Top Five Coolest Features of WebOS

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Palm’s WebOS presentation was the first that I clapped for at this year’s CES, and I assure you I wasn’t just being polite. Here are five of the coolest features the slick new mobile operating system will pull off:

5. Synergy.
If you have a person’s cell phone number in Outlook, work e-mail in your Gmail, and pictures of them on Facebook, WebOS will combine all one three into a unified contact card for that person. No more redundant numbers and fishing through different sites looking for a vital detail.

4. Threaded conversations across multiple communication mediums.
You started texting your friend when she was out grabbing lunch, but now she’s logged into Gchat and you would rather use that to save text messages. WebOS can format conversations across SMS, IM and e-mail into a unified threaded view, meaning you don’t have to hop back and forth between windows even though you’re talking to the same person. The transition is a seamless.

3. Just one search.
Whether you want to search your contacts, files or the Web, with WebOS, you just start typing from the keyboard. The system automatically suggests options from all different places as you type more, and if nothing turns up locally on the phone, offers you options for outside searches, like Google and Wikipedia.

2. IMs pop under everything else.
If you’re browsing the Web and a friend IMs, it appears in a bar at the bottom of the screen, and you can either dismiss it or pursue it further. No longer do you have to drop what you’re doing to respond immediately.

1. Cards instead of windows.
I think Palm designer Mathias Duarte explained it best: “Instead of a desktop where you pile up windows like sheets of paper on a flat surface, we imagined a deck of cards that you shuffle with one hand.” Every app pops into a separate card, and you can flip through them by pressing the center of the screen. You kill them with a flick off the screen instead of an X, and you can reorder them however you want on the fly.

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