webOS 3.0 screenshots: Bing Maps, Music, and more [Exclusive] | webOS Nation

webOS 3.0 screenshots: Bing Maps, Music, and more [Exclusive] 92

by Derek Kessler Wed, 06 Apr 2011 4:49 pm EDT

While we’re sitting around waiting for webOS 3.0 and the HP TouchPad to land in our laps, we couldn’t help but wonder about some of the details of that tablet operating system. Well fret not, dear reader, as we’ve managed to get five screenshots from the webOS 3.0 emulator that give us a peak into some of the apps and features of the tablet operating system.

After the break you’ll find screenshots and our expert analysis (squinting) of the TouchPad web browser (aptly titled Browser), Maps (seemingly running off Bing Maps), the device menu, Messaging, and Music (heretofore unseen apart from a quick glimpse during the Think Beyond presentation).

Thanks, Anonymous!

Browser and virtual keyboard

First up, it’s been renamed from Web to Browser. We got a good look at both Browser and the virtual keyboard during Think Beyond, but all of that was in photos (and occasionally with our own eyes). Now we have screenshot! There’s not much new here that we haven’t seen up to this point: Browser is quite minimalist. In the top right corner you’ll find buttons for what we suspect are share, new card, and history/bookmarks.

The keyboard, unlike that of the iPad, is presented in lowercase letters, presumably until you hit that Shift key (up arrow) on either side and they all go uppercase. That dedicated number row across the top also has Shift characters, and they match up with what you’ll find on your standard desktop QWERTY keyboard. The bottom left of the keyboard contains a button labeled “next,” which we suspect lets you jump through text entry fields on a website instead of having to pick up your hand, tap up on the display area, and then return to the keyboard. The bottom right is the button that let's you either get rid of the keyboard, or hold on it to change the key height.


Like Browser, Maps is a fairly minimalist affair. A shallow gradient bar stretches across the top, holding a search box, search/directions toggle, and buttons for details (or something else that “i” might stand for) and favorites. Favorites would be a new feature to webOS, assuming that’s what the star means.

The big change in Maps over previous versions of webOS is the switch to Bing Maps as the cartographic provider. The change isn’t too shocking, considering how long HP has been a Microsoft partner (we also wouldn’t be surprised to see Bing as the default in Just Type search). Switching to Bing Maps has tradeoffs. Bing has a significant head-start on Google with the deployment of 45° “birds-eye” views, but without the massive install base that Google has they don’t have as finely-detailed traffic data (Google culls traffic data from literally millions of phones with Google Location Services installed, including webOS devices). One nice thing: Maps now has a scale in the bottom right corner so you can get an idea of how far out/in you’re zoomed.


We saw Messaging in action during Think Beyond, and there’s really not much more to talk about here. It’s the same sliding panel interface we saw in February, and the list view lets you switch between lists of conversations, buddies, and your favorites (presumably conversations from your favorite buddies). It’s pretty basic, as a messaging app ought be. You’re more concerned about what’s going on in that big empty space to the right anyway.

Device Menu

While the TouchPad’s notification area may have moved up to the top right, the device menu has not moved. It’s right where you last saw it, in the top right corner, but now grouped together with the time and battery icon. Tapping on it opens a very familiar menu, with the current date, battery percent remaining, screen brightness slider, VPN and Airplane Mode toggles, Rotation Lock, and a quick mute toggle.

As far as device menus go, it’s simple, but it’s full of stuff we know we’ll find useful. Being able to adjust the screen brightness on the fly has been on of the most popular device menu patch options in current versions of webOS, and adding things like rotation locking and a quick mute will make it even more useful. The inclusion of VPN in the device menu reminds us yet again that HP intends to market the TouchPad at enterprise types as well.


Here’s another one we haven’t seen before. Well, to be accurate, we did see a glimpse of Music during Think Beyond, but that was just as a static image that flashed by during the presentation. Here it’s presented as a functional app (though without any music loaded in this emulator), and it looks pretty much exactly like the Music app we saw a fleeting vision of back in February.

The left side features a fairly basic browser, allowing you to look at your music by Song, Artist, Album, and Genre categories, as well as your individual playlists. Nothing groundbreaking there, though it does appear to have the option now to create playlists on the go. The right side is dominated by the list view of whatever option you selected on the left. Without any music loaded in the emulator we can’t tell you exactly how this might look, but the column headers at the top certainly look as if they’ll be able to actively resort by song title, artist, and album.

A control bar stretches across the bottom of Music, with your standard back, play/pause, and forward buttons, a scrubber with times on either end, repeat and shuffle buttons, and a volume slider. Right about the volume control, however, is a button that screams “bigger” to us, based on every user interface convention we’ve learned from the land of desktop computers. What exactly that button does, we don’t know, but we have to imagine it does more than just bump the list view up to take over the entire screen. If we had to guess, we’d say it launches into some sort of screensaver mode with photos or album work or the like filling the screen while you jam to your Dr. Dre Beats-enahnced tunes.

So there you have it, a quick look at the TouchPad’s keyboard and Browser, Music, Messaging, and Maps apps. We’re still at least a few months out from the TouchPad’s planned “summer” release, so hopefully it won’t be too much longer until we get to learn more about the first webOS tablet.


Nice! Just release the thing already!!

So who had to break their Non-Disclosure Agreement to leak these images?

Whoever it is, lives somewhere in San Francisco.

Been a crazy day huh?

Yep that's webOS, as vanilla as they come.

You say vanilla, I say clean, uncluttered and pleasant to look at.

I could not agree more. "Clean/Uncluttered" The way organization should be.

True, I like the look and homebrew is there to jazz things up if users want.

yup clean and when it comes out.... clean and out of date!

AND simple/easy/intuitive to use. Just the way I like it.

What a very odd comment. webOS is anything but vanilla.... These are just screen shots afterall.

Sweet. When is HP gonna start telling me why I need one of these in addition to a smartphone and laptop? I really want to be sold on one so I can't wait to hear the marketing begin.

I am right there with you. However, I have found a way to use this TP.

Since Beats Audio works through the headphone jack for studio quality sound I could/might

Replace my Car Stereo with a TouchPad.
Using headphone jack to have sound go through my car speakers.
Have the TP easily be removed (like a detachable faceplat)
Have my Touchstone mounted and setup.

Soon as my Pre3 touches the touchstone it lauches wifi tethering, which the TP will automatically connect to the wifi
which will hop on pandora or whatever other music thing i want to play.

That sounds great!!!! While you do that, I'll do the same when the 7" model so it can replace my double din radio. I hope the 7" model has Beats Audio too.

I can use the Pre3,2 or 1 for the Mobile Hot Spot in the car too to connect to the TouchPad Mini.

You guys do know beats audio will not magically make Pandora / internet streams and/or most mp3s "studio quality" right?

Yes Sir/Ma'am I do understand that :)
Was more or less throwing out the idea I had without throwing in alot of details about what I know will and will not have the "beats audio" quality. :)

For me, it's going to be for those times that I need a bigger screen than I can get on my Pre, but don't want to wait for the laptop to boot.

I don't see this leaving the house, but I'm probably going to wind up getting two Touchstones for it-- one in front of each TV screen. Curse my IMDB addiction!

" for those times that I need a bigger screen than I can get on my Pre, but don't want to wait for the laptop to boot. "
...and what made you think that TouchPad WILL boot faster than your laptop... FRom My experience w/ WebOS, many good things can be said about it, but booting times certainly aren't one of them...

True enough but like my Pre Plus I expect my TouchPad to be an "always on" device that sleeps quietly between its active periods.

My laptop eats way too much power to allow it to be "always on" and the time it takes to wake from either "sleep" or "hibernate" modes are almost as bad as cold-boot.

I'll take the TouchPad and if it's at all possible I'll donate my laptop to some worthy charitable organization...

I am severely jealous of the new features Google always pushes to iOS and Android, so if teaming up with Bing keeps WebOS on the cutting edge, I am all for that. However the traffic feature of Google Maps is really a killer feature that I rely on a regular basis. This needs to be addressed somehow.

Its a self fixing problem. As people adopt newer webOS devices in mass, bing map's mobile user base will grow substantially therefore improving the traffic data.

Honestly, my observation (from using Google Maps on my pre- over the last two years) has been that Google Maps traffic data is NOT at all accurate. I don't think using Bing traffic data will be any worse than what we currently have through Google Maps.

If you must have Google Maps features, (presuming he ports it to webOS 3) there's always Deiter Bohn's BFG Maps, which incorporates more Google Maps features than the actual Google Maps webOS app does right now.

I like BFG Maps, but it consistently crashes my Pre2.

Yes it does crash Pre2 still :-( I tried somethings but do not yet have a devive that runs webOS 2.x or 3.x and it does not cause an issue in the emulator so it is hard to track down, Palm is not responding to my application for a dev Pre2 :-(

Not sure if they care at this point

Sorry Deiter Bohn did not write BFGMaps, kernelsandirs from watchmefreak.com did :-)

Wait that's me :-)

What would really make a difference for me is if the webOS version of Bing Maps has audible turn-by-turn directions so I don't have to pay for VZ Navigator.

Unlikely to happen - I don't see HP doing anything that would cut into the carrier's revenue stream. Besides, VZ already has priors for crippling features in areas where it wants to provide the solution.

is it me or do all these look very Apple-ish in looks. The menus and buttons? The colors? The keyboard colors? the grey strikes me as like the grey tones makes it look like itunes.

Honestly i don't care about touchpad so i'm curious about updates to phone software that's long long long overdue.

Bing? to each his own. Still prefer google.

webOS has always used grey as a main color, the launcher is greyish and the default background color for a card is a shade of grey. I wouldn't say Apple owns grey, The panes do resemble the iPad in a sense but all tablet OSs are adapting panes, other than that I'd say it looks like a fairly natural progression of webOS.

That Browser looks a whole lot like Safari on the iPad. The Music app looks sort of like iPod on the iPad, except for the warmer color tone.

would like to see a more robust device menu

That's what Homebrew is for. I'm sure that webOS 3.0 will have a Sconix of its own to create a crazy, complex device menu with every option under the sun.

What happened to the original Sconix?

I'm done with all these leaks. Release the stupid things already!

Ugh, if there is no Google Maps option then I think that'll be worse by far. Google has many more maps services, like Transit directions (which i use almost daily).

That'd be a serious blow to me.

Maybe not. Google Maps on the webOS has been by far the weakest, least feature-filled version of Google Maps on any mobile platform. Perhaps the switch from Google to Bing will bring better maps to webOS and if losing one platform forces Google to bring a better Google Maps to a platform that is not Android, then this is an even better move.

While I agree that they may get more buy-in from Microsoft, it could backfire like partnering exclusively with Sprint did for Palm. They came too late to Verizon and Verizon at that point had gone all-in with Droid.

WebOS is trying to make a comeback and doing it with what is viewed as a second-tier mapping solution hardly instills confidence.

Remember that HPalm has to be able to market it as an upgrade in almost every area in comparison to what's on the market.

I'm all for helping out the underdog. Hey that's one reason I'm still with webOS. However, I really hope that HPalm is getting big cash from Microsoft to include it (similar to how Firefox gets big money for including Google as the default search option).

Waiting 15 seconds to launch your map app is certainly not an update so I would hardly say that they have a choice. Besides the app will still say Maps not bing maps, so unless the person is such a diehard google fan that they actually check to see if its bing or google than they wont really know, plus a google fan like that would be an android user anyways

The 15 seconds might be related to the GPS chip or the processor speed. We know the tablet has a much better processor in it. I don't know if the wifi-only version will have GPS or not (anyone else chime in on this?)

I think people recognize Google Maps. It's got a unique color scheme and such. That shows up on commercials. The Walt Mossberg's and David Pogue's will likely mention it in their reviews and not in a positive way.

The 15 seconds is related to the download speed of the network. Google Maps, including the map tiles, is downloaded every time it's loaded. Remember the one and only update to google maps? You didn't have to update the app through the app catalog- it was all done server-side.

No map or app caching for webOS = long load times.

Check your phones connection when you load the app..the reason why it takes so long is because it has to download the interface from the net.

Palm needs to code the app themselves and just use Bing for their map tiles, like Apple.

Partnering exclusively with Google already backfired. The way I see it, if they're partnering with Microsoft, it could only be because Bing maps had more to offer to webOS than Google Maps. It could be that Google didn't want to get a good map app on webOS. It could be HP and Microsoft's relationship making this happen. Who knows...

I guess I'm saying that HPalm and Bing MUST knock it out of the park. A second-tier application on the leading map provider is better than a second-tier application on a secondary map provider.

By going with the secondary map provider, they have to ensure that it's the top-tier application. I have huge doubts as to whether that is going to happen since they seem to be building these applications fairly last minute on Enyo.

Partnering with Bing is simply a desperation move for both parties. Google has no incentive to develop apps for a platform that's pretty much dead. Bing, however, does because it's getting its butt kicked, and some users are better than none.

You do know Bing Maps (at least on a desktop level) has transit directions (that offer more information than Google Maps) right?

I honestly think the "hate" bing maps gets is from the unfamiliarity with it. It easily has more features than Google Maps (again referring to on a desktop level...we'll see how it is on a tablet).

I've actually switched to using YP Mobile on my Pre instead of Maps because YP Mobile doesn't take 30 minutes to load like Maps does. I like it just as good as Google, and it uses Bing maps. I think if you give people the same options and features, they ultimately won't care where the map actually comes from.

I'm OK with the switch to BING for maps....just have it load faster. My Pre takes 15 seconds to become full card view many times. That's crazy in todays day and age.

Yeah, I find I use two things on a smartphone regularly - the browser and maps. Unfortunately, webOS does only one of those well and it's been nagging at me for I don't know how long. If there was one thing that reminded me daily of why I'm annoyed with the webOS experience, it'd be Google Maps.

Yes, I realize it's not completely Palm's fault, but they've had two years to take the reigns and make their own implementation. The fact that no one else has successfully stepped in also highlights the lack of big name developer support which is another weakness of the current platform.

Hopefully that changes soon. A slab phone and fixing this pathetic maps app are certainly big steps forward. =)


No one else has stepped in? Ever hear of BFG Maps?

BFG maps was a nice try, but it wasn't fluid and was almost as unreliable as Google Maps IMHO. I was pretty hopeful when it first came out and it was constantly improving, but it ultimately went nowhere.

Use the mapp app, dude. It features Bing maps and loads very quickly for me. Only downside is that it doesn't let you search for locations...

Nothing's changed with the Pre2...just tested it from Just Type. It took 25 seconds for the first address search. I closed Google Maps, then it only took 8 seconds for every subsequent search. So the GPS seems to be the sticking point, at least getting the GPS initialized the first time you fire it up.

Everyone -

What we need to remember is that these screen shots are of a beta version of the SDK. And does not necessarily reflect what will or will not be included in the final product.

Cut em some slack!

The day they cut HP/Palm some slack is the day I win an HP Touchpad.

Last time I checked, the 3.0 was under NDA. Don't really appreciate someone with access to the SDK leaking. Not hating on Precentral, they got a job to do. But Anonymous is not doing HP any favors.

Can anyone leak when or how HP will make things right. That's what I really want to know.

The "got a job to do" excuse is really getting old...

Yes, it is, given that protections for the press were put into place way back at the authoring of the Bill of Rights. But, since it is a perfectly valid "excuse," old is fine with me.

Aren't these covered by the NDA?

Yes, and they remove threads on the forums regarding anything NDA and they post screenshots of the SDK that is currently on a NDA... Kinda pathetic if you ask me.

It's because posts on the forums are not press articles, whereas posts on the site are. They are completely different things. If "Anonymous" had posted these screen shots on the forums, they would have been removed. But, this person contacted the P|C editors with the information, it was gathered and reviewed for approval, then reported on through a mass media outlet (PreCentral) with an article written and edited by members of the press.

You know what.... I want that rotation lock feature on ALL webos devices.

except the webostoaster of course.. the bread would fall right out...

That's why you want to rotation lock. Keeps the toast in!

Not really interested in anything until I hear what carriers get these "up coming" webOS devices. It's all meaningless if Sprint doesn't get them!!! (at least for me!)
Btw, a nice write up about this on androidcentral.com.

So I I STILL am going to have to push that stupid little button to get into card view? Maybe I am being pessimistic, or I had to high of an expectation, but every day that more news comes out for HPalm, I desire it less.

What stupid little button are you referring?

there is a "home/card view" button similar to the ipad at the bottom of the touchpad.

It is obvious this device wasn't built by the same people who created WebOS. Maybe they have reasons for not including a bezel gesture area, but if BB can do it then why can't HP?

Try a swipe up from the gesture area to the screen. At least, that's what it does on my Pre-.

I'm not liking that the battery is still just an icon without an accurate representation of the actual battery power left. Can't we get a number/percentage icon instead of the same, useless icon that we already have on non-patched WebOS phones?

Hopefully Homebrew can give me some of that nice patching they do so well!!! :)

Without Homebrew, I'd have already left WebOS!

NDA f@gs in 3,2,1..

1. There's no need for that.

2. The reason there is a NDA is so that they don't take flak (aka half the comments posted here) for something that is NOT a final product.

Too bad there's going to be no video leak :(

hey how come i cant comment from my phone anymore?

precentral really much have needed this, this site is so dead and running out of things to write about!

Bing maps is ok, but I think Google is still better.

However, I foresee another problem with Bing maps integration -- Bing is from Microsoft and Microsoft has a very strong vested interest in Windows Phone 7 just like Google did/does in Android.

I think you will end up seeing the same lack of updates, red-headed step child treatment from Microsoft that you did from Google.

Key difference is HP has a much better relationship with Microsoft than it does with Google.

That relationship may end up somewhat strained as HP continues down the path of ubiquitous webOS on end-user devices. Today HP says they will ship both OSs on PCs, but how long will that last once they've engineered a way for webOS to be the primary OS, and have convinced all the key developers of Windows apps to port their apps to webOS? Yes, MS will still have the server business, but those revenues must pale in comparison to 50 million licenses a year for Windows.

I hope to get one when they come out, and no worries you will have all the google maps goodness you would like, I am working on a BFGMaps for Enyo, specifically the touchpad

My question - what will happen when you type maps.google.com into the browser? Today it auto-launches the map app, but if you could get to the browser version...

It opens "http://maps.google.com/maps/m" and the page loads but a pop-up comes up and says "Cannot open MIME type" and you have an "OK" and "Cancel" option and both options cause the dialog to pop up again.

So apparently, despite what I see in the screenshot, there are two bottom right keys on the Touchpad.

"The bottom right of the keyboard contains a button labeled “next,” which we suspect lets you jump through text entry fields on a website instead of having to pick up your hand, tap up on the display area, and then return to the keyboard. The bottom right is the button that let's you either get rid of the keyboard, or hold on it to change the key height."

Maybe it's possible with the new 3D models? Touchpad 3D?

where do I sign up? I want 2 maybe 3 ???

Why is there a monkey emoticon beside the keyboard?

LOLL I just noticed that it IS a monkey!

Over-content UI elements were so elegant in 1.x and 2.x. Why do webOS 3.0 need that bold Browser header?

Overall looks like UI design is not polished.

nice to see device menu patch act as paradigm for new webos versions.

but sad to see that google seems not to be willing to support webos anymore (bing).
This will have an effect on other apps related to google too: YouTube, Picassa, Panoramio, Docs...

Many people have been commenting that the UI is very similar to Apple's iPad UI. And that's just wrong.

But it's true.

Take the Maps app for example.

If you look here, http://bit.ly/fre7VK, you can see Apple's native Google Maps app. What HP did, was just switch the Input field from the right to the left, and the Search/Directions cluster from the left to the right. That looks different enough!

And even the Music Player app (which Apple is iPod). You can see that here http://bit.ly/ecHsgq

Kudos for the designer for picking that morbidly disturbing brown color. The previous track/Play/next track cluster follows suit, as looking exactly like Apple (two smaller circles with a big one in the middle). Even the volume control and track progress bar are styled in the same way with that pearl in the slot look.

Apple didn't get to be where it's at by looking behind its shoulder. Little things like this seem like they don't matter much, but even UI ingenuity is important when setting yourself apart from the competition.

Does anyone know if you can connect a Touchpad to your PC with the USB cable, like you can with the phones, to move documents, photos, etc. back and forth?

It looks kind of Linux to me. I absolutely LOVE how it looks, i really want this to be released.... NOW!