On-Screen Keyboard live and working in webOS 2.0; Update x2: Video! | webOS Nation

On-Screen Keyboard live and working in webOS 2.0; Update x2: Video! 87

by Dieter Bohn Mon, 06 Dec 2010 10:20 am EST


Remember those references to a Virtual Keyboard that were spied in webOS 2.0 code back in September (and, perhaps, the drama that ensued)? Well, now that webOS 2.0 devices are out in the wild, turns out it's more than just a reference. Using a Palm Pre 2, WebOS Internals went ahead and dug into the portion of webOS 2.0, entered "VirtualKeyboardEnabled=true" and after a UI restart hit Opt+Sym+K to bring up the software keyboard you see above.

The implementation is still a little buggy, but software keyboard on webOS exists right now - next step is a device that utilizes it. @DontBlameOil of WebOS Internals notes that it also works in landscape mode (until it crashes, that is). We're ready and waiting to see this live on a future device!

Source: WebOS Internals (Twitter)

Update: We busted out our vi skillsmounted our Pre 2 as writable, and had some dangerfun with our /etc/palm/luna.conf file. Sure enough: the virtual keyboard exists and works ...mostly. As @roneyii notes, it's not very useful as you currently need to use the actual, physical keyboard to bring up the virtual keyboard. As for the virtual keyboard itself - it's definitely a proof-of-concept affair. On a screen this small with what seems to be little-to-no optimization behind it, it certainly isn't something we'd want to use on a daily basis. Presumably HP has plenty more coming in terms of usability here.

For now, hit us up after the break for a video of the webOS 2.0 Software Keyboard - such as it is - in action.

Update 2: Belay the bits above and in the video that claim you can't bring the Virtual Keyboard up without the physical keyboard. It seems that the "Quick Wave" has been replaced with the Virtual Keyboard. That is - whereas before a slow, half-swipe up would bring up your 4 shortcuts in a "Quick Wave," it now toggles the virtual keyboard.  


This makes CES2011 even more exciting. Please HP/Palm, don't disappoint us!

That's awesome!! One more reason to stick with Palm! Bring on webOS 2.0!!!


SO useful on such a little screen.

::roll eyes::

didn't you watch the video? Not ready for primetime. Roll your eyes up your ass.

There are plenty of people coordinated enough to use a keyboard on this size of screen. But even so, the point of a soft keyboard on this size of device is not as a primary keyboard but as a secondary keyboard when you just want to do quick typing without opening the slider. That's the reason I have installed the soft keyboard patch and when I use it.

this brings hope to me for a slate of some sort and makes things so much more interesting

many comments are negative on articles, and I contribute to that more often than not. I'd like to make this a rare instance of gratitude. I'm really happy HP is implementing this in WebOS 2, and that it seems to already be tucked in there, since that means a finalized version should be coming along shortly.

I find it interesting that the keys have no padding, it makes me wonder if it's hard to type on, or if they're using some mechanism to determine if the bulk of a touch resides on a certain key.

What does the globe in the lower left do? Instant search?

it probably inserts "http:\\www." like blackberry does.

Yeah, that'd be great :]

I like the look of this! But I am surprised there is no space between each of the keys. I imagine it would be a lot easier to type on this keyboard with the gorilla glass screen though, so maybe it won't be a big deal.

THOUGHT: The lack of space between each key is a bit weird with the size of our current pre. BUT, if we had a larger screen...say 4.0-4.1" screen, I can see myself typing on this. Keep hoping guys!

The lack of a space between the keys is meaningless as the individual key images have no direct bearing on the code beneath that operates them.

Nice! Love the texture of the keyboard. I love how Palm pays attention to texture in their OS, unlike Android.

Another concern of mine is this:

Backspace so close to Enter is fine on a HW keyboard because your fingers can feel the difference. This looks like it would be too easy to mess them up. I can imagine that leading to awkward accidental text messages and the like.

I'm sure this was brought up in development and they have some mitigation for this, but it would be interesting to see if it IS a problem.

It's beautiful

Here's hoping that in the final version, the VK is activated when I tap on a form field when the slider is closed. Using the physical keyboard to open up the virtual one is a bad decision.

hmm... palm playing catchup with ios and android. vk's have already been done. pads/slates already been done. hope this vk will be awesome and have some pretty good auto-correct and such to make it useful. i wonder if the little globe launches the browser. i'm sure someone will make a patch to make it programmable as a shortcut to whatever.

also.. how would one launch this vk? double meta-tap?

Article states it launches with Opt+Sym+K.

The world key is probably for additional special characters like

Opt+Sym+K. Soo... you have to open your slider and type on your real keyboard... to access your virtual one.


(I know, I know, some easier "slider-closed" method will be included when fully baked.)

Okay, oil says the globe types a /.

is this for real?

doesn't it look just like this Homebrew?

LOL. Good catch

Wow a buggy keyboard. Way to go Palm. Damn if you won't have entered the 21st century by the time the Mayan calendar has ended. The Epic 4g just got 2.2 and a really crappy keyboard isn't delivered, but just promised for WebOS. Yeeeehaaawwwww. Hey, at least it got the lappies (slang for lapdogs, because "bitches" sometimes is frowned upon) excited.

Whoulda thunk something that's not at the final stage of development could be so buggy? Mind blowing

Maybe your Epic 4G got Android 2.2, but my wife's hasn't yet. Oh, and this was promised to be out in November. Sorry, didn't mean to ruin the perception around here that only Palm takes longer then people would like to get things done.

Rooting my friend, ive had 2.2 for awhile now. and us android people can do stuff that makes preware look like childs play.

U mad?

Like? I'm certainly not mad at 2.2. Android's OS looks like a XP version of windows 7. You got many Apps, I'll give you that, and plenty of phones. But, your OS needs work... HP should take care of the phone and along with that comes the apps. Trust me, I really want to like Android but their OS doesn't catch my eye, yet.

Mad? Why on Earth would we be? Android is more customizable

What if HP kills off the PRE or actually doesn't do anything with WebOS on Smartphones past the Pre2? Will that make you mad? We know there will be a Palm pad, but can anyone confirm anything about any new HP WebOS Smartphone? It'll be pretty funny if they abandon all of us for their tablet strategy. WHO will be mad then? It won't be the Android or iOS folks.

Mad? No, I was stating a fact that the Epic has not been upgraded to 2.2. Rooting and flashing a different ROM is not an official upgrade now is it? BTW, us Android people? Please, my 11 year old daughter is getting an Android phone, my wife has one....don't make it sound like Android sales are driven by the world's leading tech experts, it's average people just like the iPhone, WP7, Nokia devices or any other phone, with tech geeks in all those crowds and far from a significant percentage for any device.

Uh, you're really not paying attention. It is official. You could download the official release yesterday and they are doing OTA starting today. Epic is 2.2. Nice big screen. Good keyboard (though I'd prefer portrait) and 4G speed where I live. Gorilla glass so it doesn't look like a Pre after a week. Is WebOS better? Maybe. But, you all sound like those guys holding out hope that BEOS would rule at some point. What was that last line in the tv movie Pirates of Silicon Valley?

That was a "Samsung" issue... not Android. Samsung held up the update. I'm sure Palm is gonna knock it outta the park when they get started on the next set of devices... they will have a little more momentum to work with.

I can't post in the forums, Any help?

im sick of waiting web os 2.0 to come out for pre and pixi plus

Relax. WebOS 2.0 will be released "in the coming months". LOL

well that video came down quick!

oops! they already fixed it...sorry

Are you guys seriously complaining about hardware on this article? Just get a new phone already and move on, geez!

Anyway, back to the topic of the article. This virtual keyboard looks really nice, goes with the style of webOS. It def needs improvement and optimization before it's released but this is a disabled beta keyboard. Why the hissyfits?

Because people like to complain.

HPalm should hit up Swype and have them hook us up! Way more reliable to use on any size of screen

Is it possible to add "double meta tap" to be equivalent to "Opt+Sym+K"? If it is, then it would be easier to use this virtual keyboard. I really like the look of it.

Nice x2

Nice to see it there, but I'm going to miss the quick wave :(

So will I... When I'm bored, I sometimes just start using the wave bar... is that weird?

I do the same thing. The wave bar is just so cool - and useful. I actually have the four quick launch buttons disabled for a nice, clean look and just use the wave bar. So seeing it replaced by a keyboard is disappointing.

But taking a step back it makes sense that the keyboard would only be enabled on larger devices, like say tablets. So if a new webOS phone ever comes out, it will probably still use the wave bar while tablets will not. And in any case, this is pre-release code which will likely never be enabled on older devices, so there's no reason to panic and throw around the ever ubiquitous "Fail."

On another semi-off-topic note, I'm probably headed towards the end of my time with my Pre Minus as my main phone. I've dropped it a few times and the latest drop has broken the on/off switch. Also, I've been running into a problem with my phone simply shutting off when it's left on the Touchstone overnight. A lot depends on what Sprint wants to do but with the Pre EOL'd, I'm guessing they'll push me to an Android phone and with no new hardware from Palm, I'm likely to jump.

I'll probably stick around here however. I love webOS and have enjoyed my Pre and might even continue using it as a PDA or a display device (I have four Touchstones, so I might as well use them while I'm waiting for Palm to release new hardware in the US. I'll doubtlessly have to consult the community in the forums while I do this so the next few months should be interesting.

Love the VK, but I REALLY REALLY REALLY (x10) love the quick launch bar. I have it hidden to see my whole background pic and just for a cleaner look (and I love to give it to people and say here, figure it out beatch! LMFAO) This sucks.

But I also have a Pre- that has been dropped, more than once DarthRepublican. Ooops =). I really need Sprint to get a new WebOS phone, even the damn Pre 2 (even though I want a WebOS SUPERPHONE!!!!) Because I AM NOT going to effing Android.

Seems to me that it should just be a launcher icon in the wave rather than replacing it altogether. I need the wave as I have the icon bar permanently hidden.

Agreed. I never use it. Swipe up is where it's at.

Wow that look like a really awkward keyboard to use with such a tiny screen. And the keyboard looks stupid to boot.

Im gonna stick with swype on my epic.

EDIT: After watching that video i was literally rofling at how shitty that keyboard is, and how many tries it took to type "precentral.net" so pathetic, then again thats why u guys have 2%

if a video of unfinished code, is all it takes to make you literally roll on the floor, laughing, i'd say you pretty easily amused.

Pray tell, why in the world would you post a flash video to a site devoted to a mobile device) whose users frequently access the site from said device) which can't play flash videos?

Because they are youtube videos that when clicked will play in our Youtube app provided Youtube is embedding properly, which it currently isn't probably because the video is still processing.

Because our Android Phones have Flash.

And every phone has a Youtube app so if you click the video you will be redirected to the App.

This gives me hope that a new device with at least a 3.5" screen will come out!

Hows it look like in landscape??

cheeky. but not nice.

Nooooo! Don't take my wave - that was the only thing left about the Palm Pre to brag about. I'm all for a virtual keyboard, but handle it some other way... Like the homebrew MetaTap x 2

While it's nice to hear about virtual keyboard, it should be ready to go NOW. It's meant for the tablet but should be stable and useable on Pre2 phone now.

Looks pretty smooth and responsive to me. Very cool. I don't mind it on a small screen either. Comes in handy for quiet typing on occasion. Very hapy to see this in there and working. Nice.

not the wave bar...i guess thats a possible reason they may have decided to keep icons on the wave bar in the launcher as well.

I thought this was official :(

So, the virtual keyboard replaces the wave launcher? That's a #FAIL in my book. I still want to be able to have the standard launcher bottom bar, AND have the wave launcher with DIFFERENT apps in it.

Does this mean using a 'virtual keyboard slot' in the OS for other virtual input methods would be more likely in webOS 2.0? There's a discussion in the forums going on now about MessagEase, could it be implemented for webOS...


Unfortunately, I won't be sharing the joy of 2.0 when it does arrive.

I'm no longer a member of the forums anymore. I'm still able to post comment here though. I love webos and, more precentral forums. I will continue to supporting precentral, and webos no matter what happens.

I guess I've been warned too many times, and take my membership previlage for granted. I've receive several pardons, and still didn't act on it. Now I have no one else to blame - but my stupid and inappropriate behaviour(Sometimes).

I would really hope the staff management would have me suspended for a month, or two - rather than definitely. I apologize to Pre|Central for being off topic with this post, but I don't have any other way to tell my story.

I hope that the staff members would accept my apology, and give me "Just One More Chance" just to prove them wrong.

Regards -

wow. If you did something to get banned from THIS SITE you really deserve it

Good riddance.

and we wonder why companies don't give us previews of things. It's obvious this keyboard is designed for a non physical key board (slate,tablet) yet everyone is complaining about that is should be out on the pre 2. Have you tried using the touch keyboad from homebrew. While nice it is too small of screen to truly be functional. I love that it was leaked cus it makes me more faithful that hp will be coming out with some sweet phones. I've been thinking recently if I am ready to make the dive from physical to touch kb and knowing that I will likely be able to make that decesion with a webos phone is just exciting. You know something will be coming in january just hold on to your panties all you cry babies out there

What concerns me the most about this? The PalmPad (or whatever it's called) can not be that close to realization if there is still a buggy virtual keyboard. A virtual keyboard would be a necessity on a tablet/pad.

Can PalmPad really be as close as everyone is thinking?

This is webOS 2.0 we're seeing here. The VK in there is just preliminary code, not meant for public use. webOS 2.0 was finalized months ago by Palm and just released with the Pre 2. Don't think for a moment that Palm is not currently working on 2.1, 2.2 or maybe even 2.5 right now (probably all of them at one stage or another). When Palm develops the OS, they don't stop development when a device releases or OTA update occurs. They are constantly working on it. WebOS 2.0 is the initial release. They have a pipeline in place for future features (Rahul Sood even stated that there are far more features yet to be revealed in webOS 2.x). What we are seeing here is a hacked webOS image running a VK version that was never intended to be seen as a final product, but rather, a work-in-progress. More than likely Palm has the VK slated for public release in a near-future webOS update, probably the one the corresponds with the PalmPad device release. Don't be quick to judge the current progress of development based on a video of an un-implemented feature hacked into an OS version that was finalized months ago.

this is a welcome sight to see, although the implementation and look is a little rough. I wish they wouldn't retreat to the use of gradients everywhere, especially a big black to dark gray one. but like everyone has so obviously pointed out already, it's quite cumbersome to be using this type of keyboard on a screen so small. but i am glad that hp has standardize the use of it in 2.0 and am looking forward to it being smooth, not jittery, effective, and intuitive. there still isn't a great fix for carefully inserting the cursor where you want it to go without pecking at the screen a few times (unfortunately apple already has a great 'magnifier' solution that works). but it's careful details like these (along with things like copy and paste, i don't think it should require two keystrokes to perform, be innovative hp/palm) that make the user experience seamless and worth it.

here's to hoping for happy things to come in january. (but shipping in july...)

This would be cool,if I could see the video!! I'm using a first generation pre and I hope this video was'nt posted thinking everybody has a pre 2 with flash. Can somone tell me where to find the video?? Thanks in advance,nothing bad to say. WebOS-Is-The-Best!!!

do a search on youtube for it.

Now we need a patch for 2.0 where tapping on the "Just Type" "widgit" will automatically launch the virtual keyboard :)

had a chance to use an IPad saturday & I must say using a virtual kb on large screen is pretty darn good. Other than Tru Multitasking... I liked the IPad. Failure @ CES & I'm gone to APPLE PRODUCTS...

I had a chance to use a Dell Streak on Saturday, and the virtual keyboard on a 5" screen is pretty nice too.

2.0 or we go.

2.0 OR WE GO.

I use the Quick Launch Wave every damned day. I strongly dislike the idea of it going away.

AGREED!!!!!!! x10!

i love the wave bar
palm has been around for a while and wants to be able to deliver quality products, which i believe they have been successful in. unlike the other phone companies or software that push to get their phones out as quickly as possible.

also, i dont understand why there are an abundance of android freaks that comment on this website with nothing but negativity, it is called precentral for a reason.


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You Suck

They could still keep the existing wave by making the keyboard come up by doing the wave from right to left or something like that.

i think a double meta-tap is an excellent way to start up the VK. leave the wave where it's at!

Gah! Just got it working. This is actually really useful, i hate walking around with the keyboard slid out.

Did someone in the meantime find a way to invoke the keyboard with double (meta) tap or something like that? It would be nice to have both the keyboard and the quick launcher.

luna.conf patch did it!