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Bing maps for legacy webOS devices replaces Google Maps, runs on Enyo

Bing Maps for webOS 2 and below
Bing Maps for webOS 2 and below

On the official Palm Blog, HP announced that it's offering a new version of Maps for all webOS devices, powered by Bing. Palm Pre, Pre Plus, Pixi, Pixi Plus, and Pre 2 owners can download the new Maps app for free in the App Catalog. It's significantly better than Google Maps on webOS, so if you have one of those phones, you should go get it, but be aware that it will replace Google Maps entirely.

Normally we'd be happy to end the story there, but HP has actually done something very interesting here. In February, HP very publicly (and very messily) announced that these legacy webOS devices would never get a significant OTA update again, yet now it has released a new version of Maps based on a new framework that HP said would never come to these devices.

That framework is called Enyo, and it is behind the main improvements in webOS 3.x on the TouchPad. Enyo enables better scaling for multiple screen sizes, faster coding, and a bunch of over improvements over the old "Mojo" framework. There can be no doubt that this new Maps app runs on Enyo. It appears to be functionally identical to the version of Maps available on the Pre 3 and TouchPad. In fact, the man who was integral to the creation of Enyo, Matthew McNulty, pretty much just confirmed that on Twitter.

So the real question is this: why did HP go though the engineering effort to port both Enyo and Bing Maps on to legacy webOS phones? We don't know the answer to that question, but we do know this: Google Maps on webOS was and is nothing short of abysmal. It is essentially a glorified wrapper around a poorly-functioning web app on Google's servers that hasn't kept up with the features on the mobile HTML version of Google Maps, to say nothing of other smartphone platforms. If ever there was an app that deserved to be put down, this was it.

We may never know whether it was Google, HP, or even an overzealous Bing Maps sales representative who initiated this mercy killing, but regardless it's a tiny sliver of good news for a group of webOS users sorely in need of it.