Palm’s latest software development kit for the WebOS platform wasn’t public for very long before a developer leaked a somewhat substantial piece of information that was under a non-disclosure agreement. It was early last week when the SDK went live and only one day later did the unnamed developer reveal a configuration file that read, “VirtualKeyboardEnabled=false.”
Of course neither of Palm’s current offerings truly require a virtual keyboard and it’s still unknown whether or not the Pre, Pixi, Pre Plus, or Pixi Plus will make the jump from 1.x to 2.0. Instead, we’ll likely see a virtual keyboard on Palm’s next smartphone offering even if it comes packed with a hardware keyboard like the other WebOS devices we’ve seen. Some users were clamoring for an onscreen keyboard for those quick text entry fields that don’t require more than a few characters.
Hopefully Palm offers a candy bar device with no moving parts, something similar to the iPhone, Droid X, or EVO 4G. It seems there’s a significant opportunity for the growing crowd of smartphone users that don’t require a hardware keyboard. Besides, it seems like RIM is the best in class at hardware keyboard design and comfort. Slap WebOS on the iPhone or EVO’s hardware and you’ve got a pretty stellar competitor to join the best in class.
While Palm yanked the SDK for a brief period of time after the leak, they’ve since reopened admissions. Since we’ve already seen indicators of a WebOS tablet (PalmPad), they’ll need a virtual keyboard within WebOS anyway…unless they’ve managed to conjure up a new way to input text.
Would a WebOS candy bard or slate catch your attention? Is WebOS’s days numbered when placed up against Android, iOS, and Windows Phone 7? Let us know what you think in the comments below.