Exhibition: at a glance [webOS 2.0] | webOS Nation

Exhibition: at a glance [webOS 2.0] 13

by Derek Kessler Tue, 31 Aug 2010 4:05 pm EDT


As we saw hinted earlier this month, Palm is bringing a ‘dock mode’ of sorts with webOS 2.0, and it’s not a dock mode like you might expect. Exhibition is a Touchstone-triggered app extension that displays at-a-glance information of your choosing while your phone charges. It’s pretty straightforward: you set the phone on the Touchstone charger, and Exhibition view is launch and your at-a-glance info is displayed.

What makes Exhibition interesting is that developers can build their own modules, and bake them into their apps. A few off-the-top-of-our-heads example: Calendar could display the day’s appointments (agenda view!), your to-do list could be pulled from Tasks, your Facebook photos could be shown in a slideshow, Top Stocks could display the current state of the stock market, or you could have a simple analog clock. Like the other enhancements coming in webOS 2.0, the possibilities for Exhibition are wide open, and while Palm is creating a handful of Exhibition modules, they want to leave it open to developers to truly exploit its potential.

There’s one caveat to Exhibition, and it’s one that has us somewhat disappointed. As of right now, Exhibition only supports one block at a time. This, of course, opens the doors for developers to build the be-all end-all Exhibition app that combines as much information as possible into one at-a-glance Touchstone block. Our hope is that Palm figures out how to have multiple Exhibition modules displayed at a time, either by having smaller/multiple-sized blocks (ala Android widgets), via a gesture-based cards-like row of modules, or some other Palm-brewed magic. Speaking of brewing, we reckon it’ll only be a matter of time before the webOS homebrew community patches things up so that Exhibition can be displayed when charging via cable as well.

Even with that bit of disappointment, we’re still pretty stoked for Exhibition. It’s one thing to rejuice your phone inductively via a fancy pants charger, it’s another for that charger to change the way you use your phone.


I would be happy if there was a way to show how much charge the battery has while on the Touchstone. I know it's only one step, but unlocking the screen to check the battery level is slightly annoying when they could presumably just show the battery percentage or some animation of how full the battery is. Is there a patch for this?

You suck. Now this is going to bother me every time I have to do it! ;)

There's a homebrew app called Mode Switcher that will let you set the behavior on the Touchstone. For instance, how long the screen stays unlocked (including persistent), screen brightness, radio states (phone, data, wifi, gps, etc.), and on and on. Pretty much any feature, including what apps are running can be set and triggered on events (app launch, wifi network, bluetooth sync, etc.).

For instance, I now have a "Car" mode that is triggered by my cars Bluetooth that brightens my screen to 90% and automatically launches Google Maps and Pandora. When I get out of the car, it automatically reverts back to my "Default" mode which drops the brightness back to 30%, shuts down Pandora, etc. And, I have "Home" and "Office" modes that set other various preferences, all automatically with no manual intervention. And you can set other profiles to manual as well. And yes, my Home and Office profiles keep the screen unlocked and on so I can see the battery, radio states, etc.

It takes a couple of steps (and reboots) to get installed and working and you'll need to actually RTFM in order to figure out exactly how it works, BUT it does work well. The developer has promised a more friendly interface is coming in the future, which it will definitely need for less technically inclined users.

It's the kind of thing that I think Palm should be more focused. New features like "Stacks" seem like an improvement, but there are still lots of small things that webOS doesn't do that PalmOS (and most other OS) do very well. Something as basic as profiles for different situations is fundamental, but as of now is only possible through a third-party developer.

At least they ALLOW the third-party developers and don't try to control everything like some other platforms, but it's near embarrassing that it doesn't have something as basic as user-defined profiles.

you hit the nail on the head...

at least home-brew is embraced and not shunned...


at least our home-brewers are having to make up for a lack of copy and paste...

that was a sad, embarrassing time for my iphone 2g... :D

did i mention i love my pre plus?

(hey Verizon... gimme 1.4.5!)

Palm mocked the iPhone for not being able to Copy/Paste, then released the Pre - which could not Copy/Paste.

I agree with the need for a battery level indicator. If Palm doesn't do a "select the touchstone display features you want" app for 2.0, I expect the Homebrew folks will. I'd like to have time and date, battery level and the current local outside temperature displayed when my phone is on the touchstone.

I'd like all that plus agenda view. Maybe even a precentral plugin to show the latest precentral news

So basically this would be what HTC's Sense home screen displays, which I agree is nice to have and necessary.

dont mean to sound like a "richard", but this is the one thing that has me the least excited about 2.0. The only time i use my touchstone is at night...when i am in bed. The last thing i need is a bright screen keeping me awake...my one year old daughter does a fine job of that on her own!

Thank god. At a glance in webOS. This is starting to perfect.

Wow. The best use I can think of for exhibition: Tweets. I'm really excited to see what developers do with this tool.

Seems like it would be a little more useful if there was a phone setting of what to launch when in Exhibition (hereafter XB) mode - either the "XB" monster app, or an app of your own which would go into whatever its "XB mode" would be (XB-enabled apps, if you will). And an additional setting so that you can go auto-XB when placing it on the touchstone or have it confirm yes/no so you don't get the XB-app thrown over whatever you were looking at/working on.

this is all exciting news. can't wait to get my hands on 2.0.