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.
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.
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.
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:
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!
LG has had a few announcements at CES over the years and some of them have included webOS since the company unveiled it’s webOS smart TVs in 2014.
What did the CES presentation in Las Vegas have to offer? As ever, it was less than hoped (at least for webOS on mobile fans), but within the bounds of it’s presentation, what was shown was very impressive.