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WebOS 2.0 - Interface Continued

By Edward Chester



  • Recommended by TR
WebOS 2.0


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Another new feature for WebOS 2 is Just Type. Open the phone up and start typing or start typing when no app is active and a search box will appear and below it will instantly start appearing matching contacts, calendar entries and apps. Below this you can also tap for matching emails, bookmarks and browser history. The best bits are two new additions called Launch & Search and Quick Actions.

Launch & Search is an utterly brilliant addition. It basically provides shortcuts to online search engines, enabling you to quickly search google or Wikipedia, say, for the words you just typed. What makes it utterly brilliant, though, is that you can add the search functions of any other site. Simply navigate to any website that has a search box and the web browser will detect it and ask if you’d like to add the search function. Now just go back to the homescreen, start typing and you’ll see that a link to the website has appeared. Tap it once and you’ve instantly searched the website for what you just typed. It’s is utterly brilliant and works with our very own search engine!

As for Quick Actions, they give you one touch access to starting an email, SMS, or Facebook status update with the words you’ve just typed.

What makes both of these functions, and the whole Just Type interface, so great is that they're fully customisable and open for developers. So you in theory you can have Quick Actions for Twitter, or even your blog, and search functions for all your favourite websites, and you can have the options appear ahead of the other options in Just Type if you so wish.

This open integration of other features is a theme that runs throughout the OS. From contacts and email to the web browser and media players, it’s all open and ready for third parties to tie into. It is up to third parties to use this facility but potentially you can have all the key functions of the phone integrate seamlessly with all your favourite online services. So if another new social network becomes the in-thing then you won’t have to wait for Palm to integrate support into its next firmware, the designers of the new service can develop it themselves. All this is in contrast to most other alternatives that have limited support for the big social networks – most notably Facebook – but aren’t necessarily open to others.

Going back to the problem of having no apps or widgets on the homescreen, on previous versions of WebOS this was particularly annoying as, once you opened the app launcher (bottom right icon) the apps were arranged in a fixed manner, so if your favourite app wasn’t on the first page, tough luck. New to WebOS 2.0 is the ability to rearrange your apps and add or remove pages, giving you more freedom to access your favourite apps quickly. There’s still no provision for widgets though.

The other key improvement for the overall interface is simply speed. While the improvements in the {lijnkout:http://www.trustedreviews.com/mobile-phones/review/2010/11/30/Palm-Pre-2-Review/p1 Palm Pre 2}, that we're testing the OS on, are largely due to it having a CPU twice the speed of previous versions, the new OS also helps out. This is because it now supports GPU acceleration, which helps all those slick graphically rich menu transitions and such like run smoothly.


November 30, 2010, 3:13 pm

Nokia should have bought WebOS and used its UI to replace Symbian UI!

BTW, any news on the spec for iPhone 5? Can we expect it to have a 3D screen? I quite like the idea of iPhone 5D ;)


November 30, 2010, 3:50 pm

@Ash: My thoughts exactly. The N8 would have been bleedin' fantastic if it'd been running this and not Symbian.

Ala Miah

November 30, 2010, 3:52 pm

Only if HTC picked up WebOS 2.0 then we'd have a great phone with a great software.

Chatan Mistry

November 30, 2010, 4:02 pm

Does Web OS 2.0 not work with the original Palm Pre? If so, can it utilise the GPU on there? That could be a good alternative to buying the Pre 2...

Neil B

November 30, 2010, 4:03 pm

So close but not quite enough to tempt me from Symbian... The comments above really do prove the "horses for courses" view on these mobile OSs. Lack of widgets is a deal breaker for me as is offline sat-nav (like Ovi) and an FM Transmitter.

Incidentally, will you be reviewing the Nokia C7 any time soon? My contracts up for renewal soon and it looks as if it could be the perfect phone for me.


November 30, 2010, 5:04 pm

Web OS 2.0 does look good, ive got an original Pre that I got for cheap on ebay as I wanted to play with Web OS so I also hope 2.0 comes to the original Palm phones

However like Neil B as nice as it is, its still not quite "there" for me. I am beginning to get frustrated with the mobile OS's as none seem to be the very best overall, each with their own strengths

iOS is very iniutive with great app support to bring a lot of functionality, but with no widgets and no support for anything outside the appled walled garden (like other video codex)

Android is very open and has good support for widgets, but has issues with manufacturers adding their own skins and causing fragmentation. Also there is no video editing app which is criminal

Web OS is very pretty and supposedly the best for hands on, but is limited by the hardware it seems

Thats why, like Neil B, I think im getting a Nokia N8, Symbian may not be the most intuitive or have the most apps ect but it is a very good alrounder it seems.

@Neli B - Theres a good review on the GSMArena of the C7, essentially it is the same phone (same internals and OS) apart from these advantages of the N8 over it

Much better camera

Special video zoom

HDMI port with 720p video output and true Dolby Digital Plus support

16GB built-in memory

Anodized aluminum body

Richer retail box

Easily accessible memory card slot

However the C7 does look and feel nicer

Chatan Mistry

November 30, 2010, 7:15 pm

@stelph - maybe consider the Google Nexus One. It's unskinned Android

I've just bought my wife a HTC Trophy running WP7, and I've got the iPhone. I have to say WP7 is very slick and my wife likes it. However, the apps are non-existent, and even the ones that are there aren't as smooth as IOS (e.g. the marble game)

It is a shame WebOS is only on Palm, which is turn still seems to be an expensive option


Neil B

November 30, 2010, 7:24 pm

@Stelph - I've seen the GSMArena review amongst others, I'd just like to see the TR viewpoint. The extra features the N8 has over the C7 don't justify the price to me, they're features I could quite happily live without. Anyway, I prefer smaller a form factor and the extra battery life this inherently provides.

Tim Sutton

November 30, 2010, 7:48 pm


For the love of GOD could we please have the occasional review or news item without Apple fanbois trying to talk about their chosen tech deity? Honestly, I avoid just about every Apple story precisely to keep away from this annoyance.


November 30, 2010, 8:22 pm

I'm a supporter of physical keyboards on phones. There will always be a place for them and I'm glad that the Palm Pre 2 exists in its current form. However, I think that the majority of people would be better served by a device with only a virtual keyboard. IMHO, this is at the root of what's holding WebOS back. If you could do away with the keyboard, the screen could be larger and the device could be thinner and lighter. This would make for a far more 'sexy' device in most people's eyes, and a much easier device to sell as a result.

Android only started its inexorable rise in popularity once the really desirable devices hit the mainstream. The likes of the boxy, bulky, keyboard-equipped G1 were never going to achieve the kind popularity that was required to pull Android out of its niche market. It was only once phones like the Hero, Desire and Nexus One hit the market that everyone took notice. Until HP can pull off the same trick and make the whole package desirable to Joe Public, WebOS is destined to remain a minority OS. Such a shame...


November 30, 2010, 10:00 pm

@Neil B - Well on the price the N8 has been dropping recently, not sure if youve ever used Quidco but if you move quick today they are offering 10% cashback on the N8 on PAYG - So £369 - 36.90 = £332.1


@Chatan Mistry - Unfortunatly Android doesnt have a video editing app, which is one feature I am very keen on, hence why the Nexus One doesnt cut it either unfortunatly



November 30, 2010, 10:05 pm

@Tim Sutton: For the love of GOD

Tim, get a life. There has been mentions of WP7,Nokia,HTC & Android in this thread, but you spit out your dummy over a BTW on Apple. So, who do you think really has issues?

Tim Sutton

November 30, 2010, 10:54 pm


You do, you scary Apple jihadist. Anyway, keep your anorak on. Talking about OS's in an OS article is relevant. Asking about unrelated phones in the very first comment isn't.

Geoff Richards

November 30, 2010, 11:13 pm

OK guys - take it easy. iPhone 5 is arguably at least 6 months away from being announced and was rather off-topic. So let's keep discussion to the merits of WebOS 2.0 please and Palm


November 30, 2010, 11:22 pm

Well let's hope the first HP WebOS tablet is with us before Apple kick out their next iPad/iPhone refreshes.

Might even surprise us and launch a small family of tablets and a premium phone or two as well.

That'd raise the bar.


November 30, 2010, 11:44 pm

This looks really great but being awesome is no guarantee of success. I couldn't buy this because i'd be worried the uptake would be too low to have the variety of apps you get on android.


December 1, 2010, 12:04 am

I bought a Pixi Plus from ebay for just over a ton. I've really enjoyed playing around with WebOS 2.0, and I'd love to see it on some stand-out hardware. For me, it's a close second to iOS - it only falls down due to the relatively sparse app store and laggy media player. However, it makes Android look and feel like a dog's dinner.

Neil B

December 1, 2010, 12:15 am

What about Bada, no one mentions that anymore ;-)


December 1, 2010, 1:25 am

@Tim Sutton: You do,

Yeah, because I'm the one avoiding threads because of brand X.. Sad!!!


December 1, 2010, 5:14 am


iPhone 5D will allow you to jump between several possible timelines - one reality where battery life has been perfected to infinity; one where liquid metal and a flexible 3.5"-17" screen allow you to scrunch the form factor into a little pocketable ball; or another where they fixed the call quality and proximity bug. It's called iHole.


December 1, 2010, 8:29 am

Judging by your article, im sure this is a great OS, but my god its ugly, it just looks old! Like my grandmas wallpaper - strange I know

Greg Shewan

December 1, 2010, 1:24 pm

I defy TR or the usual bunch to not do any Apple related story or post one comment related to Apple products or software for a week....

Im betting it can't be done, cause look I just did it.

Moving along, WebOS is probably the easiest OS from what I've seen. No widgets is a deal breaker though, apart from the dated hardware it seems like a safe choice.


December 1, 2010, 2:08 pm

@J4cK1505: Huh? Yes, very strange.

@Greg Shewan: It's our job to reports what's out there. If an Apple related story's out there then so be it. No bet.


December 6, 2010, 9:55 pm

He He ;)

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