Phoenix ACL for TouchPad passes $35,000 Kickstarter goal with 10 days to spare
If you've been waiting to get Android apps running on your webOS-powered HP TouchPad (without having to actually install Android, that is), then you might just be one step closer to your desired future. Two weeks ago, webOS upstarts Phoenix International Communications partnered with OpenMobile to launch a Kickstarter campaign to finance the completion and release of the Android Compatibility Layer for TouchPad. The ACL's purpose is straightforward: to enable the running of Android apps on the TouchPad. The Kickstarter goal was $35,000 - not ambitious by Kickstarter standards.
Two weeks later, that $35,000 funding goal has been met and surpassed, with more than 575 contributors offering an average of $62.39 towards the project. 74 have pledged what amounts to a donation - less than $30 (though some pledge levels do promise swag like a Phoenix-branded LED keychain flashlight), while the rest pledged at least the $30 needed to secure a copy of the ACL on release. Sixteen others have pledged a backing of at least $90, securing access to the ACL one week earlier than lower pledges, 5 offered the $150 required for two weeks of early access, four are putting up $250 for the privilege of being a beta tester (paying to help sort bugs, really?).
Beyond that, a single donation of $500 secured a copy of ACL on a CD with a pack of swag, $600 for the swag pack and a new TouchPad with ACL, and one very dedicated soul pledged a whopping $7500 for a flight to New York, dinner with the Phoenix team, and a rare white 64GB TouchPad along with the requisite ACL and swag pack.
Now that the funding goal has been met, the pressure is really on for the Phoenix team. They've committed to an estimated delivery date of July 2013 for the ACL, and though the funding release for the Kickstarter campaign is still ten days away, we hope they're already hard at work on getting the ACL ready for release. Of course, Kickstarter in no way guarantees the success if any project financed on their platform, so it's going to be up to the webOS Nation community to hold Phoenix to their commitments. After all - it's your money.
Having met that funding goal, Phoenix has laid out their plans for the future of the ACL. Funding in excess of the $35,000 goal is intended to go to developing the ACL's next versions, including an update to replace the current Android 2.3 back-end with something based on Android 4.x instead and plans to release the ACL for the HP Pre3. We also hope they're planning on an Open webOS-compatible version of the ACL - as much as we love our old webOS hardware, the future lies with new hardware powered by the open source version of webOS, not in squeezing more life out of our beloved but aged webOS tablets and smartphones.
Jon Rubinstein returns: Former Palm CEO joins Qualcomm's board
When Jon Rubinstein came out of retirement from Apple to join Palm way back in 2007, little did he know the odyssey upon which he and Palm were about to embark. From launching the Palm Pre less than two years later, becoming Palm CEO, guiding Palm into HP's money-filled arms, launching the HP TouchPad tablet, and then watching as all the work he'd overseen got flushed down the toilet, Rubinstein's tenure at the lead of webOS was one of ups and downs, successes and utter chaos. So it was little surprise when, after watching webOS get a thin leash on life as an open source project, Rubinstein left HP in early 2012 for his second retirement.
Rubinstein returned to his Mexican beach villa and resumed the sipping of margaritas while browsing the web on his tiny HP Veer. While he left the door open to returning someday to tech, if anybody needed some time off after the webOS debacle, it was Jon Rubinstein. His schedule of siestas and cervezas is about to be interrupted, though we can't imagine it'll be on an all to frequent basis: Rubinstein was today elected to the board of directors of chip manufacturer Qualcomm.
While Rubinstein joined Palm's board as a very active and hands-on Executive Chairman with the goal of dragging Palm into the future of mobile computing, he's coming to San Diego-based Qualcomm while it's at the top of its game and firing on all cylinders. Rubinstein's addition to the board brings a new heft and decades of computing and mobile experience to the table. Besides webOS, Rubinstein is credited as being the man who made Apple's iPod possible from an engineering standpoint, and was a key player at Steve Jobs's NeXT.
It's not quite Silicon Valley, but it's definitely silicon. Welcome back, Ruby.
Disable Gesture Area LED when an app is active
When the physical button on the original Palm Pre was replaced with a virtual capacitive button on the Pre Plus, there was more than just a change to the physical appearance of webOS phones. While both the physical button of the Pre and the capacitive button of Pre Plus performed the same functions to minimize cards or provide blink notifications since webOS 1.4, the LED light of the Pre Plus would also light up any time an app was open and active on the device. This may be a nice reminder that the LED light also doubles as a home button, but it can also be quite annoying. All webOS devices since the Pre Plus has continued this functionality, with no way to disable it if you would rather not have the LED light up whenever you are working in an app.
Not willing to take no for an answer, the webOS homebrew community stepped up and provided a homebrew patch to fix this issue. All you need to do is install the "Disable LightBar" patch from developer Herrie and that default behavior of the LED will now be disabled. It will still blink for any app notification, it just won't light up every time you are working in an app.
Monday Brief: The mysterious AT&T XFON, a cheeky Windows Phone commercial, and more!
Clear phone call history
The Phone app in webOS maintains your complete history of every phone call that was ever placed, received or missed since you activated the device. If you are on a webOS 2.1 or higher, this data is also backed up to your Palm Profile so the call log will transfer over any time you activate a new webOS device. While the call log can be a helpful tool if you ever need to refer back to it, there are times where you may want to remove individual entries or wipe the entire log.
To clear the entire call log:
- Open the Phone app
- Tap on the icon to access the call history
- Swipe-down from the top-left to access the Application Dropdown menu and select "Clear Call History"
- Confirm that you want to clear the history in the pop-up dialog box
- If you have a large call log, you may need close the Phone app and then reopen it
If you don't want to wipe the entire log but just remove a single entry, that is a simple act of performing a swipe-to-delete on the call log entry and then confirming the deletion.
App Giveaway: Othello StockWatch
If you're an investor in this day and age, keeping up on your stock portfolio can seem like a daunting task. There's not just the day-to-day progress of your positions, but there are technical indicators and charts and news out the wazoo that you've got to track. Your options for that are plenty to, but we've got one you might want to check out: Othello StockWatch for the HP TouchPad. With autocompleting search, customizable charts, and sortable technical indicators, this app could be your best friend as an investor. Othello StockWatch is normally $1.99 in the App Catalog, but we're pleased to say that we have 50 copies to give away to 50 of you.
Contest: We have 50 copies of Othello StockWatch to give away. Just leave a comment on this post to enter. Contest ends next Sunday at midnight US Eastern Time, after which time we will select 50 random entrants to win. Please only leave one comment, multiple entries won’t count. Promo codes are only valid in countries serviced by the App Catalog, and users must be running webOS 3.0.4 or higher with the latest version of the App Catalog.
Last call! Verizon Pre3 60-second video entries close tomorrow
Consider this your final reminder.
If you want to win one of five brand-new Verizon HP Pre3 smartphones and are totally cool with putting together a video that's no longer than sixty seconds, then you should totally head to the contest post linked below for the complete entry requirements and to submit your entry (don't post it here). The contest closes tomorrow, so you'll want to get cracking on convincing us that you deserve one of the rarer birds of webOS.
Monday Brief: WWDC sells out, BlackBerry Q10 review and the Samsung Galaxy S4 has arrived
Phoenix teams up with OpenMobile to Kickstart the ACL for TouchPad
Way back in 2012 we were introduced to OpenMobile, a company working to build what they called an "Application Compatibility Layer" for running Android apps on Open webOS. They've demonstrated it running in the webOS emulator, but what about on a real live functioning device? That's been elusive. And at CES 2013 we stopped by OpenMobile's booth, only to find no sign of the webOS ACL. Despite the dreams and wishes of many, we wrote off the ACL as not coming back. With webOS now open source and the property of LG and a release on mobile hardware that could run those Android apps looking less likely, why bother with the investment to finish the work?
But in 2013 we're looking a strange confluence of sites and services and people. The webOS movement hasn't died, and thanks groups like Phoenix International Communications there's even the possibility it could see a resurgence. And while they're working on building Open webOS for Android, they're not stopping there. Today Phoenix announced that they've paired up with OpenMobile to resurrect the ACL for the TouchPad.
In a four-minute video on Kickstarter (also after the break) they lay out the case for the ACL on TouchPad. In short: because they want to and they think you want to as well. Thus the Kickstarter campaign. In addition, the video shows off the ACL in action on a TouchPad. Essentially it allows the installation of Android apps as discrete apps on on webOS, including individual apps. There's certainly a bit of OS shock in that Android apps running under the ACL are in essence running a window of Android, complete with back/home/menu buttons at the bottom of the screen and the Android keyboard. The set-up actually is quite similar to what OpenMobile is doing for the Meego-based Sailfish OS, down to the Android 2.3 core to the ACL.
Phoenix has turned to Kickstarter to crowdsource the financing needed to finish the ACL for webOS. They're seeking $35,000 by 23 May 2013, with a touch over $1500 having already been pledged at publish time. As this is on Kickstarter, Phoenix won't get any of the money unless the $35,000 goal is reached by the deadline - if they can't reach it, they get none of the pledged funding. And, as this is Kickstarter, there are several levels of backer rewards, from a copy of the ACL for a $30 pledge to beta testing access for $250 to a trip to New York City for dinner with the leadership of Phoenix for a $5000 commitment (along with the ACL on a CD, a certificate of appreciation, two Phoenix t-shirts, and an LED flashlight keychain).
If Phoenix is able to reach that funding goal, they're anticipating having the OpenMobile ACL complete and available by July. Seeing how the ACL is running its current state on the TouchPad, that goal might not be too ambitious.
Isis Web doesn't bring new WebKit to the TouchPad, but it's still better
Way back in February of 2012 - that's over a year ago - HP released to open source the new Isis browser built on the latest WebKit standards. They called it Isis. This Isis browser in built in to Open webOS, and anybody familiar with webOS on the TouchPad would find the user interface instantly familiar. Because it's the same.
While there's an ongoing effort to bring parts of Open webOS, like the new WebKit engine, to older webOS devices like the TouchPad, it's still possible to get things like the updated browser interface. Yes, we just said it's the same, but it's also different. That's why webOS homebrewer Juno Avalon has been working on porting the Isis browser interface to the TouchPad. He's gotten far enough that he felt comfortable packaging it up as an app and distributing it via the WebOS Nation Homebrew Gallery - and so Isis Web for HP TouchPad was born.
While Isis Web shares a common user interface with the existing TouchPad browser and doesn't include the new WebKit, it does at least bring some new goodies to the game without compromising anything that we've known and loved about the old browser. When you tap-and-hold on a link or hit the share button in the address bar, there's a new share dialog that allows you to select from Email, Messaging, Sparrow (Twitter), and Facebook (the TouchPad app).
Isis Web also supports searching the text on a page, an option triggered from the app menu. You can download and save links with a tap-and-hold and when the browser is minimized into card view it stops scrolling.
In the notes for the app release, Avalon notes that this release is only for the TouchPad. While it technically is a complete Enyo app and loads correctly on the Pre 2 and Pre3, it is neither optimized nor functional once it is loaded. Avalon says he's working on a separate release for webOS smartphones.
So go ahead and fire up Preware on your TouchPad or hook and and run webOS Quick Install so you can give Isis Web a try. As an added bonus, Isis Web doesn't replace the default web browser, but it still shares the history and bookmarks database. So there's not a big commitment leap to be made if you want to give Isis Web a try - switch back and forth between it and Web at your leisure.