Palm has just released a beta software development kit for the next major version of its homegrown operation system, being dubbed webOS 2.0, which promises several attractive features for end-users and developers alike. For those keeping track, this will be the twelfth edition of webOS since its debut in June of last year, and the first major full-number version jump. Recently acquired by computing and information services giant Hewlett Packard, Palm has seen a reinvigorated interest in its platform that has been well-received by both critics and consumers.
According to both Pre Central and Palm’s own developers’ site, 2.0 brings no less than six major changes to the operating system, highlighted by additions to the Stacks multitasking system — which is gaining the ability to group cards by function — as well as the Synergy contact management system, which is being opened up to third-party developers for even deeper integration.
Also of note are increased HTML5 compatibility for the native web browser, support for hybrid SDK/PDK applications, and a feature called Just Type which replaces the universal search bar and sounds like it incorporates some of the functionality of the Windows “Run” command. Finally, a mode called Exhibition has been added, which allows webOS devices to display different types of infoswag while “docked” on the wireless Touchstone charger. While the 2.0 beta SDK is already available for download by software developers, it’s completely unclear when we’ll begin seeing an actual device-side rollout (and even more importantly, when we’ll discover which present and future products will be blessed with the update).