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Palm Pre 2

The overarching style of WebOS remains the same with, instead of multiple home screens full of apps and widgets, a blank home screen except for five shortcuts along the bottom for the dialler, contacts, email, calendar and the app launcher, which is what you press to get to the rest of the phones apps.

This arrangement has always intrigued us as the lack of apps directly on the homepage means it invariably takes an extra step or two to get to the application you want, which should be annoying (especially as the default arrangement of apps in the app launcher is a bit bizarre). However, in the time we've ever had a WebOS device it's not lead to us pulling hair our out.

The layout of apps in the launcher is a bit haphazard by default

You can now add extra pages to the app launcher as well as rearrange the apps as you please so you can at least make it as efficient as possible to get to your favourite apps.

Another key addition is Just Type, which as its name suggests enables you to simply open the keyboard and start typing to perform a variety of functions. It will show local search results like contacts and emails but then also perform a general web search, search a specific website, or perform a Quick Action. The latter includes things like starting an SMS or email with the text you've just written.

Just Type lets you instantly search all manner of websites straight from the homepage


The absolutely brilliant thing about this, though, is that Palm has opened up the API for these services so that app developers and web sites can easily add support. So for instance you can add a Quick Action to post a Facebook update or, for web searches, you can add the search function of any website that has a search box, including our very own search. Just navigate to a site that has a search function and the phone will recognise it and ask if you'd like to add the search function. Then all you need do, next time you want to search that website, is open your phone, start typing and tap the website of your choice. The whole thing is also completely customisable so you can access your favourite services in double quick time.

Another key aspect of the WebOS experience is Synergy which is the company's name for its ability to integrate multiple services into the phones contacts, messaging and other core applications, i.e. you can add Facebook to your contacts. This has been updated to allow more applications to access the service and more of the phone has been opened up.

We haven't had too much time to play with extra apps and games yet but have been told the Palm Pre 2's new hardware and software makes it even easier to write apps that run, and run well, on the device. Angry Birds was one game we were shown and it seemed to run very nicely.

We'll be back with a full review in the coming days, along with a hands-on video so keep your eyes peeled for that.

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