How webOS is awesome for new parents [guest post]
Josh Marinacci is a member of HP's webOS Developer Relations Team and a new father. As such, he knows webOS, and is the process of getting to know babies.
Hi. I'm Josh Marinacci. You may know me from such educational films as 'The webOS Developer Relations Team', and 'Lead Paint: Delicious but Deadly'. Though I normally I spend my online time talking about how to develop webOS apps, I was on paternity leave recently following the birth of my son at the end of May. This is the first time I've really been able to use webOS purely as an end user, not as a developer. As a new father I'm discovering some of the ways that webOS is perfect for parents. Thus, as follows thusly: How webOS is awesome for new parents.
One Handed Operation
With a baby permanently affixed to one arm, it's a great blessing to use my phone with a single hand. All webOS phones have physical keyboards, which I find to be much easier for one handed thumb typing than a software keyboard. In addition, the gesture system makes navigation with one hand *so* much nicer than if I had to tap navigation buttons to flip between screens.
RSS Feed Readers
When I'm up late trying to get Jesse back to sleep I often need something to read. Feeder, my current favorite app, lets me keep track of my subscriptions, jump to the browser, and syncs with Google Reader on my desktop. When I read something that I need to follow up on I can just hit the star/favorite button. Easy, simple, and entirely one handed.
White Noise Apps
The killer app for soothing a crying baby is white noise, and webOS has several apps available. White noise apps play both actual white noise (frequency controlled static) as well as a collection of soothing sounds like rain, thunder, tree frogs, and crickets. Playing white noise at high volume is a sure fire way to calm a fussy baby. I do have one complaint, however, so I'll use my powers for personal gain. To the authors of White Noise, Rockus Sound Machine, and Soothing Sounds: please, please, please add an option for cat purring. The cats slept next to my wife all during pregnancy so a gentle purr is the most soothing sound to him. Thanks guys!
The rate and frequency of feedings and diaper changes are critical data points for assessing the health of your new baby. This can be a lot of data to track, especially when you are running on just a few hours sleep. To help you can use a baby tracker apps. Baby Data is my personal favorite. With your webOS phone always by your side you'll immediately know if it's time for his next feeding.
Jesse was born on a Sunday evening and within hours we have friends and family around the world wanted photographs. By far the easiest way to share photos is with Facebook. Thanks to webOS's excellent Facebook app I was able to provide realtime updates of the birth, send photos, and respond to the tons of comments we received. The Facebook app really is invaluable.
True multitasking has always been webOS's killer feature. This comes in extra handy when you must constantly switch between white noise apps, sending photos to the family, responding to texts about baby status, and of course playing a few rounds of angry birds late at night. Multitasking is really the feature of webOS that makes the rest of the system shine. My wife can't check Facebook while playing white noise on her iPod Touch (she hasn’t felt the need to upgrade to iOS 4). But on her webOS phone, she can.
It's been fun spending two weeks getting to know my new son and using webOS to it's fullest. It makes me happy to use so many great apps from our wonderful development community. I’m back at work now and getting into all the great TouchPad apps you guys have cooked up.