All posts by preemptive

August 2011: I ordered. HP canceled any new webOS hardware. My phone arrived. webOS has many innovative features and has a community capable of developing this open system to even greater heights. I hope to see it continue as an option for the discerning mobile device user.

A Quick Tour of webOS OSE on the Raspberry Pi

The release of fresh webOS code from LG in the form of webOS Open Source Edition was unexpected. There’s been some interest in what exactly it is.

Fortunately, web developer, Garrett Downs has the Raspberry Pi 3 needed to run the code and we have a guest post with his first impressions:

When I saw a tweet from @webOSdev announcing webOS OSE was available to install on a Raspberry Pi 3, I knew what I’d be doing that night after work. Unfortunately, the process to build it requires hours of time and a computer running Linux natively (virtual machines are not recommended). I didn’t have either of those things. Luckily, someone had already built it and made the image available to download. Sweet! I put the image on a SD card, loaded it into my Pi, and powered it up.

After booting, you’re greeted with a nice splash screen with the webOS OSE logo in the corner. The recommended first thing to do is go into settings and connect to ethernet or Wi-Fi, so that’s what I did. That’s actually the only thing you can do in the settings right now. The only other section contains some basic info about the OS and that’s it. Alright, how about apps?

As this is the very first version of the project, I wasn’t expecting much here. Pressing F1 on the keyboard triggers the app menu to slide in from the right side of the screen. There are three “apps” in there, but they’re nothing more than website wrappers. ‘Enact’ and ‘webOS OSE’ will bring you to two sites with lots of info about the OSE project and how to get started developing. The third is ‘YouTube’, which is obviously a YouTube app. I haven’t tried signing into my Google account, but videos on the landing page work just as they should.

The interface doesn’t have cards like we know them from old webOS or the small tiles of webOS TV. I’m not sure how webOS OSE handles switching between apps. They only really told us how to open the app list. I’m curious to learn more about this.

I’d say that this is a pretty barebones OS in its current form. It seems to be the TV OS with a lot of the stuff removed (or just not accessible yet?), like the apps along the bottom of the homescreen, content store, most of the settings, etc. I think it’s enough for developers to start poking around though. I don’t know if it’s touchscreen-enabled, but I would assume so.

So, that’s all there is to see for now, at least from an end user’s point of view. If you happen to be an app developer like me, there are already some tools on the webOS OSE site to get started tinkering. I’ve had some limited success getting a couple of my apps up and running. If you’re looking to dig deeper than app dev, the entire project is open source so feel free to dive right in! The documentation for app development seems to be pretty decent considering how new this project is.

If you don’t want to bother setting up a Raspberry Pi, I made a short video showing most of what I mentioned above.

It seems a webOS TV has been rooted.

A source informs us that instructions have been published on gaining root access to a webOS TV. This is much harder than on the old phones and tablets. When this was done on legacy webOS, there was a wave of enhancements and tweaks made available to phone users from webOS Internals and other developers.

Continue reading It seems a webOS TV has been rooted.

Enyo Next-Gen enters private beta testing

EnyoJS is the javascript frame work used by webOS developers to create applications for both the legacy OS, LuneOS and LG’s TV OS.

Those following along will recall that the development team had moved onto a new version based on React.js and that this had potential implications for LuneOS.

The Enyo team have just begun a private beta of the next generation Enyo. What we know is that with LG’s TV arm as their main customer, the focus remains on TV sized apps. Though increased support for mobile is planned, it is currently limited. Also, the framework will have a new name when publicly released.

This next generation of Enyo will be of interest to those currently building apps with the platform, but may also attract developers already experienced with ReactJS.

For those engaging with this testing phase, we’d be interested in any comments. The webOS Ports team will no doubt also be interested in any app demos built with it too. You can comment at webOS Nation.

A future JavaScript framework for LuneOS – Demos wanted!

This article is unusual for pivotCE. Most of our articles are aimed at the general reader, but this one is specifically aimed at those with knowledge of javascript frameworks – specifically frameworks designed for app development. We hope this article will reach such people in our community and beyond in the hope that the LuneOS project can benefit from a range of experience and insight and even perhaps recruit some new contributors.

Long time webOS fans will be aware that one of it’s features was the ease with which apps could be created using methods more associated with web design. Most (non-game) apps were in fact mixtures of HTML & javascript. This and the ‘synergy’ of connecting data from various remote services into common user interfaces is what gave the system the name of webOS.

In the early days, webOS was at the cutting edge of using web technologies, but performance was not as responsive compared to more traditionally coded apps. Since the days of legacy webOS, many improvements have been made in app development frameworks and their implementation to bring speed up towards that of ‘native’ apps or at least fast enough for the user to see little difference. Increasing speed, power and multi-core processors have also helped, though performance is beginning to plateau as the physical limits of current hardware is reached.

The first (proprietary) development framework for webOS was called ‘Mojo’. After the purchase by HP, the (Open-source) ‘Enyo’ framework was introduced to target more varied screen sizes. Version 1 ran on the webOS 3.0 HP TouchPad and was back-ported to phones. Version 2 became a cross-platform framework also.

Of course, we all know about the end of hardware at HP and the eventual sell off of all parts of webOS. Officially, the Open-webOS project is still maintained by LG & HP and LG’s Silicon Valley lab have continued to develop the Enyo JS framework. The part used to make the UI for mobile apps is called ‘Onyx’. To make apps suitable for Television screens, LG developed a new UI library called, ‘Moonstone’. Enyo itself has developed through version 2.5 to now stand at version 2.7 and LGSVL now looks to the next generation of Enyo (Forum comments). But this brings with it potential problems for LuneOS.

Continue reading A future JavaScript framework for LuneOS – Demos wanted!

TCL, Blackberry & Palm

Shortly after the end of CES, I searched idly for any news from TCL. You may have read that they recently acquired the rights to make & sell Blackberry hardware. Longtime readers will recall TCL’s announcement at 2015’s CES that they had acquired from HP, the last remaining piece of Palm Inc: The brand name. To create an image for that story, I added Palm’s logo to the image on TCL’s website:

Palm joins TCL
Palm joins TCL

Since that announcement, where TCL encouraged the ‘Palm community’ to participate in developing a device worthy of the name, there has been silence. Now, some have speculated that we could see some kind of combined Palm/Blackberry wonder device, but so far only a Blackberry has been revealed. If you click the link, you can see the familiar keyboard style & this points up the difference between the two purchases: One is a license to manufacture a branded product including hardware & the software that runs on it. The other is just a brand name. Of course, nothing prevents TCL from making anything it wants & calling it a Palm device, but despite it’s recent travails, the Blackberry brand is a going concern with up to date & current technology. Palm is not.

In my search for TCL/Palm news, I of course visited the website & the image at the top of this story is from that site. My only change this time was to enlarge it. Note how the Blackberry logo has been added, then realise that the Palm logo doesn’t appear on their website & to my knowledge, never has.

Two years on from the 2015 announcement, this likely tells us all we need to know about the future of the Palm brand, but there is one optimistic spin that can be put on this: TCL own the Palm brand. There’s a lot more direct benefit from the Blackberry arrangement, but it’s a licensing deal & one that has resulted from Blackberry’s problems in selling it’s own product. TCL’s Alcatel brand has long been an affordable, no doubt profitable, but unspectacular also-ran in the mass market. The team-up gives TCL access to a technology leader, a respected brand & enables Blackberry to concentrate on software, letting TCL worry about selling product to the masses. If TCL succeed, some of the profit will return to Blackberry. If they fail or the deal turns sour for some other reason, they have another brand ready to be painted on a high-quality handset; A brand unencumbered by licensing fees or any other external requirements: Palm. But really, don’t hold your breath!