Back To WebOS

Recently my iPhone SE has been having some problems - big problems. The phone itself runs fine and has no issues handling iOS in general or any apps I wish to run. It's practically still brand new in that sense. However, somewhere within the power/lock circuity there seems to be a malfunction causing the screen to lock and unlock at random. Although very annoying, it was still usable for few months.

Enter the curse of 2018! The is practically useless now. It locks/unlocks so much that I can't even accept a phone call. Due to this tragedy, I was forced to find another cellular device.

Replicant was my first choice. I plugged in my SIM card and … nothing happened. Turns out either Replicant 6 has a bug or the phone's SIM reader is broken. Either way, I had to ditch the idea because I didn't to get a working phone quickly.

Then it hit me… Palm/HP Pre 3!

Back in 2013, I purchased a "rare" Palm/HP Pre 3 just for hacking around with. I had used the phone before and installed some custom things on it to bypass the "first time using" screens. I didn't really do too much with the device since then, however.

I knew that there was a hidden underground community of legacy webOS hackers that kept the OS alive, so I knew that they would be able to guide me into using it in modern times.

So I hopped onto the webOS forums and started searching.

I found a ton of information about what apps to get, what patches are helpful, and what I need to do to get the device working. Things like SSL certifications are really important. If you want to sync up email, calendar, and contacts, you need to get those figured out! Luckily, the community was excellent at laying out the foundation for this stuff.

Once I got that stuff all installed - it didn't work. Literally. I flat out had the same problems as before. Old certs! I don't know what was wrong.

It took me nearly a week to get it all sorted. For some reason, once I installed the OAuth2 patch everything started working! The floodgates were opened! I synced my emails, my calendars, and my contacts! It was great. Now I'm using webOS on my Palm/HP Pre 3 full time.

People keep asking me: "Are you gonna buy a new iPhone?" My response is usually something like this: "Yes, but not until around September because I heard rumors that they [Apple] plan on making a new SE model. I like the smaller size." This is mostly true! I do plan on using this device until then, if they make a new SE model. Otherwise, we'll see.

There is something else that I've been keeping on my radar too. A company called TCL1 that bought the Palm name. They've been teasing us with hints that they plan to make phones in a palm-like manner. If they do make a phone like that, I might be very tempted to switch to that. It will probably be an Android phone by default, which makes sense. However, the rest of the webOS community and myself don't want to run Android! We want webOS! We hope that us bothering them will convince them to free2 the device - allowing us to install LuneOS, a cousin of webOS.

Another question I get asked a lot is: "What's so great about webOS?" My answer for this could be a book trilogy, if I wanted, but I'll keep it short for now.

WebOS shipped with a ton of very unique concepts that shaped the way smartphones work nowadays. Most notably is the card view. This was a brilliant way to multitask on a touch device - allowing the user to just swipe in either direction to go to the next app. This originally came out in 2009 and just recently have seen this concept come up in iOS and Android. However, their versions of this concept suck compared to webOS3.

Another great feature was gestures. These were swiping motions that you'd preform on the gesture area on the device. The gesture area was location under the screen and above the keyboard on Pre devices, the pixi, and the veer. There was a really line that would illuminate here as well. Using gestures to swipe into the next app, or go back, or view the card view was extremely productive. In fact, once you get used to them you never wanna go back to the boring-ness of iOS or Android navigation.

iOS did learn about gestures from webOS though. They added in the swipe-to-go-back feature, although it is nothing compared to webOS.

Just Type is another amazing feature from webOS that we see in modern mobile OS's now. iOS has spotlight4 which does pretty much the same thing as just type. However, who actually uses spotlight? I know that the only time I use spotlight is when I'm on someone else's phone and I don't know where the app is. That it. But why? Why is spotlight so useless on iOS? Let me explain.

Just type is extremely useful because you literally just type. On iOS and Android (or any phone with no physical keyboard), you had to invoke the searching (spotlight, etc.) before you can use it. This is because you don't always have the on-screen keyboard open. Thus, it's almost out of the way to use it. With just type, you just type. This is why it's such a great feature!

There are a ton more features that I could go through and explain but I don't wanna make this post too long.5 So I'll just list a few others without explaining:

  • Touchstone
  • Exhibition
  • Card Stacks
  • Always accessible launcher/main menu
  • Swipe up to close
  • Physical keyboard
  • Slider Phone
  • The mirror on the back
  • The device's unique it-belongs-in-my-hand ergonomics
  • Patchable/hackable
  • Third party apps
  • It's just GNU/Linux! (You can use the terminal)

So that's it! That's why I plan to use this phone until I see something better on the market. I hope that LuneOS turns out good and brings use the modern webOS experience that we've all been waiting for.



I don't know their website's URL.


as in freedom


This is because iOS and Android don't revolve around the concept of multitasking. It was an afterthought, therefore, we don't see it's power in those OS's.


Yes, I know iOS has had that for a while. But it's very similar to just type now.


It already is.

Author: Kevin "The Nuclear" Bloom