While an earlier browser-based WebShell keyboard caused a stir among those looking for a soft keyboard on the Pre, a true onscreen keyboard is now in the works. Coders recently found a pop-up keyboard hidden within webOS. Actually, the keyboard was crafted from a modified SYM pop-up extra characters list, and works in both portrait and landscape orientation. "The Palm Pre already COMES with an on-screen keyboard...(it) provides a path to produce a fully functional on-screen keyboard", the developers note.
While the tweak is still in Pre-Alpha stage right now (with a few issues to iron out), a full virtual keyboard on the Pre looks well on its way to fruition. Head straight over to the patch and patch instructions to get started, or hit up the link below for more details.
With the big day finally behind us, did preDevCamp 2009 live up to the hype? Marco, who attended the camp at Palm HQ in Sunnyvale, CA would definitely consider it a success in his video blog. One things for certain; he sure packed right for the event. Mitch Allen kicked the flagship camp off with a few words. "We're on the verge of a new generation of applications", he announced.
So with a geeky T-shirt, tasty pizza and upbeat music to kick off his video, Marco gives us a rundown of some of the great webOS apps that came from the 4-hour developing marathon:
A dream app that pulls dream summaries pulled from the web with web services, and from a simple shake you get a new dream.
The next is a video poker game for the card buffs out there, including score tracking.
A game, Word Ace, a combination of poker and scrabble, where you get letters instead of cards and try to get the best word at the end. Full profile / avatar support using the camera, and cross-platform multiplayer (iPhone / Pre) and friend lists.
A tiny Palm logo bouncing around using the accelerometer. This one got a nice chuckle.
A twitter client called Twee with some fancy CSS3 animations.
Marco's app, a scientific calculator inspired by early HP calculators in the '80s. It vibrates with each button press. It also has conversion features, memory and button customization.
Sounds like you had a great experience Marco, and we're sure it will be the first of many preDevCamps! PreThinking was also on hand for the event; you can check out their liveblog for all the details. Remember also that Palm is extending their SDK Early Access Program to allow some early submissions to the App Catalog for qualified developers.
For those attending other camps around the country (and the world), what are some of the apps that you were impressed by?
PreDevCamp, the worldwide webOS developer event first announced in February, is finally under way today. Palm Software CTO Mitch Allen created a special welcome video for all the attendees, which can be viewed above. Allen was behind the newly-minted Palm webOS development book by O'Reilly and other events such as the first webOS developer webcast. This is futher evidence of the support from Palm for this great event, and their expectations for some killer webOS apps. It's not too late hit up their homepage and attend a local event in your city!
Here's a few helpful links:
PreDevCamp live feeds in San Francisco, Kansas City, New York, Dallas, San Diego, and LA with live coverage of the events
If you feel you qualify as a high-caliber developer and are well into completing your "compelling webOS application", Palm wants you on the leading edge before they open the floodgates to the App Catalog. Palm Developer Marketing recently sent out an e-mail to members of the Mojo SDK Early Access Program giving developers an opportunity to:
Make an early application submission to the Application Catalog
Maximize your application’s visibility in the Application Catalog (if approved)
Have your application be considered for inclusion in Palm’s marketing activities
Get more personalized attention from Palm
This is a great way for developers to bring their app to the forefront of the App Catalog before it opens up a mass of submissions, as well as get a chance at some great marketing opportunities, such as making your app a "featured" application, and receiving free consulting from a Palm associate to optimize your app and make it ready for the big leagues.
If you're already familiar with the possibilities for success in Apple's App Store, you should realize that this is a rare opportunity for webOS developers to get exposure during the early life of the App Catalog and recognition for their efforts (and possibly make some $$ once it gets established).
If you have an app in the works and are interested in taking advantage, check your e-mail from the Early Access Program. You will need to reply with information such as a description of your app, business model (i.e free, paid, ad-supported), target countries, screenshots, estimated completion date, and a few other tidbits. If you've already done so, good luck, and if you get in, feel free to comment about your experiences!
With all the talk of preDevCamp coming this Saturday, nothing would be worse than getting all psyched up, and then arriving unprepared for the big day. Luke from the San Francisco camp made up a checklist of ten things to pack with you, so you can keep up with all the big boys of webOS development. Here's what he suggests:
A Laptop running one of the 3 supported operating systems in at least a virtual machine if not as the main OS (32 bit windows -xp or vista, Mac OSX, Linux)
Paper or a notebook for sketching ideas and notes. – Portable whiteboards are cool too.
Hacker / devhouse / excitement to learn / can do spirit – without this you will have no fun, and at the end of the day I hope that is what you have.
Have a great camp!
Short of your enthusiasm, there's really only 8 items on the list...but we won't fault you for that, Luke. Does anyone have any other last-minute suggestions on what to bring along for a successful event?
preDevCamp, the worldwide webOS developer event in the works since February (and expanding rapidly) is finally gearing up for the big day on Saturday. If you haven't heard of it yet, this is a global event spanning over 70 cities and a great opportunity to network and get involved with other developers in your area. Although not officially organized by Palm, they have since thrown their support behind the event, with both Pam Deziel, VP of Palm Developer Marketing, and Chuq Von Rospach, Palm Community Developer Manager, endorsing the event. Von Rospach writes on the PDN Blog:
"We think the preDevCamps are a great way for webOS developers — and people curious about webOS and wondering if they want to get involved — to learn about the platform and to meet other interested people in yourlocal area. I want to encourage everyone to find your local camp and sign up and spend at least some time at the camp."
Reports that Palm will donate prizes to the event are also surfacing. For example, O'Reilly's Palm WebOS development book by Palm CTO Mitch Allen is expected to make the rounds and 30 copies will be distributed to events in the US as prizes, even before its official release. Other sponsorship opportunities are being fielded, with Precentral giving away Palm Pre phones as part of their developer challenge, gift certificates, and other prizes to attendees in San Francisco and Dallas. Von Rospach will be splitting his time between OC and San Diego, and may bring a few small prizes of his own, such as T-shirts. So get your webOS developer chops ready and have your great app ideas on hand for the big day.
Visit the official site and twitter feed for more details on this great event. A channel on IRC is also set up at #preDevCamp, and a preDevCamp Live website is coming soon, and will be streaming some of the events live for those who can't make it.
Now you can turn your Palm Pre into a nifty 3G router over WiFi. jkOnTheRun notes that with My Tether 1.5 for webOS, you too can share your EVDO signal with any device that uses WiFi (i.e. laptop, iPod Touch). You will need to root your Pre, enter developer mode, and have the latest SDK installed to get it working (see procedure here). However, version 2.0 (available with a donation) includes an installer which should make things a lot easier. Previous, more crude methods of tethering have been available for the Pre, but this one should be a step up.
My Tether 2.0 supports custom wireless network SSIDs and WEP encryption. Check out a short video after the break, or head over to their homepage for more details.
For Pre users wanting to take advantage of their data plan to make inexpensive or free VoIP calls around the world, you now have more than one option:
First off, Shape Services have ported their popular IM+ universal instant messaging service to run in the Pre browser, which allows for full Skype functionality. The app is web-based and you simply visit s4palm.com on your mobile browser to get in. Once logged on, you use SkypeOut minutes to make calls and can also text with Skype contacts. The program comes with a 10-day trial and for $9.99 you can get lifetime usage of IM+.
Meanwhile, Voxofon is working on their own VoIP application to run natively on webOS, and is due out later this year on the Pre. The app will be free to download and international rates will start at 1.3 cents/minute and international texts from 6 cents.
Finally, a new unofficial app called dkGoogleVoice has been developed, which acts a third-party Google Voice client. For those unfamiliar, Google Voice allows you to have a single phone number that can be set to ring through to any phone, for example your cell phone, work phone, or home phone. You can also filter which contacts will ring through to select phones, or even send unwanted callers directly to voicemail. It also offers voicemail forwarding, transcripts, greetings, and more.
Also, because Google Voice apps have since been rejected from the iPhone, Pre users can now have a one-up on their iPhone buddies who may be fielding unwanted calls and dishing out some serious bucks for international usage. Check out a short animated video after the break describing this new service. Have you ever used Google Voice before, or if you are a VoIP user, will having these services on the Pre will be useful to you?
For those waiting for a newly minted version of Palm webOS, 1st edition to get the latest tips on developing from Palm CTO Mitch Allen, you may not have to wait much longer. TamsPalm reports that the Early Access team sent out notification that the book has hit the printing press:
"This is a notification that Palm webOS, 1st Edition has just been published to print.
As part of the terms of the Rough Cuts service, you may continue to access the completed book online for a period of 45 days. During this period, you will be able to the PDF version. However, if you plan to read Palm webOS, 1st Edition online after this 45 day period, you will need to access it as part of a standard Safari Books Online subscription.
For users who purchased the Rough Cuts Bundle, you will receive a separate email shortly with the shipping and billing information for the print version of your Rough Cuts title."
So if you've purchased the Rough Cuts edition, consider archiving the latest PDF in the next month or so, before Safari Books Online gives you the boot. Meanwhile, the book is listed for preorder from Amazon (at a lower price than O'Reilly's site), and should be available in the next couple weeks or so.