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Why I like WebOS (and can't wait for the Palm Pre on ATT)

I'm a developer. At my core, I'm a web application developer. I know enough Java to get myself into trouble, sure, and I can handle most any language with minimal ramp-up time required... but I absolutely know HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

WebOS - at it's core - is a Linux-based OS that runs WebKit, meaning that the UI components for the WebOS devices are HTML, CSS, and JavaScript!

Palm reportedly chose to architect the WebOS to allow web application developers a zero-grade ramp-up time on developing custom applications and tweaking existing applications for the device OS.

Ever try to create a Hello World application for a Blackberry having no prior experience with Web Services, Java, etc.? How about Windows Mobile?! And while the iPhone certainly has it's adoption numbers and application developers, unless you jailbreak your phone you can't customize the device (nor load custom applications not downloaded from the Apple AppStore.

Android shows some real promise in this arena as well... but while it's an Open Source OS and I don't foresee anything from Google moving into obscurity, it's just not quite there yet.

So back to the WebOS. It's an OS that leverages my existing knowledgebase. I don't need to learn something knew to get the thing to work... and while I'm up for growing as an individual and learning new things to improve myself - who the hell has the time anymore?!

I want to be able to hit the ground running, make tweaks as needed, and get the device to do what I want it to do when I want it to do it... and from what I'm hearing WebOS is the platform that will allow me to do it.

For the Palm Pre itself as a device, the reviews I've heard are all saying that it's a solid device for first generation hardware, and the reported issues I've heard were more WebOS things that can be fixed with firmware updates.

Sprint currently has an exclusivity deal for the Palm Pre through 2009, which means we're potentially only 6 months out to a Palm Pre jumping networks and making it's way to Verizon and (High One willing) AT&T!

Within 6 months, I'm banking on the WebOS being properly vetted by the Sprint adopters, any and all hardware issues brought to light, and a post-holidays launch across networks of a slick device that sports an operating system that I can really sink my teeth into (without reading too many online tutorials).

So what are your thoughts? Have your own wishlist device? Have opinions on which mobile device OS you prefer (and prefer to write applications for)? Fire away in the comments section!

About the author: Chris Toohey

Thought Leadership, Web & Mobile Application Development, Solutions Integration, Technical Writing & Mentoring

A published developer and webmaster of, Chris Toohey specializes in platform application development, solutions integration, and evangelism of platform capabilities and best practices.

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