Dig around in your closet, dump out that side table drawer, and wade through boxes in your garage. Do whatever you have to do to find those old Palm OS devices because there’s a new software archive in town!
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.
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!