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Integrating social networks into the fabric of the OS
One of the most significant features in webOS introduced by Palm was so good it is now used in every major mobile platform. Palm called it Synergy, and it is the integration of social networks and major online services into the core of the OS.
When you get a call on your smartphone and see the caller's Facebook profile picture, you can thank webOS for that. Palm built into webOS the ability to integrate with Facebook, Twitter, and major online services. This integration linked the user's phone contacts with those of Facebook in particular, building a single pool of contact information.
This integration is now commonplace on every major mobile OS, including iOS, Windows Phone, and Android. This all started with Palm and webOS.
Swiping in from the bezel to facilitate operation
HP introduced the ill-fated TouchPad tablet, and it extended the unique touch interface by using touch-sensitive bezels around the screen. This eliminated the need to include physical buttons. Users could invoke the unique 'apps as cards' interface by swiping up from the bottom bezel, among other functions.
The concept of swiping in from the bezel is alive and well in Windows 8. Those using Microsoft's latest version of Windows on touch devices are familiar with invoking common system menus by swiping in from the four sides of the screen.
When you swipe in from the side to slide a menu out for app operation, you can thank webOS. This functionality is common in all mobile OSes, especially Android.
Wireless device charging hits the mainstream
The ability to charge gadgets without plugging them in wasn't introduced by Palm, but it's implementation of the option was a first. The Touchstone charger for the Palm Pre was elegantly designed and Palm Pre owners snapped them up in droves.
The optional Touchstone charger was a small 'stone' that would charge the phone by simply placing it on the charger. The Touchstone was plugged into the wall and set on the desk, and the phone would charge wirelessly through the back cover of the phone.
Wireless charging is now available through major OEMs, like Nokia for its phones.
Palm was the first to integrate wireless charging with the OS. When the Palm Pre was set on the Touchstone to charge, the phone would automatically switch to speakerphone mode so calls could be made hands-free. This was carried onto the TouchPad, as HP produced a desk stand that would wirelessly charge the tablet. The OS could automatically switch to a dock mode and display desired information while sitting in the stand.
Dock mode switching is now integrated into Android.