 1.2.1. However, rumors suggest that Europe may pass on 1.2 altogether, and join with the rest of us for webOS version 1.3.
New apps are also arriving to the App Catalog in light of the European release, with some apps looking to be exclusive to Germany or Europe. No doubt, unlockers are also looking to take advantage of the new GSM version and get them into North America as soon as possible. Does anyone plan on unlocking and importing a GSM Pre to the US or Canada?
O2 recently held a UK event for the Palm Pre (see video above), along with fancy launch parties in Spain and Germany (see links for photos) just prior to each release. The UK market in particular is showing a positive response to webOS, with a new survey showing that demand for the Pre in the UK is even higher than the initial demand for the iPhone (26% vs. 16%, respectively). Back home, the Pre is also staying strong, with the Pre joining the "Top 10 most brilliant products of 2009" in Popular Mechanics. "(the Palm Pre) sets a new standard by putting all the best available technologies together", they state.
Meanwhile, the next stop for the webOS train looks to be Mexico, where blogger Javier Matuk posted a YouTube video (since deleted) showing off the Palm Pre in Mexico, reports PalmAddicts. The device may come out by the end of the month on Telcel, their largest carrier.
Check out some of the new pricing charts, as well as a UK unboxing video and one of the German Palm Pre commercials after the jump.
For those on the cooler side of CA, you may want to check out Sprint's first open developer conference in Santa Clara, October 26-28. This is Sprint's ninth annual developer conference, but the first time the event is open to the entire development community. Palm is a platinum sponsor of the event, and will head up several hours of presentations, including keynote addresses from Ben Galbraith and Dion Almaer, directors of Developer Relations for Palm and former Mozilla developers.
The price of admission isn't cheap ($350), but it could be a great opportunity to get word of your app(s) out and to network with other mobile developers (Blackberry, WM, and Android devs will also be on hand). Some of the presentations will include:
The basics of webOS programming, and the fundamental elements you'll need to think about to start building your own webOS app
How to design your app and how to develop the user interface for your app, so that it both fits in with other webOS apps and stands out to make your app appealing
Tools, programs, and other resources from Palm to help you with your app development
In addition, Palm technical experts will be on hand to help work on your app during a webOS "coding kitchen" after the formal presentations.
Click here to check out the agenda or to register.
If you're wanting to provide users with an "immersive and customized" experience with your app, folks from the Palm UI design team has some advice on how to make sure your webOS app gets noticed when submitting to the App Catalog. While reviewing immersive apps (commonly games that utilize fullscreen mode), the review team noticed the following, writes Chuq Von Rospach:
Immersive app developers commonly use custom controls (instead of standard webOS framework controls).
Immersive app UI designs (especially for games) are complex, and commonly contain tap targets that are smaller than what we recommend (minimum size = 48 pixels).
Immersive app developers commonly include buttons in their UI that navigate to different scenes in their app hierarchy, including buttons like “Back,” “Next” and “Home.”
Performing the back gesture feels “natural” when in Portrait orientation, but not in Landscape.
So after much consideration, in addition to the updated Application UI Checklist, immersive app developers should take note of the following list after the jump: