Is webOS 1.3.1's killer feature 'speed'? (Update: Probably Not) | webOS Nation

Is webOS 1.3.1's killer feature 'speed'? (Update: Probably Not)

by Dieter Bohn Thu, 05 Nov 2009 6:41 pm EST


Update: As we secretly feared, everybody read a little too much into the notes posted up at Ajaxian. From their update:

We don’t comment on our specific SDK plans, and while we are personally excited about the Web gaining GPU acceleration via technologies like WebGL and CSS Transforms, and we would like to see webOS gain these capabilities to allow web developers to better leverage our fantastic hardware, we were answering a question about our personal opinion on what we’d like to see happen to the platform. We don’t believe the term “immediate” was even mentioned by us, and we are sorry that people have read too much into this particular topic.

Windzilla points us to this article over at Ajaxian [via EverythingPre] about a talk Ben Galbraith and Dion Almaer gave out in London. Those two, you'll remember, are the rockstar hires Palm made back in September. Apparently we can expect more speed to come to webOS, courtesy of CSS transformation support:

On ease of use, multitasking has been great; UI latency is still an issue even though the hardware is comparable to 3GS. The problem is the path to the GPU didn’t exist, but now with CSS transforms, that will be solved in the immediate future

CSS transformation is essentially animation using CSS (some examples here for you coders). The two also noted that Palm is still considering options for obfuscating code (since looking at another developer's source code on webOS apps isn't much more difficult than hitting 'view source' on your browser).

Back to the speed front, we are also pleased to hear that OpenGL support is very much on Palm's collective mind:

However, they can’t say when all this will happen, as they’re evolving the platform pragmatically and they feel other things might have more immediate impact, e.g. OpenGL support.

We still hold out hope that OpenGL will come to webOS via WebGL, which is already in the latest builds of WebKit. Speed-hunters should also remember that Palm just hired Matthew Tippett, AMD's now-former engineering manager.

Now that we've confirmed that webOS 1.3.1 is coming down the pike, we've been wondering what the 'big new feature' was that would justify a full point update. The whisper is speed, let's hope that's the case.