Preview: webOS 3.0 Beta 1 emulator leak [Exclusive] | webOS Nation
 
 

Preview: webOS 3.0 Beta 1 emulator leak [Exclusive] 160

by Derek Kessler Mon, 11 Apr 2011 5:30 pm EDT

We got our first glimpse at webOS 3.0 for the TouchPad back in February at Think Beyond, and new items have been trickling out ever since. Well, dear PreCentral reader, now it's time for the flood.

It's been a few weeks since HP released the webOS 3.0 SDK into the Early Access Program. In the intervening weeks countless developers have applied for admission, and while we don't know what the admission process is, we imagine a large number got in. Thus, it should come as no surprise that an awesome (and anonymous) tipster has leaked the SDK. Now we’re ready to dive in and pick through everything there and see what’s good and what still needs work.

The emulator in question is still in beta, so keep in mind that some things may change and others are not complete. Performance of the emulator can in no way be correlated to real world performance, as it’s running on much more powerful hardware, but yet doing so in emulation which requires some heavy processor lifting. Additionally, we’re using a mouse to operate a touch interface. In other words: this is beta at best and we are sure that plenty of features will change, look different, and possible even disappear before release.  

Those disclaimers out of the way, head on past the break where we dive right in, with video, pictures, and words, to show you what all is new in the emulator, most of which we dearly hope to see when 3.0 and the TouchPad are made available sometime this summer.

Launcher

The basic webOS experience has not changed much as far as the app launching experience is concerned. The basic “home screen,” if you will, is mostly your wallpaper, with a menu bar across the top, Just Type search box below that, and a Quick Launch dock across the bottom. The emulator ships with Browser, Email, and Calendar in the dock, and though we couldn’t add any app icons to it, we’ve seen enough demos to know it can be done.

To access the rest of your apps, the familiar arrow/home button in the bottom right brings up a new tabbed launcher. The Launcher app menu is currently disabled, but we’re assuming that once launched we’ll have the option to do things like add new tabs. Right now there are two tabs: All and Favorites. All is an alphabetical list of all installed apps (separated by letter in a clever horizontal-row setup), while Favorites is a selection of apps laid out in a grid. You can switch between the tabs by tapping on a tab title, or by merely swiping left or right within the launcher. As is customary with webOS, you can put as many icons as you like on one page.

Rearranging apps has taken a more iOS-esque turn. You still tap and hold on an icon to move it, but now the launcher enters an edit mode where you can move around apps at will, remove them from a customized launcher page, or delete them (if in all). A Done button appears in the top right corner to mark your editing as complete and save the changes.

The device menu is still in the top right corner, now paired with the clock. Tapping on it opens a familiar menu containing the date, battery percentage, a brightness slider, toggles for VPN, Airplane Mode, Rotation Lock and Mute. Tapping on any of the last three will add a corresponding icon to the menu bar, letting you know at a glance that said option has been enabled.

Just Type

Accessed by tapping on the Just Type bar in card view, Just Type is a sort of amalgamation between Just Type in webOS 2.0 and the webOS 3.0 launcher. It’s taken on the tabbed interface and muted gray appearance of the 3.0 launcher while maintaining all of the functionality of Just Type. When you first tap on the search bar you’re presented with your recent searches and the virtual keyboard. Start typing your search and Just Type automagically searches your device for matching results and potential Quick Actions.

The tabs are All, Contacts (matching contact results), Content (searches of your Emails, Browser history, Music, etc), and Actions. Actions is where you’ll find app launching, web search (with Google Suggest), and Quick Actions. While all of these options are available under all, the tabbed categories help bring all of the power of Just Type search into a more user-friendly package than the monolithic list we’re presented with in 2.0.

Virtual Keyboard

We suppose it’s not really fair to review a virtual keyboard in a mouse-driven emulator, but here goes. The webOS 3.0 virtual keyboard is a five-line affair, unlike the four-lines found in other tablet devices. A narrow number row stretches across the top, providing access not just to the numbers but ten more alternate characters (the options are exactly the same as on your standard QWERTY keyboard).

By default the letter keys are lowercase, not shifting to uppercase until you tap on the shift key. At the same time, the number keys switch to their alternate characters, with the numbers becoming smaller and the alternates larger. Double tapping on the shift key puts the keyboard into caps lock, and thankfully enough forethought was given that it behaves exactly like a physical keyboard and leaves the numbers acting as numbers.

The “+=[]” button in the bottom left switches to the symbols view, replacing each letter with a single alternate symbol or pre-made emoticons. Now you might be thinking that this severely limits the number of available alternate characters, and you’d be right. Switching back to the letter view is the solution: tap and hold on the appropriate letter or number and you’re presented with a pop-up of matching options.

Obviously not all letters provide a pop-up option, but to our surprise the b key gave us preference choices. Holding on b presents keys to switch between QWERTY, AZERTY, and QWERTZ layouts (English, French, and German), a Prefs button, and Clear. Switching to other languages places a language key next to the space bar that quickly switches you back to the English layout. Prefs doesn’t seem to do much apart from not make the language key disappear.

Holding on x opens up a world of developer delight. You get five keys: Suggest, XT9 Regs, Regions, Rec, and Mute. XT9 Regs and Regions are the interesting ones of the two, as they allow you to check out the trigger areas for each key, which smartly fill the space between the keys in a colorful pattern of flattened hexagons. We’re not entirely clear on what Suggest, Rec, and Mute do, though Suggest does at least put the keyboard back into a more visually pleasing mode.

The bottom left corner of the keyboard is occupied by a key that alternatively reads Tab or Next, depending on what app you’re using (it usually will say Next). This key allows you to jump to the next available text field, making it easy to fill in multiple text boxes. This worked fine in apps, though it failed us to a degree in the browser (it almost always would just jump to the address bar and get stuck).

A button in the bottom right corner with a keyboard icon and down triangle serves two purposes. The first is the obvious one: it dismisses the keyboard off the screen. The second is a tap and hold function, which provides keyboard size options. Your choices range from XS to S to M to L, with XS filling the bottom 1/3 of the screen, while L takes up just over half (in landscape mode).

Lastly on the keyboard is the issue of text correction. webOS 2.0 introduced Text Assist with expanded text correction and custom user dictionaries. webOS 3.0 takes things a step further with text prediction. As you type, no matter the app, the system attempts to predict the word you’re typing by finishing it with letters highlighted in blue (selected text is still yellow). The predictions presented were useful enough, but we couldn’t figure out how to accept the text and move on. One note on the text prediction: it’s great everywhere but in Just Type search. More than a few times we had to deal with the text prediction changing our search results and forcing us to continue typing to get the complete word and dismiss the prediction.

Notifications

As demonstrated at Think Beyond, notifications in webOS 3.0 have received a considerable update that preserves their spirit and usability. Instead of a notification area and dashboard across the bottom of the screen, the TouchPad now has a notification area at the top of the screen, right next to the device menu. Notifications occur in three manners that are pulled straight from older webOS versions: just an icon appears (with sound and vibration if so set), a message preview followed by just an icon (Messaging, for example), or pop-over notification that grabs your attention while still allowing you to continue interacting with the current app (ala Calendar). These notifications, as well as any dashboard controls like Music, can be accessed by tapping on the notification area in the menu bar, which then expands into a drop-down menu with your big-sized notifications.

As with older versions of webOS, you can swipe to dismiss a notification section. Unlike older versions of webOS, if you’ve received multiple notifications from one app (say, multiple emails or multiple messages), you can now swipe through them and triage down to a message you’re actually interested in. Doing so does not delete or mark as read the messages you’ve swiped away, it simply removes that single one from your notifications. You might be seeing a conflict between triaging and dismissing the notification for an entire app. If you have a stack of notifications, grabbing onto the message content (usually the sender and title/preview) allows you to triage through the messages, while grabbing onto the app icon allows you to swipe them all away. If there’s just one notification for an app, the message area and icon both serve to dismiss the whole thing.

Browser

We got a good look at the webOS browser at Think Beyond, and it’s taken the webOS web experience and amped it up to the larger screen. The navigation bar across the top has a standard back and forward button, address bar, and buttons that allow you to share your current page (share functions were not working in any apps in this version of the emulator), create a new browser card, and access your bookmarks, history, and downloads.

Browser (that is the new name, no longer “Web”) launches into a blank search screen. The grid of bookmarks icons is gone in the emulator, and we wouldn’t expect it to make a return this summer. We’ll miss it. Thankfully, your bookmarks are just one tap away.

Tapping on the Bookmarks/History button slides out a panel that will quickly become a familiar user interface piece in webOS 3.0. The panel has three buttons across the top: Bookmarks, History, and Downloads, and tapping on each will change the list below to the respective category.

The list itself is reminiscent of older versions of webOS, with the option to swipe items to the side to delete, and “i” info buttons on the right side for editing (bookmarks) and more info. Making the panel go away is as simple as either dragging the little three-column drag handle in the bottom left corner to the right, or just tapping the drag handle. Of course, you can also select a website from your bookmarks or history to load it and close the panel as well. A note on downloads: at least in the emulator, Browser only keeps track of your downloads so long as the emulator is active. Once you restart it forgets everything that’s been downloaded.

When a page is loading the download and rendering progress is show by a narrow bar across the bottom of the navigation bar. As the download occurs, the white bar is filled from left to right with blue, and when done it fades away. Browsing works like any other touch browser: drag the page around to scroll, double-tap to zoom, tap and hold to access a context menu (saving images, copying URLs, opening links in new cards, etc).

The navigation bar is omnipresent; it doesn’t scroll away with the page. While that means it will always be taking up part of the screen, it does mean that your navigation controls are always present.

Calendar

The Calendar app in webOS 3.0 takes the best of the digital and paper calendar worlds and combines them. The interface is clean and reminiscent of a desktop calendar, with a leather-texture bar across the top (and perforated paper edge below) containing a color-matched list of your calendars. The current calendar view fills the middle of the screen, with the bottom containing buttons to create a new event, switch between day, week, and month views, jump to a specific date (not functional), and jump back to today. Each view has the day of the week and date across the top of the screen.

The day view is the default view, displaying your appointments for the day in a simple chronological list. The collapsed view wasn’t present in the emulator, nor have we seen it in any demonstrations of the TouchPad. Presumably we will be able to swipe left and right between days, but right now that’s not working.

On the subject of things that aren’t working, week view is not present at all. Tapping that button gives you a big blank space with little letters that say “Week TBD.” Month view, however, works just fine. It’s a little buggy, in that it only displays the events in days that you’ve already viewed, and shows the last day viewed as the date across the top. Like day view, there’s currently no option to switch to other months, but if we had to guess it would scroll up and down just like in current versions of webOS.

Despite the new design, Calendar in webOS 3.0 works almost exactly like Calendar in webOS 2.0 (or webOS 1.0 for that matter). Tapping on an event opens a dialog with event details that you can edit. Tapping on empty space in day view or the New Event button opens a new event scene (note: the New Event button currently populates with the current date and not the date you’re viewing). Concurrent events are staggered in day view and all-day events sit at the top of the day view in a single line. Month view is populated with little one-line title views of the day’s events. The calendars in the top bar can be individually tapped on to hide or show the selected calendars, or the Hide/Show all button can do the same for, well, all your calendars.

Contacts

Contacts in webOS 3.0, at least in this version of the emulator, takes the two views of the phone-sized Contacts app and displays them as two panels. The left third of the screen is a list of your contacts, while the right side is the contact you’ve selected. Each view has been practically lifted right out of webOS 2.0, with the only changes being webOS 3.0 specific formatting (the letter row headers in list view are more muted, for example).

The top of the contacts list has buttons to switch between everyone and your favorites, and below that is a search bar to filter down to the one person you’re looking for. Tapping on a contact fills the right side with a stretched-out view of the Contacts app from webOS 2.0. Linked Contacts are still present, and the Edit button in the bottom right corner opens a familiar edit screen that looks and works just like webOS 2.0. The empty oval button at the bottom left of the contact view pane is the marks as Favorite button, it just is lacking the star to signify it as such. Contacts is unfinished, as far as UI polish is concerned, but it’s plenty functional for what it’s meant to do.

Email

One of the definite hero Enyo apps of the Think Beyond presentation was the TouchPad Email app. This app’s UI is raw webOS 3.0. It takes the three-stages of the webOS 2.0 email app and spreads them out into three sliding panels on the screen. The left-most being the folders view, the middle the list of what’s inside the currently selected folder, and the right your actual message, scaled down to fit that space. When you switch from landscape view to portrait the folders panel disappears, but is still accessible. The limited horizontal real estate results in the content panel instead sliding off the screen instead of scaling everything down to a preview that’s just over a hundred pixels wide.

Sliding or tapping on the drag handles adjusts the views, though doing so only closes or opens the panel – there are no choices about how wide you get. The panels are “stacked” with the topmost on the right, tapping on that drag handle causes it to slide over the other two and give you an instant full-screen message view. The email view is a little finicky about how it scales and zooms, especially with “narrow” messages like those you’ll receive from Twitter. Sometimes it stretches to fill the screen, while other times it is enlarged but with paper-like borders on either side to keep it to a reasonable size.

The bottom of the list view contains three buttons: compose, refresh, and a checkbox icon mass edit. The mass edit is a new one for webOS, tapping it allows you to select multiple messages (or just one) to add flags, move, or delete en masse.

Email composition happens in a separate card, as with previous versions of webOS. The composition card is not full-width in landscape mode (in fact, it’s 768 pixels wide to transition without issue to portrait) and is fairly bare bones. There's a bit more baking to be done here (notably with formatting options in the compose screen and background updates when the app is closed), but as before we're overall quite pleased with how email is shaping up in webOS 3.

Exhibition

Introduced in webOS 2.1, Exhibition in 3.0 has received a super-sizing. It’s bigger, and if it worked well in the emulator, we might be able to tell you that it’s also better. But we can’t, as it simply didn’t work that well. Launching the Exhibition app gives you a stretched-out view of the Exhibition app in 2.1. The Launch Exhibition button is present, and tapping that launches the emulator into Exhibition mode. The Time, Agenda, and Photos options are still present, but as of right now only Time is functional.

You’re presented with a modern blue analog clock with the day and date in text below. It’s not at all evident, but you can swipe to the left to switch to a big-number flip clock with the date below or a more traditionally-styled analog clock with the day and date inside.

Maps

Maps has received a substantial overhaul in webOS 3.0, and it’s beyond welcome. When webOS was first introduced, the Google Maps app was acceptable, if lacking in a few areas. In the intervening two years it’s gone from okay to the laughing stock of the mobile space. webOS 3.0 fixes this, firstly by no longer hosting the app in the cloud like Google Maps has long been, and secondly by completely rethinking the interface. Oh, and they’ve switched map providers to this little group called “Bing.”

The top of the maps app is dominated by a search bar with buttons to open view preferences and bookmarks. The rest of the space is pure map. Tapping on the search bar brings up the virtual keyboard so you can execute a search. It also opens a small dialog below the search box that lets you quickly select one of your bookmarks or recent searches. Switching to the Directions button adds a second search box titled “End” (the first being “Start”) that functions in exactly the same manner. If Maps doesn’t understand your query in either box, a panel will slide in from the left with suggested search results, and pins pointing them out on the map. The currently selected result gets a blue pin, the rest red, and selecting a new suggestion will move the map center to that result.

That same sliding panel displays your routing information when you perform a directions search, and it behaves in the same manner: tap on a step and the map moves to that location with a pin dropped right there. With both views you can slide the panel away and the results/steps are instead displayed in a translucent bar at the bottom with forward and back buttons to step through the results and a button to return to the list panel.

Tapping on the “i” button in the top bar will slide in an options panel from the right (you can only have one panel out at a time, so opening a new one will close the other). In here you can drop a pin on the map, and then drag it elsewhere to get information about that location, turn on GPS auto-location, and change your map view. Being that this is Bing Maps, your options are Road (traditional), Aerial (satellite and plane footage), and Bird’s Eye (Bing’s 45° view). Bird’s Eye provides a more three-dimensional view of the area (though not quite as three-dimensional as Google’s Honeycomb maps app) and allows you to zoom in quite close for detail not available from the aerial footage. Bing Maps’ online site allows you to rotate through the Bird’s Eye views available (typically four, one for each cardinal direction), though that option does not seem to be available in the 3.0 Emulator.

The star button in the top right corner opens up a list of your favorites and recent search results. That’s right, there are now favorites in webOS. Tapping on any one will reposition the map over that spot. Getting directions to there, however, has to happen from the directions search boxes. Tapping on the pin dropped by a favorite doesn’t provide any options.

While we’re sad to see Google given the heave-ho in favor of Bing, we can somewhat understand the move. Google partnered with Palm to build a state-of-the-art cloud-based app for webOS and never managed to make substantial improvements to the webOS mapping experience. With Bing, HP gets to build a fully functional maps app, take advantage of an existing partnership with Microsoft (Bing is the default search engine on HP PCs and the Bing search bar is preinstalled as well), and perhaps offer Microsoft some small consolation that one of their biggest partners is rolling with a competing platform.

Memos

Memos in webOS 3.0 takes the stick-note UI from the previous Memos apps and scales it up. Gone are the fun cork pad and push pins, replaced by a drab, dreary neutral gray paper/fabric background that we can’t help but associate with cubicle walls (we're holding out hope for a coat of paint here). Your memos are still arrayed in a grid of randomly askew notes with previews of the text inside (the font size no longer changes), and the top left spot is still the new memo button. A bar stretches across the top with a count of your memos, a search box in the center, and an edit button at the far right.

Tap on any memo or create a new one and you’re presented with a large-size preview that darkens the other memos in the background. To go back, tap in that darkened space. This is both the editing and reading view. The top bar changes to include an “All Memos” button, buttons to select the background color of your memo (the same pastel yellow, blue, pink, and green as before), and buttons to delete the memo and share it.

Moving notes around has changed. No longer can you tap and hold on a memo to move it. Instead there’s an Edit button in the top right corner that allows you to delete and rearrange your memos. Tapping that button puts a small “x” button on the top left corner of each memo that you can tap to delete (you do get a confirmation prompt). We couldn’t get the memos to drag around in the emulator, but there’s no reason to expect that functionality to not be present in the final release.

Messaging

Like Contacts, Messaging in webOS 3.0 has taken its webOS 2.0 version and splayed it out over two panes. The left pane is your list view of your conversations, your IM buddies, or your favorites, topped by a status selector with custom status message options. The right side is a super-sized view of your conversation, with a compose box at the bottom and communication method selector at the top right. In essence, it’s the same set-up webOS has had since the beginning, just all at once. Unlike contacts, the right panel holding the conversation can slide to fill the entire screen.

Of course, this being the emulator and there being no webOS 2.2 phones to pair with, the only options for Messaging were instant messaging clients, which worked well enough. As with the current version of webOS, notifications when out of the Messaging app first appear as a short preview in the notification area, followed by a collapse down to icon size.

Music

The Music app in webOS 3.0 is an entirely new beast. It more resembles a desktop music player than a mobile app, which we suppose is fitting given that it’s designed for use on a 10-inch screen. The launch scene is that of a fixed two-pane interface, with your library sort options and playlists on the left and the lists of that stuff on the right. A control bar sits at the bottom, with the standard forward, back, and play/pause buttons, a long scrubber bar, repeat and shuffle buttons, a volume slider, and a full screen button.

The list view that dominates the screen holds whatever content view is afforded by the options on the left. Selecting Songs presents you with an alphabetical list of the music files on your device, with columns for song title, artist name, and album title. You can tap on any of those three headers to sort alphabetically by that column (a second tap sorts in reverse alphabetical).

Unfortunately, the emulator only supports .wav files, so while we had song titles for our loaded music, album titles and artist names weren’t available for demonstration. As a result, tapping on Artists or Albums under library resulted in a single “Unknown Artist” and just one “Unknown Album” as the only artists and albums displayed, though we could see enough that if we had albums and artists they’d be sorted in a separated alphabetical list.

We were able to create playlists using the “+” button under Playlists, but we couldn’t add any music to playlists we created. Search was fully functional in Music, just tap on the magnifying glass icon in the top right corner and then enter your search query in the resultant box.

Now, to that full screen button we know you’ve been wondering about. Tapping that launches Music into a pseudo-Cover Flow view of your music. For whatever reason, the emulator assigned Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon as the album artwork for our artworkless .wav files. In this view the control bar still sits at the bottom, but a large horizontal scrolling view of all the songs in your current view is displayed above. You can swipe to the left and right to check out what other songs are in your playlist, but the music won’t switch until you tap on the actual album to play. This view is still a work in progress, with no spacing between the album covers, rather rudimentary play/pause shadow buttons, and none of the cool three-dimensional effects you might expect from a view like this.

The notification area player is still present in webOS 3.0, though it’s not quite as dynamic as the current versions (again, this is the beta emulator, so that may change). Opening the notification dashboard provides a mini player with forward, back, and play/pause buttons as well as the current track and artist playing. When the track playing is changed, a wider text notification expands in the top bar to let you know what’s playing next.

Photos & Videos

webOS 3.0 has combined two apps from the previous versions into one, and the resulting app is actually pretty decent. As demoed at Think Beyond, Photos and Videos seamlessly integrates your on device pictures with photos stored in online sources like Facebook. On launch you’re presented with a two pane interface with a list of your sources and albums on the left and the right side filled with pictures based on what’s selected on the left. You can slide the album view panel over to fill the screen if you so desire.

When any of the library options are selected the view on the right is that of horizontal scrolling images not unlike a filmstrip (except that everything is oriented correctly). These filmstrips are draggable, just drag to the left or right to view other photos in that album. You can tap on the album title (or the album in the left side list) to jump into the album view of those photos. Additionally, you can tap on a photo in the filmstrip to view that photo full screen.

In the album view your photos are laid out in a simple grid (it was four photos wide no matter if the list was collapsed or emulator in portrait or landscape). Controls in album view are appropriately simple. Tap on an album to view it full screen, tap the play button in the top right corner to start a slideshow, or tap the pencil edit button to perform mass edits in the album. Tapping edit changes the top bar to say Select All or Cancel, while a new bottom bar appears with buttons to share, move to a new album, or delete. Before you can do any of that, you must first select photos – just tap on the ones you want and their outlines change from gray to white. None of the options actually worked in the emulator, though we expect them to be functional by the time the TouchPad ships.

Tapping a photo (back in non-editing view here) in the filmstrips or album views will launch that photo to full screen. A translucent control bar across the top contains buttons to go back to the last view, start a slideshow, share, move, print, something that has to do with “…”, and comments. Slideshow, move, and comments were all functional; we have no clue what “…” is supposed to do. Comments synced directly from Facebook with no issue, though our Facebook pictures were strangely compressed (as if they were blown-up thumbnails).

QuickOffice

Touted for the business professional using the TouchPad, QuickOffice suite promises to bring document viewing and editing (at launch? eventually?) to webOS 3.0. The app is present in the webOS 3.0 emulator, but it’s not in anything we’d describe as a serviceable state. The app launches fine and lists the files that are available on the device, but it is not able to connect to any of the external services, even when connected properly through Accounts. Additionally, QuickOffice couldn’t view any of the files that we loaded (we tested PDF, DOC, and XLS files).

There are two things worth noting. The first is that this is a beta emulator and not everything is going to work correctly. The emulator’s purpose is to assist in app development, not to edit documents. Second is that we’ve seen QuickOffice work in presentations, granted those were carefully crafted with documents that were guaranteed to work, but it does work in some form. Again, we expect this app to be more fully fleshed out by this summer.

System Preferences

There’s one last app that we know will warm the heart of any webOS fan, and it’s called System Preferences. This app serves one purpose, and that’s to consolidate all of the individual preferences apps into one easy-to-access interface. It’s a two-column app that is quite reminiscent of the iPad’s preferences app. The categories of preferences are listed along the left, and tapping on one opens that category’s options on the right. It’s simple and straightforward, as preferences should be.

Despite the presence of System Preferences, the individual preferences apps are all still present in the webOS 3.0 emulator. System Preferences is quite rough, though we can’t imagine it would take much to clean it up into something presentable.

Other Bits

The various individual preferences apps have not seen any appreciable changes in this version of the webOS 3.0 emulator. Additionally, the Tasks and Phone apps have not been updated (they’re a stretched versions of the smaller-screened webOS 2.0 version) and the Calculator app was not to be found. Copy/paste was not available in any manner we could fathom, though we do know it’s there, or at least will be when the tablet launches.

Several apps just were not functional at all. Adobe Reader opened as QuickOffice, the App Catalog won’t work without a Palm Profile, which the emulator doesn’t have, there’s a strange app called “Communication” that opens the old webOS email app, there were two versions of Software Manager, one that looks to be tablet-optimized, and the other the old webOS 2.0 version that actually works, and a handful of development apps that didn’t seem to do anything (or even launch for that matter).

WebOS Quick Install was able to recognize the emulator and install apps and load files with ease, and both Preware and Internalz opened in the emulator (though Preware was not without errors). The “gesture area emulator” has not yet been implemented, which did make using these apps a bit difficult.

Conclusion

This preview, all 5800+ words of it, has been on a beta emulator. The conclusions we can draw from this are limited, but they’re the kind that make us feel good. We see a lot of cool stuff in this emulator, and even if it’s a work in progress right now, it still makes us feel all warm and fuzzy about the approaching launch of the TouchPad. This summer can’t get here soon enough!

160 Comments

WOW great article. Can't wait to have in my hands :)

It is a great article, except for the fact that they broke HP's NDA agreement to write this!!!

I am signed up for the early access program and I can see all kinds of juicy details of upcoming software / hardware delicacies but I will not share them because I respect HP keeping things tight to control the competition.

This type of stuff will only let Apple, Google, and specially RIM (who keeps copying Palm) know what WebOS has in store for the future. Doesn't Precentral understand this?

Its so simple to get into the early access program in the first place so anyone wanting the info should just ask for access to it!!

I'm pretty angry at this article!! Thanks but no thanks Derek!!

I'm upset at the article too (as a Developer) but I blame the person who leaked it. Precentral is a news site, and thats what they will continue to be. So for selfish reasons, I hope HP continues to support developers and continues early access programs, we shouldn't get punished for one persons stupidity.

a member of rimm is probably already participating in the early access program

A member of RIM? Hundreds of members! ;)

Good review, but I sure wish it was a legitimate source from HP, with all the beta caveats.

Anyone who wants from Apple, Rim, Google, or whomever, can apply to be a developer, make an app, and apply to the to the WebOS 3.0 early access program. So Derek and PreCentral are not releasing information that is exactly "Classified" or closely held trade secrets.

HOWEVER, it is wrong and dishonest to violate the NDA. A person's word should mean something. Obviously someone's word is worthless. So it is kind of disappointing to see it so blatantly used here.

It is amazing to see what HP/Palm has in store for us. A glimpse at the future. For me personally I'm going to get the Veer, hopefully on Ma Bell on my secondary line and the Pre 3 on my main line later on and use the Touchpad as my main tablet.

My wife just got an ipad 2 today (to bad for her). Cant wait for the Touchpad. Good things come to those who wait.

Awesome job. Waiting for it to come out just became more agonizing.

Hope a lot of apps are available when the touchpad comes out.

Nice job, Derek!

So you admit that you unlawfully downloaded the emulator and used it to unlawfully review something... how nice of you to do things unlawfully.

+1

Calm down. I'd do the same. Who's more important? Precentral's readers or a few uptight devs? Remember where you get your donations from..

I am going to go with the developers are more important on this one. P|C readers are mostly fan boys and will buy almost anything WebOS. I am sure HP and Palm could care less about the tiny ~3% marketshare fan boys who only care about getting their next Webos fix.

That's how it was with Apple circa 2002.

My donations? I'm not webOS Internals. Don't just make assumptions that all developers are donation-only and that all developers are members of webOS Internals.

Donations, payments..all the same. Doesn't matter though. Your real beef is with HP, not with your customers also being let in on the fun. And not with a forum that supports all groups of webOS users especially devs. What harm is there in letting out 3.0 features? It's already been announced. If a beta is ready, then a more detailed announcement should've came from HP.

You should get these ahead of time so you can develop. Users should get some details so we can be excited, plan accordingly, etc.

It's unrealistic to think HP can hand out betas and not have it leak out. On the other hand, they can't simply not hand out betas to devs or they'll get no apps with release. Just more rookie madness from HP who should be more savvy about this stuff.

Man, you can get mad at the rules all you want; doesn't mean they weren't broken. Blame the system, but this article still goes outside the system, and the problem is that whoever this leakster is - they agreed to play by the rules.

If it's a broken game, and you agree to play by the rules and don't - you're a cheater and a liar. Plain and simple.

Your venom is misplaced.

Precentral never signed an NDA. I think your venom is misplaced.

The developers are more important

your panties are too tight. how were the pictures and review, since you looked at it all?

Shame on this site, This is a Private beta and you have no right disrespecting HP/Palm like this. I use to think precentral was a respectable site that wanted the best for WebOS now it seems like they are only out for their numbers with "leaked photos" and "leaked SDK" If an individual wanted to know what the future of WebOS holds they could have joined the private beta and found out for them selves. Way to ruin it for developers, HP/Palm and future WebOS users. This will only make HP tighten their grip on releasing betas and version updates to developers earlier. Which in return hurts the app growth of WebOS. Once again it is terrible a site that is suppose to be the #1 Palm community would do something like this. Learn from Webos-internals and get some ethics about what you should and shouldn't write about.

calm down. this site is the ONLY thing keeping WebOS alive. Unlike HP, Precentral is giving you something to look forward to.

The 'only' thing? Not the developers who this story just pissed off? You know, Rod Whitby, Arthur Thornton, etc? You know, the people that have actually developed for webOS? As to say, webosinternals could leave, but since precentral is here, then webOS will succeed? Try again.

Further.... I don't know of any phone that PC is making. I do know I sure as **** want the HP Pre 3. I am looking forward to the HP PRE 3, from HP.

without this site the developers would have no platform. A lot of high and mighty developers on here getting preachy about a site that literally helped to put money in their pockets. geez.

Hp gave you all of this to look forward to and they showed it off at the think beyond events and other events after that. They have a (legal!) right to perfect their products in private and writing posts like this along with people making leaks like this forces HP to become stricter on developers which can ruin a user experience. This was irresopnsible on PC's part and downright illegal for whoever leaked it.

hp has 300,000+ employees. the stuff hp is working on is not a secret to anyone. mothers, brothers, sisters, aunts, cousins...they all know about it

webOS 3.0 looks good but I'm disappointed by the lack of good PIM apps. PIM functionality used to be a Palm strength which didn't quite make it into webOS. The Memos app was pretty but lame and now it's just lame. Contacts management has been a traditional Palm strength and continues to be so but the Calendar while flexible and attractive lacks many nice features which were built into the PalmOS version a decade ago. I really hope that once HP gets over its "copy everything iOS does -- even the bad parts!" obsession, they look to the well-designed and refined apps of PalmOS for inspiration to take webOS back the future.

Yes, I was really hoping with the Enyo re-writes of the PIM apps we would see the palmOS features that have been missing. But from the looks of the memos app it doesn't seem like they are going in that direction. It is quite disappointing.

I'm sorry, but are you guys really this stupid? Publishing this article not only screws you guys over in the future (Read: Gizmodo), but also throws honest, trustworthy developers under a bus.

HP / Palm isn't happy from what I've seen, and they will probably try to find the person who leaks this.

Not to mention that you've just published a video of you using leaked / pirated software.

I do think you guys might have set yourselves up for some litigation. When you're installing the software there is probably a EULA that you agreed to and they might have had some clause about the NDA or who is allowed to install the software in there. If not, then you're probably just fine.

It's not like HP was really giving you any special treatment aside from the Richard Kerris interview maybe. Well I guess you did get that webOS 2.0 preview at the same time as Engadget, so maybe you're risking a little bit of early access.

Time will tell, I suppose...

I really wanted to get a Pre3 and a TouchPad. Seems that will not be possible as I am on Sprint and will not likely be able to move forward with WEBos. This looks amazing and I hope this platform skyrockets and hopefully makes it's way back to Sprint.

P.S.
I really think everyone needs to relax. Most of the features shown on that video have already been seen before.

Derek keep up the amazing work man!

Shameful. I'm about to boycot P|C. Seriously, wtf?

wasnt this under an nda?

Time to download the video just in case it gets pulled.

Looks cool.

Wondering if this is a deliberate leak from the "inside" in order to get more developer activity before June TouchPad release.

I love how this site blogs about developers being under an NDA and then just leaks everything.

That music player UI has to be a joke.

What is this really. With the leaked photos of a Pre Slab last week and an ATT webinar. And now this leak. This is the coordinated campaign by HP to get buzz about WebOS. This is more for the faithful then for the masses. Most of this we have seen in parts but not together.

More then likely this is just a beta that has been supplanted by a better version. All I can say is bring it on!

This is prob one of the best writeups I have ever seen.

I love how offended all the HP white knights are.

:) The burger flippers love having their secrets though.

Very unfortunate that someone in the early access program would leak this. As with the whole Wikileaks fiasco, the publisher of the leak is generally immune from legal action unless they have actively colluded with the leaker to encourage the leak or break the law. Even then it would not be a criminal issue in this case, but a civil issue which would be difficult for HP to pursue (against P/C - if they figure out the dev who did this, i hope they ban him for life). I can understand the pressure of the blog community to have an "exclusive" (but seriously? this is not the NY Times here!), yet at the same time there is a concept of journalistic integrity which should dictate what action is reasonable given the consequences. If P/C is truly an advocate of webOS they would understand that a leak of this magnitude could really hurt the ability for small time developers to gain access to the early access program, thus hurting the very platform they espouse to advocate. My opinion of P/C just dropped by an order of magnitude. boo!

"Never Gonna Give You Up"? Really? I face palmed then almost ripped my hair out. Thankfully...you terminated the song before my head exploded.

As to the actual 3.0 stuff, looks pretty good for a first Beta. Needs a good bit of work, but if the past is any indication, I would say the current in-house version is probably far along past what this version represents.

I like, so far, what I see of the Maps application. Looks nice. Bing Maps are pretty good, and I really like the Bird's Eye view for really getting that "flying over your house" feel.

It will be really interesting to see how webOS 3 looks on a phone. I would imagine a number of things valid for the tablet have to be different for the phone. Can't wait to find out.

I don't believe the PreCentral staff have signed an NDA. They are journalists doing reporting.

The Giz iPhone 4 debacle can't really be compared to this. There was no money exchanged. No stolen property. It is leaked software that is relatively easy to obtain (I've never published an app and I have official 3.0 SDK access but I *did* agree to an NDA, and thus *would not* share any information or software gained from my access).

I can see both sides, but in all honesty, posts like this are keeping webOS from flatlining. Sites like Engadget will pick this up. It will generate buzz. Something webOS sorely needs right now.

P|C agreed to the NDA by agreeing to the EULA.

Not to mention they didn't legally acquire the SDK, thus they actively engaged in piracy.

Clearly you should let HP know of this egregious act and have Precentral shut down.

And no one cares... We're more interested in seeing what 3.0 might have to offer than about devs and their idiotic NDA agreements.

I care, actually. THANKS DEVS!!!

Is that really the case? I don't have access to any of that stuff to look. Does the EULA actually include NDA language.

And, a funny thing just occurred to me. If it does, did you violate the NDA by telling us what the NDA says?

Heh, did you see what I just did there? Somtimes I crack myself up!

Perhaps you should see the comment on Twitter from Rod Whitby of webOS Internals specifically stating what I said: http://twitter.com/webosinternals/status/57959850080079872

As to the NDA stuff, since P|C seems to be getting a lot of "exclusive" leaks lately, I would tend to suspect that this was a purposeful leak. Until we actually here something directly from HP/Palm about this being the result of someone who broke an NDA, I would calm down a little and see.

Seriously guys....don't worry about the NDA and whatnot. Nobody is here reading this stuff anyway. HP killed Palm and WebOS. The tablet and phones will fail because nobody is developing for them, and no apps = no success.

Instead of "think beyond" they should change the slogan to "think for years"...because that is about how far behind they are in both the mobile and tablet computing space right now.

I hate to say it and I will probably get down ranked based on the other comments but I think this is a great article. Precental is a news site. If something leaks, it's their job to post it or someone else will. They are not the one who broke the NDA. Leaks happen. Period. Now hopefully HP knows how to roll with the punches.

Also, I don't think this is hurting anyone. The reason HP only permits certain developers access is so they have some control over the quality of apps that will be available when their new devices first hit the shelves.

yeah i like this!!!

Well, to all the people saying, this isn't hurting... Go ask all of the active developers their opinion on the matter. You know, the only people developing for our struggling OS. Then, when you realize that this pissed them off and they are in fact UPSET with precentrals decisions, justify why this was even posted to begin with. An "exclusive" tag?

They're just upset because they're not the only ones with WebOS 3 now.

Ummm, no. I'm certain that is *not* why they are upset. I don't think anyone was bragging or boasting to have had an 'emulator' of a touch OS running on their desktop pc being controlled by a mouse. I feel confident in saying they are upset due to how this may affect future betas for the developers (which HP needs badly).

That would be on HP for valuing secrecy over development then.

I'm a developer. Three apps in the catalog (foursquare, neato!, and growlr) with more on the way.

This leak and article doesn't affect me at all. This being posted doesn't stop me from developing, doesn't limit my access to the tools needed to develop, doesn't take sales away from my apps, nothing.

I have no idea why people are saying developers are hurt. I'm not.

HP is not going to cut access to the SDK. THAT would hurt them by limiting who can have lots of apps ready when the Veer, Pre3, and TouchPad drop.

If anything, now that this is on Engadget, some new developer will be excited about the platform and sign up for early access are start making apps.

I do not see, in the least bit, why this is a bad thing.

Was it unethical? I don't know, maybe, perhaps. Is it a big deal? Certainly not (unless you work for HP, MAYBE, but otherwise, calm down.)

Ok, thank you for that sensible response. This whole time I've been trying to figure out why this would be a bad thing for developers. Things like this get leaked ALL THE TIME--and often by the company.

I actually just downloaded all of Zhephree's apps because of this great response. :)

Why are developers so pissed about a few screenshots of whats to come which we've all seen before anyway? I can understand people being pissed at the person who leaked it but what can you do? It was going to get out at some point anyway. It's not like P|C posted a download link to the beta.

We're upset because this only furthers HP/Palm's silence to devs with upcoming releases.

We already only get early previews just a few weeks before they launch because of past leaks. Fixing bugs and developing to new functionality is time consuming, and it's extremely difficult to do in the timeframe that HP/Palm usually gives us.

The less HP/Palm can keep secret, the less info they give to devs, and the less new apps you guys will have come launch day.

It won't further silence HPalm.

They need to get this stuff to devs just as much as devs need it.

This was always going to leak - only question is whether PreCentral, Engagdet or Gizmodo get it first.

And let's be real - we didn't really learn much new here - almost all of that stuff has already been shown by HP in previous demos or like Bing Map is available from other sources.

PreCentral didn't break any laws and did their job as a news site. Whoever leaked this probably broke an NDA - but that's between him/her and HP - unless it's a controlled leak by HP itself.

Nothing horrible will happen. We had this whole discussion already months ago and the world didn't end.

We had this whole

I think they are concerned because HP reacted harshly to a leak last year. I'm behind on my reading, but had HP reacted at all? Unless they actually take an action that harms developers, your thoughts are probably spot-on. If they do take actions against other developers they would be shooting themselves in the foot. Any noise from HP?

NO. PreCentral's writer/editor that made this article did break laws. Specifically copyright laws. Not only that, but you can see it is NOT a controlled leak by HP because they sent a LEGAL notice to YouTube to have the ILLEGAL video removed from YouTube.

For a second there I thought I was getting rick rolled

Great article Derek. Pay no attention to the naysayers. If it wasn't for most of the "leaks" out of Sunnyvale most of us would have abandoned ship along time ago.

Nice demo of webos 3. Hopefully much further along than what is shown if we're hoping for early summer release that will impress the general public. At this point, all major OS platforms have committed to their UIs and tablet os. Showing this a few months before release will not give competitors an advantage.
That being said, I'd rather an official preview from HP than this emulator which has some rough spots.

Why is this a big deal to developers or webOS fans again? Afraid of another big company taking ideas or what. I'm on the bandwagon with people that says it keeps us excited. P/C used to have a couple new articles a week dealing with webOS, now I'm lucky if I click on the precentral bookmark once a week.

Man! I'm pretty full after digesting all of this! But I'm excited about this and can't wait to get my hands on it.

lol rick astley

So many people are upset, I mean it seems like nothing can please the webOS community. When HP is quiet with info, people are furious because they feel left in the dark. Now we have a leak, and people are furious because someone ignored their NDA.

What will it take to keep people content, flying unicorns maybe? I don't know about everyone else, but after watching the video I am even more excited about getting a TouchPad.

it will take flying Pre3's and Touchpads to make us content!

In the meantime, there is PreCentral to read, even if the article took advantage of the inevitable someone's lack of honesty.

too much damn whining here.

Welcome to life as a fan of Palm. The community has been in a near continual state of disappointment for years (ever since 2004 when they discontinued Cobalt development and watched their market share drop) the only recent time of hope was when Palm demoed WebOS but then quickly continued implode afterwards. Waiting on Palm to get their act straight has been like waiting on the Great Pumpkin.

Keep the leaks coming. But how about a leak on making things right for us Sprint Pre users stuck on contract with an unsupported phone for another year. PLEASE!!

I am NOT NOT NOT a Palm fan or fan of any company. I don't care in the slightest about any of these companies. If i like a product i use it. If not i move to another product.

i just think there's too much moralistic whining as thought Precentral authors have done the equivalent of slapping Mother Theresa by printing a story. It's just a fricken story. Lots of people here are curious to hear anything they can about Palm products. Especially, when Ruby did like a 20 minute interview and said almost nothing new. I mean it's a palm news site. If they get news i expect them to report it.

I'm just sick of the holier then though attitude. "NDA" whaaa!

Personally I think Ruby and Apotheker could both use a good slap.

i'm not big on tablets so i'm much more curious to see what they do for phones.

In regard to the tablet stuff, i'm not seeing it. What is it that's so impressive about this? It looks sort of like an ipad except barebones and no apps. Yep, sign me up to spend hundreds on this junk..lol

The Pre 3 on the other hand looks much more impressive.

the Pre 3 is also probably closer to being finished.

they probably gotta change a few things so i'm curious to see how it is on a phone though. Like the music app is different the other music app and that's a big thing for me. Like i'm the guy apple is talking to when they say "if you don't have an iphone you don't have an ipod in you're phone." I use my ipod more then my pre. So music is important to me and i had planned to ditch the ipod when i got my pre but it's still much easier to just use my ipod. So i've quite curious to see if then new tablet music player moves to the phone and what features are their, is there gapless playback, advanced tag support, can you slow up and change speed of audiobooks, equalizer, are podcast integrated, is there an itunes equivalent for managing transfers and editing tags etc?

well yeah. I kinda saw most of this at the feb 9 event. I don't really care about user interface stuff. i care about what i can do with something. I still wonder why i'd buy that over an ipad 2. Especially since to me saying it has a better user interface doesn't persuade me. That's not really that important to me. But to others it will carry the day so i understand.

Pathetic! This isn't a leak this is a Full Disclosure, or damn close! Doesn't this now, being publicly available, open up the NDA? So, virtually, Precentral thinks they can release the NDA instead of HP??? Sad!

While I can say I'm excited to see this, most of it is stuff we've already seen.

I, too, am pretty angry you guys did this. Wasn't this just a recent discussion about the illegally distributed WebOS items? And how this is a respected community? And how we don't do that kind of garbage here?

Shame on you, Derek.

and Dieter.

To all those NDA whiners, first read what a NDA is on Wikipedia and then return to whine.

Perhaps you should since you've leaked in the past

CAT FIGHT!

"CAT FIGHT!"? More like a Prima-donna fight. Eat a Snickers already!

Did I? No, I just did the same as Derek did. I didn't got the link from Palm/HP, nor I signed anything with Palm. Ergo, I didn't violate a NDA.

This is pretty amazing

The problem with this post is that it is not just a leak, it is P|C personally engaging in piracy (being *given* an illegal copy of the SDK is still piracy) and then doing an in-depth walk-through themselves.

If they simply posted pictures or a video that someone else took then it wouldn't be a objectionable, they would be posting leaked information. If they were given screenshots or video by another source then P|C absolutely should report it, it is news and *they* aren't breaking any NDAs or copyrights. If P|C didn't post it then someone else probably would anyway.

By P|C actually taking the screenshots & video they've broken copyright laws and potentially an NDA. It's not very good journalistic integrity.

precisely.

This post hit the nail on the head.

I've been very vocal in the past in regards to PreCentral's previous articles on leaked SDKs. We (developers) care about this because HP in the past has taken NDA leaks seriously and there have been resulting actions that have harmed developers.

However I also understand PreCentral's point of view. They're in the business of delivering news and if a story comes along, they're obligated to run it.

However this is much different than the other stories they've posted in the past. In this case, PreCentral is the one running the pirated software and they're creating the videos using that software (vs. having someone else leak the screenshots/videos to them).

Running the pirated software I think went over the line. Also calling the individual who leaked the pirated software to him "awesome" is not too cool.

Dan, I have to disagree here. The one time HP/Palm took action (after the virtual keyboard leak), the reversed it less than 24 hours later.

They've never done anything else to inhibit developers in the EA program and they won't this time.

I'm willing to be the only people this upset about it don't even work for HP.

As developers and fans of webOS, this isn't a big deal.

Maybe (MAYBE) for HP/Palm employees, but not for us.

You're referring to the shutdown of the EAP. You're correct, it was reversed in 24 hours. However the delay of the doctors was longer than that and was a direct result of the leak.

Also their reluctance to share information in a timely fashion, as a result of leaks, is ongoing.

panties are too tight. precentral isn't out to win the good morals awards, it cares about hits. use the mantra 'whatever it takes' here.

HP isn't in a position to do anything anyways. they cannot limit developer exposure to the OS because they're in no position to do so.

consider any exposure (premature or not) of HP and webos worthy exposure.

It's Wednesday, I only wear panties on Thursdays and Sundays.

Businesses should do "whatever it takes" within the confines of the law (yes, running pirated software is breaking the law). Also every business should have an ethical standard they adhere to. If Derek ran the emulator on his machine and used it to create the video (still unclear on whether he did this or simply dubbed audio over a user-submitted video), then in my opinion it crosses the lines of ethics (and perhaps legality).

While I'm not for breaking NDA's. it is refreshing to know a news site that ISN'T too scared to report on something.

A lot of information giving people cower in fear of offending a big corporation, but not precentral :)

Leaking NDA'S has harmed devs. This isnt helping.

Of course YOU would since you're one of the people who leaked webOS 2.0 in a video!

:)

We all just got Rick Rolled.

Am I the only one who was bored watching the video? I mean, its "webOS THREE POINT OH"! With a Sprint Pre stuck at 1.4.5 (more or less) I was really hoping that the big jump to THREE POINT OH would impress the **** out of me. Instead, I felt like I was looking at at Foleo. It was boring. Just some basic apps doing nothing very impressive.

Oh and I see that in the Calendar app I STILL cannot set an event date with a pop-up calendar. I need to look at a calendar on the wall to know what DATE "next Thursday" is before I create a calendar event. ARGH! 2 years into webOS and my 700p can still do this much easier than webOS can!

Why is it ok to show leaked pictures of devices, but not ok to show this?

I am sincerely asking this question, and would like to know.

I think the difference is PreCentral is using the pirated software and posted a video of them using it. If someone else created a video and PreCentral merely posted it, it would be a totally different thing.

PreCentral was wrong to post this article because 1 of 2 scenarios is true:

1) They obtained the SDK by applying to be in the early access program and downloading it directly from HP. If this is true, then they broke their NDA with HP.

2) They obtained the SDK by someone else sending it to them. If this is true, then they are running the software without being accepted into the early access program which means they are running pirated software.

Derek in the article indicates #2 is what happened. So while they may not have broken an NDA, they are definitely taking part in piracy.

Am I the only one who was bored watching the video? I mean, its "webOS THREE POINT OH"! With a Sprint Pre stuck at 1.4.5 (more or less) I was really hoping that the big jump to THREE POINT OH would impress the **** out of me. Instead, I felt like I was looking at at Foleo. It was boring. Just some basic apps doing nothing very impressive.

Marijuana Seeds

Still no sign of

C-A-L-E-N-D-A-R search ?

Despite the new design, Calendar in webOS 3.0 works almost exactly like Calendar in webOS 2.0 (or webOS 1.0 for that matter). sad :(

Perhaps this "exclusive" fantastic article is more bad than good. Its mere existence is questionable. I see people complaining, and people applauding. But those who complain are developers, and I tend to respect them more than regular people... but these actually pay for the developers' work.

But worse is that what it shows is not precisely overwhelming. There's nothing impressive in ot, other than "look, we've got to do the SAME things, only done again from scratch". That only impresses techies.

Its really hard for me to sympathize with HP regarding leaks like this. They need developers badly. They need customers badly. The SDK should be openly available by now. They should be showing proudly showing off the touchpads features early and often.

The way I see it precentral is and has always been doing a much better job of promoting webOS than Palm or HP. Since i love the product, i hope P|C continues to be ahead of the curve in that regard.

and give me a break with the whole "leaks hurt developers". No. small install base hurts developers. incomplete development tools hurt developers. unclear OS update paths hurt developers. the only people hurting developers are HP/Palm. On this site, more good has been done for webOS developers than anywhere else.

/rant

I agree about not sympathizing with HP. By allowing basically anyone into the early access program, they are asking for people to leak it.

I also agree PreCentral has been a key reason for webOS remaining alive. They have helped promote webOS and its developers.

However leaks do hurt developers because of HP's policies. They allow almost anyone into early access, but get really upset when someone leaks it. Unfortunately they then take actions that hurt all developers. This happened with webOS 2.0 and may happen again with 3.0.

come on guys, it doesn't really hurt. last time was over 'virtual keyboard' which was stupid of them to care about because a tablet HAS to have a vkb. They closed access for what 36 hours then reopened? I doubt that is the sole cause for the state of webOS today. any news/buzz is good to promote webOS, get people excited, and get NEW users that will buy Dev Apps, so this HELPS developers.

I personally was debating between wifi galaxy 7 tab, galaxy 8.9, iPad2 and touchpad. This got me excited for the touchpad, so I'm gonna start saving and buy one. This leak/video/post just confirmed a sale of a touchpad from me.

See, the world isn't ending...

I agree they shouldn't care about certain leaks, but they do and the devs feel the effects.

Let me tell you what has happened in the past. Because of previous leaks, HP stopped giving us more detailed information about upcoming webOS releases. We've had things sprung on us out of the blue because they're no longer willing to release information to us. Because of this, we have very little time to react to things that could negatively affect our apps.

Also HP has taken other actions as a result of the leaks that have hurt us. For webOS 2.0, the release of the doctors were delayed specifically because of the leaks. We had no way to test our apps with the OS on our devices. And this was after the Pre 2 was released. So we had our apps running on devices and no way to fully test them (and no you can't test everything on the emulator).

So yes it hurts us. I place most of the blame on HP. They should either open up betas or close it up properly and stop letting any Joe Shmoe in.

I get your point Dan, indirectly, the leaks have hurt developers in the past. But in all of those situations, it was nothing more than HP/Palm taking a not-so-bad situation and making it horrible.

HPs policies regarding leaks are nothing more than an opportunity to shoot themselves in the foot. Precentral and webOS developers do nothing but try to bring mindshare and customers to the platform. Instead of trying to discipline those folks, HP needs to be catering to them, and learning from them.

If you have a problem courting developers, the last thing you should do is stifle development by closing betas or delaying doctor releases. where's the logic in that?

I'd rather force them to change the rules by acting against them, than continue to accept their losing strategy. and if they simply dont understand that their strategy thus far has been and continues to be sucky, then maybe WebOS doesnt deserve success and developers should take their talents elsewhere.

leaks dont hurt developers. HPs silly reaction does.

then HP needs to look at their policies, or speed up releases. simple as that.

Geez... It's not that they show a lot new stuff. And don't you think RIM, Apple and Google already have their hands all over this piece of software? I bet they are and I don't think they need a leaked version.

Just as an FYI...QuickOffice will never work in the emulator, as it is a hybrid app, and hybrid/PDK apps don't work in the emulator...

I own an android tablet, and I can say that that keyboard stretched across a ten inch tablet screen is a nightmare. You need a split keyboard that you can thumb wile holding the tablet.

:-/ My desktop keyboard is 11 inches wide.

And you hold your desktop while typing? Seems a little impractical to me.

this is probably why you're not a UI designer.

The first patch for the pad should definitely be a XXXXXsmall keyboard.

Reading through this comments list is saddening. This isn't reporting news, it is using something illegally distributed and installed and actively "creating" the news. Very frustrating to say the least.

how were the pics and the review though? you read it all right?

i wonder why they went away from google maps but added google docs support?

Who is to say this is not a marketing move by HP to help build the buzz. I think the relationship between HP (Palm) is solid enough that HP would use this site as part of a gorilla marketing campaign to help keep the buzz about WebOS in the forefront as the release date nears.

I am so tired of hearing all of the moaning about NO INFORMATION and all of the whining about THE TYPE OF INFORMATION when it is released.

I personally find this article as a reason to continue to hold firm with WebOS and not abandon the OS for Android or iOS. If it breaks some NDA, I will let HP handle that directly as my screams from atop my soapbox will not make any difference in how HP handles their business matters.

I think this is a very detailed, well-written article and look forward to more in the future. Thank Derek for your hard work.

Guerilla Marketing - Unconventional marketing intended to get maximum results from minimal resources.

Gorilla Marketing - Dressing up a guy in a gorilla suit and putting a sign-board on him.

My bad - my faux pas must be the influence of all of the Statue of Liberty attired Liberty Tax associates on every corner of my town.

Shame on you PC. Shame on you...

One thing I see missing is that ability to send invites in the Calendar App. This is something that is truly a deal breaker for me. I organize many committee's, and being able to create meetings on the fly is must!

Same for me. I will leave HPalm permanently if they blow this again. Thunderbolt has it.

I can't believe they still haven't updated the "date picker" widget to be something that actually looks like a month-view calendar. Selecting month, day, year separately sucks. PalmOS did this right. iOS gets it wrong, too, but in a different way.

AMEN! I need to have a SECOND calendar around so I can check and see what DATE Tuesday is next week so I can enter my event/reminder in the HPalm calendar. Don't the webOS authors use these damn devices?? My 700p did this YEARS AGO!

It makes sense why 3.0 supports .wav. If HP and Beats audio are serious about bringing 24 bit audio to the consumer ear, then .wav is the way to go. However, .wav files are raw and very large files. A couple hundred songs may fill up the storage capacity on the Touchpad. The only way I see this working out is if HP stores all our music in the cloud so that the Touchpad storage space isn't taken up with music.
I still think they should support mp3 for the masses.

Hmm looks like this exclusive backfired and resulted in tension. 2 years ago I would definitely say good job but now as a dev I'm very conflicted by this. I understand that prolly HP has been too quiet about the touchpad/webos3 but that doesn't mean you break NDA with the claim it is for your own good. Its already known that HP is not concerned with current base and in their eyes webOS isn't starting until June. I'm praying that this leak was one of those authorized leaks, otherwise is a loss for all. It is NOT up to us to question a NDA to get something other than if it does require a NDA to obtain something you agree to it or leave it alone. Not our place to question why it is under NDA.

End users may see this as a sweet sneak peak but that is a short-term gratification of knowing something not even finished yet at the expense of devs having a harder time getting your apps out now for it. Also it is giving the competitors more info on this product before it is even released which overall may result in further delays of the product trying to change things up.

This article is a GREAT article so don't get me wrong but at what cost did it come? Look at the division and tension it has caused here already. The devs are praying the EAP wont get killed... Clearly this went WAY off the intended plan.

why is it such a big deal for devs? this is all about native apps?

gimme a break. HP needs all the exposure it can get.

I noticed all the screen grabs are in LANDSCAPE mode. Any chance you can run the emulator in PORTRAIT mode as well? I think you'll find this to be the more natural way to hold the tablet, so it'd be nice to see how some of these double pane apps look when in portrait.

In any of the SKD's of WebOS you can change rotate the SDK by pressing F6, F7, F8 or F9. So yes, the 3.0 SDK can go portrait. I've done it myself many times.

and you just violated the NDA. When are the idiots going to stop violating NDAs?

I hope you weren't being serious.

"Idiots"? Ouch. Harsh. Its ones and zeros...

One thing is leaking a few pictures and a different one is installing a pirated emulator and do a full review.

one thing is complaining after you look at all the pictures and read the whole review, and a different one is doing the same thing.

dont blame precentral. blame HP for having a 8 month gap in between announcing and releasing products.

@Derek: no, the leaker is not "awesome". She/he is a person without honor.

So are you. Some things should not be published.

Shame shame shame shame.

-- stan

Nice review! I recently bought a XOOM to hold me over until the Touchpad and Pre 3 came out. after seing the review, I question a couple things. I don't know about Bing maps. Playing with google maps and street view on the Xoom is Amazing. The music player is pretty weak on the Touchpad comparing the two. I will form a better opinion when i can hold the actual unit, but for now, advantage Xoom. I have had a pre- since the release day and plan to get a pre 3. Unless Sprint fails to pick it up and i fall in love my first Android device.(Xoom) Also, just scanned my first barcode, pretty cool. webOS needs more apps.
Still a loyal fan, just fading a little bit.

Bland boring and buggy. If this is 3.0, DOA. What have they been doing for the last year? They can't produce hardware, their software is taking beyond long. It's like they are -trying- to demonstrate failure. I hardly think this was "leaked".
Look at everything out there, no one mentions webos, web-o-what? who?
Their market share is sliding every month, and this is their response, "leaked emulator" & non-existent hardware? Seriously? I hate my android, love my galaxy S hardware. I seriously wish they would spend their time making rom's that we could flash onto our hardware that we wanted. That would be *exciting*. I'd even pay a pretty penny to be able to do that. Webos is sweet, but this 3.0 **** is failing with non-existent hardware that has forced me look else where. This is almost betrayal.

I just don't know what to think. I had an iPad from my employer for about 6 months and I certainly don't see much here that will counter iOs dominance in tablets. My bigger concern is the phone. I have been with Palm from day one - never strayed once. Currently suffering with Sprint Pre 1.4.5. I have been highly agitated that I can't do "Attendee" in my Calendar app on my Pre(can't on iPad either) and now it appears from this review that it won't be available in WebOS 3.*. I realize this is just beta, but if they don't launch 3.* with this basic functionality I will flee for good. My son's new Thunderbolt has it out of the box.