Current webOS apps will run in emulation on webOS 3 / TouchPad [Corrected]
Correction: We've been waiting since publication for official clarification (read: in something longer than 140 characters) from Palm, but in the meantime Combee has tweeted that the "emulation window" is not actually a device emulator, just a window that will provide back and forward buttons. In other words, the current Mojo framework for apps will apparently be supported natively in webOS 3. However, there are still plenty of questions, including how Meta-Tap (which require the gesture area) will work and what resolution this window will display apps at.
We'll post again when we get proper word from HP, but in the meantime feel free to bask in the confusion that was behind the original article below while you mull over the fact that the question of support for current webOS apps on the TouchPad wasn't directly addressed at the ThinkBeyond developer event.
During our meeting with HP yesterday, we heard some curious talk about "legacy" apps on webOS 3.0 on the TouchPad. Specifically, we were wondering what would happen to apps that utilize the gesture area. Well, we now have our answer: current 3rd party webOS apps will run in an "emulation window" on the tablet. So said HP developer Ben Combee on Twitter:
The background here goes like this: despite its similar appearance to previous versions of webOS, webOS 3 on the tablet is a bit of a complete rewrite based on HP's new Enyo SDK, released last night. Current apps are based on the "Mojo" framework. We've already discussed the many technical benefits of Enyo, but it appears that just like HP has made the hard decision to be foreward-looking when it comes to OS updates, they're also going to make a similar decision for the core bits of their OS.
What about the Pre 2, Veer, and Pre 3? All signs point to them being released with webOS 2.x which should support both traditional Mojo apps as well as next-gen Enyo apps (the video calling demo on the Pre 3 was done with a re-written, Enyo-based phone app). They also have and support the gesture area. What about that 'emulation window' on webOS 3 / TouchPad? Things definitely appear to still be developing (ahem), but a window with buttons sounds pretty inelegant to us. How will apps scale up? How will cards look?
What about developers? Honestly - this is a tough one. You can choose to continue to develop in Mojo with the knowledge that your app will work on all current devices - but the shelf life on your apps running as native code could be only a year or so more. The flip side is to opt into the new Enyo framework - but that's still in a pre-release Alpha stage and you literally won't be able to sell a single app until Spring at best when the Veer is released. Note also that developing in Enyo is quite a bit different from Mojo, HP's Matthew McNulty went so far as to say that Mojo developers need to spend time unlearning what they know about webOS before they can properly wrap their head around Enyo.
Make no mistake: the future of webOS is Enyo. That looks like a very bright future, but current webOS developers may have to travel through a dark tunnel to get there.