Palm’s webOS Gets Support for Running Native Linux Apps, High-End Multimedia Tools

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When developing the webOS, Palm decided to make it very easy to create applications with simple tools. While this has advantages, there was a significant disadvantage: at launch, this platform was not suitable for high-end games. Palm is making progress in changing this, though.

As its name suggests, the webOS has a focus on the Internet, and the tools developers use to create software are web-related ones: HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. These work well for creating some types of apps, but they aren’t what someone needs to develop graphics-intensive games.

Palm webOSMost of Palm’s top competitors have a wide variety of games available for them, especially Apple’s iPhone. The paucity of games for the Palm Pre and Pixi is surely hurting these devices in the market.

New Graphics Tools
Palm recently released webOS 1.3.5, and this new version reportedly includes support for Simple Direct Media Layer (SDL): a cross-platform multimedia library that gives developers access to the Palm Pre’s built-in graphics processor. 

When news of this came out this weekend, developers quickly created hardware-accelerated versions of id Software’s classic DOOM and Quake games for the webOS.

Going Native
In addition, developers closely examining webOS 1.3.5 have run across a simple system for running native Linux applications, something that wasn’t included in earlier versions.

This will allow the Palm Pre and Pixi to run much more powerful and capable software — not just games.

The webOS is actually based on Linux, and many have decried this platforms lack of support for native apps.

Changes Behind the Scenes
At this point, Palm has made no announcements about either of these significant changes to its smartphone operating system. It’s quite likely these are going to be made later this week.

This company has scheduled a press event at the Consumer Electronics Show on Thursday. Palm could be planning to unveil the webOS’s new gaming capabilities at that time, when they are likely to get the most attention from the press.

Video Previews

An early version of DOOM running on the Palm Pre:

An early version of Quake running on the Palm Pre:

Source: WebOS Internals

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