updated 05:50 pm EDT, Wed April 1, 2009
WebOS to get PalmOS Hooks
A demo of Palm's webOS platform has revealed that the mobile software should include legacy support for PalmOS apps. Once thought to be completely cutting off the older software, Palm has now shown PreCentral a version of webOS which includes a "Classic" icon in the app launcher. A company spokesman discouraged running the shell but has promised that Palm would 'talk about that later,' possibly hinting at an update promised sometime today at the Web 2.0 Expo.
The tease hints that Palm may follow an Apple-like approach to PalmOS apps and run them in a special emulation environment rather than try to accommodate the software through native code. Most mobile OS developers to date have either kept legacy code or else cut off users of earlier versions, potentially forcing them to upgrade the OS or entire handsets.
Palm is known to be motivated in part by specialty PalmOS apps that have helped it preserve sales, such as ePocrates. It has promised that developers are porting ePocrates and other apps to webOS, but it's unclear how many of these will be immediately available when Palm's webOS app store launches with the Pre in the late spring.