How Many Cards is Too Many? | webOS Nation

How Many Cards is Too Many? 14

by Dieter Bohn Thu, 12 Mar 2009 3:35 pm EDT


During the first Sprint/Palm Pre Webinar, Palm's Matt Crowley pointed out that the Pre was designed to look and feel like a river stone.  Trying to find news from the event was basically like trying to squeeze blood from that proverbial stone.  We've already touched on the hard new info we got -- details on Sprint plans for the Palm Pre -- but there is another issue that cropped up briefly.  That issue: just how many cards / apps can the Pre run simultaneously.  Here's the scoop.

There will be a limit on how many cards the Pre can have open at the same time, but it's not going to be a hard and fast number.  Instead it will be based on how much RAM is left on the device depending on how much RAM your apps are using.  Have a ton of heavy web pages and email and other RAM-intensive apps open?  The number will be lower.

There's no hard and fast number, then, but about how many?  Well, we have conflicting information.  In my previous hands-on time with the Pre, I was told that somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 cards was certainly possible and not going to slow the device.  During the webinar, however, Crowley said something to the tune of "Anything more than 4 to 5 cards becomes unwieldy."  That sent a chill through the liveblog comments, but I don't think I conveyed his intentions with that statement clearly.  It wasn't that 4-5 was an upper limit, it was just that keeping track, arranging, and finding your open cards could become a bit of an 'unwieldy' chore if you have more than those open.  So it wasn't so much a statement about limits as it was a statement about how Crowley prefers to use his Pre.

So there you have it -- we don't know the exact upper limit, but it's definitely more than 5 and that limit to cards will vary depending on what you're doing with the device.  Just what will happen when you approach or reach that limit is unclear -- just another question to add to the stack of nitty gritty details we can't wait to answer when the thing finally gets released.  Someday.



Nice to know..thanks.

That was the interpretation I assumed too, but good to have it confirmed.

Thanks Dieter! I was wondering about that. And Thanks for doing the live blogging for us! You're awesome!!

I saw a video trailer running on the Pre just once in a demo and there was noticeable slowdown in the OS, in fact, it kind of froze. This is no surprise - video was conspicuously absent from the presentation in January.

4 or 5 cards - email, web, im\sms, phone, calendar and maybe contacts or music appl.

Sounds ok to me.

Well with the notifications I don't think keeping IM/SMS and email open would be necessary. This phone can't come out soon enough..

So it looks like the card thing is just a gimmick. In fact, it would be easier to just jump back to the launcher and hit the icon for the right app.

Why you say that?

Because it is.

Maybe to you, but now that I've seen it, anything else on my device when trying to switch between applications feels very inconvenient and slow.

Isn't this the same issue you have with any windowing system though? I mean, in Windows, the number of apps I can have open at the same time is limited by memory just like they are saying it will be with the Pre.

I agree that once you get past a certain amount of cards, it becomes difficult to deal with them on such a small screen but I don't know what that magic number is. I suspect it will be different for everyone.

>> In fact, it would be easier to just jump back to the launcher and hit the icon for the right app.

Hmmm...I don't agree with this. At least it's not *always* true. If I have 2 pages of icons but only two or three cards open, I think it would be easier to just go back to a card via the card view than it would be to sift through all of my icons looking for the app.

It's like saying clicking Start -> Programs and searching for the program to run is easier than using Alt+TAB to switch to an already running app in Windows. Or that running an app from the command line is is *always* better than using bg, fg and jobs in linux.

And I won't even get into whether "starting an app" is the same as "switching to an app".

Even if there wasn't a ton of new information, thanks for so many details. As for the cards - I still can't get over the habit of using Firefox with 20+ tabs open. I'm guessing there are others like me that will be living with an "unwieldly" number of cards open too.


20+, eh? I can't get it under 50-60 most of the times, I'm at 68th right now... ;) But I think smartphone is a different case and I won't have the same problem with my Pre. :)

How many applications can the phone have? Or better yet how many pages of applications can the phone have? I have a Sprint Mogul now and use WMWIFIROUTER Alot. Any chance that this phone could do something similar?