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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.
Linking webOS devices to add functionality
Palm was responsible for most of the innovation covered in this collection, but HP introduced one that is still in use today. Given HP's short tenure with webOS, it's likely even this one was on the drawing board of Palm's engineers.
HP included a unique function in the Palm Pre 3 and TouchPad never before seen. These two webOS devices could wirelessly sense when near each other to meld OS operation seamlessly.
While using the TouchPad tablet, with the Palm Pre 3 phone nearby, calls and text messages would automatically appear on the tablet. The user didn't have to pick up the phone to deal with interruptions. They could see them on the tablet they were holding. This turned the two devices into a single communications solution, simply by having them close to one another.
This is basically the same functionality seen today in the hot wearable segment, smartwatches in particular. When you see an incoming call or message on your watch, you can thank webOS for bringing that into play.