How webOS is awesome for new parents [guest post] | webOS Nation

How webOS is awesome for new parents [guest post] 18

by Derek Kessler Fri, 15 Jul 2011 1:04 pm EDT

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!

Baby Tracker

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.

Facebook Integration

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.



Congrats on the new kid. Very cute. Glad you are finding your way around in your new role as Dad.

Congrats on the addition to your family!

White noise and other sounds are not as effective as Rhythmic Entrainment. I suggest checking out Strong Institute for the "Calming Rhythms" CD. I've been using their stuff for years.

The Focusing Rhythms are great when I'm doing paperwork or studying etc.

The Sleep CDs will knock you out (pun intended).

Thats funny because I took a few videos of my 2 year old nephew playing Angry Birds which he loves on the Touchpad. I took the video with a Sprintified Pre 2. He seems to like webOS and knows how to toss cards to close the apps. I'll post it on Youtube soon.

UPDATE: Check these out.

Hmmm...I was using my Pre 2 shortly after having my first kid back on 5/6/11 (lol). I bought it right before the weekend and was waiting for both it and my son to arrive over the weekend.

I was using my iPhone 3GS prior to receiving it, and, I must say, it was really exciting to finally get webOS into my hands. Basically, I eventually got tired of the phone because I noticed how slowly new apps came in, and I just couldn't un-love some of the apps I had long had access to on iOS or Android. Tweaking webOS with patches and whatnot was pretty awesome, and I got the phone *system* _exactly_ how I wanted it, but the *app playground* was just _so_ weak.

Pulse is my news app. I don't like RSS apps because they're really bland, but other news apps either don't have variety or only use specific feeds from Google News or whatever. I tried several news apps and none of them compared to Pulse. I even tried Rhythm News which was okay, but it was almost five bucks and didn't work nearly as well. I asked the dev for some new features and gave a few suggestions, and he said wait till end of summer. I have Pulse now; why wait?

While the phone is pretty good one-handed, I still prefer to use it two handed. The physical keyboard is the best I've used, but I've found that typing one-handed on my iPhone is quite a bit quicker.

Facebook on webOS isn't that bad really. I wish it had support for pages, so it wouldn't have to open a new card in the browser, but it still works okay, like I said. One problem is notifications. My iPhone always tells me when something has happened on FB. I use exchange on my iPhone to get Gmail (which webOS can do, but doesn't really need to do), so I figured maybe that is why email notifications show up quicker. Either way, why doesn't the FB app notify me when something happens? Oh well, I've actually started using Google+ recently and that is another huge issue for my Pre 2. For whatever reason, Google decided that Android and iOS will be the only phone platforms to use their new social network, whether through mobile web or app. The site shows up as xhtml on webOS. It shows up like that on my wife's WP7 phone as well (which she isn't too happy about, either lol). Google+ isn't a deal breaker for a phone, but I definitely see it replacing FB for me in the near future, and it's nice for the time being to be able to use the beta version through my mobile Safari app.

WebOS really isn't bad. However, no matter how much people from HP talk it up or play down it's faults (or their faults in developing/promoting it), I will not be able to choose it over iOS until it really has some features that are impossible to reproduce on the iPhone. With jailbreak, which, granted, isn't a walk in the park, most of the same OS tweaks, patches and features can be had, and other than the keyboard, the iPhone is actually physically superior. I have dropped my 3GS so many times over the years, I've lost count. On *pavement* too. Some bumps and bruises have resulted, but no serious damage. I'd hate to drop my Pre 2 on pavement, for fear of the slider getting super loose or the case breaking in half (though, of course, it's hard to feel so sure of the iPhone 4 lol).

I really do hope that HP takes webOS to the next level with the Pre 3, TouchPad and enyo. But, until they really start kicking butt with their own platform, I will have to use iOS and wait them out. My poor little Pre 2 will be a nice little back up phone, in case my 3GS craps out for good. Btw, I use a nice case from Powermat to get my iPhone to charge wirelessly as well, since I missed using the Touchstone charger so much ;-)

Have to agree, the lack of apps just kills it so thoroughly compared with other platforms.

Just wanted to clarify. Facebook in WebOS has notifications. Are there events that the notifications aren't covering?

Uhm I do not find my pre easy for one handed navigation. Sometimes i have to use 2 hands to open the slide out keyboard.
It's even more annoying if i'm viewing a web page in landscape mode and when i need to type something in i have to get out of landscape mode first. sometimes the orientation lags for a few seconds. Although I prefer WebOS over IOS, The Iphone is much better for 1 hand usage.

Try putting your Pre in your palm, with your little finger as an "edge" where the Pre stands on, then press your thumb in the middle of the screen and push upwards. Easily slides out the keyboard.

I find it much harder to do it with two hands since then you might cause it to "cant" (dunno if that's the right word...) when one thumb is faster than the other.

For keeping track of data, you should check out Mothers and Babies, it tracks all everything.

maybe the dev should rename the app, to something like Parents and Babies or New Parents, Our Baby

...some men probably wouldnt want to purchase an app name Mothers and Babies especially if its on his phone

Aside from the comment on gestures, he could be talking about any phone. I don't get how he can attribute this all to webOS.

that was kind of a dumb article. congrats on a kid. how can one place RSS reader and facebook app in it. While we are at it why not put electricity and air we breathe also in the article.
White noise apps are ok, but one needs them while the baby is sleeping or trying to sleep. So you are not there w the baby, and thats when you would wanna use the tablet and phone as baby is sleeping, rest of the time you are just taking care of the baby and dont have time to do anything. plus imagine a phone call coming while the white noise app is going on and the phone is next to the baby. And if the baby wakes up, neither momma or baby are going to be happy

Baby tracker is useless as one doesnt go to a phone to enter when they fed or changed the baby. When the baby wakes up and cries you dont open an app, you go and fix the crying. After the baby is up, there is no time to open an app anyways. Imagine if the app tells you to change or feed the baby while baby is sleeping. Please dont try it in front of your wife, she may kill you.

On the positive note, few apps that I found useful are those when you are stuck with a baby in a enclosed space and with people around. These apps would prevent the baby from crying and disturbing other people while keeping the baby safe. Example include in a car or taxi ride while he is crying in the car seat. or in an airplane when he is crying and you are stuck in a 2x2 space. Some of the apps I found useful for those situations are: Rokus animals, toodler tapping, jumgle sounds, moo,mia the cow, hypnotoad, ancient pond, tonal pool, sabre, stardust, eternal fire, rainy mood, woof meow and Jason's LED app for going into his room at night.

ofcourse my wife loves the Rokus ABC as that is educational to her

webOS 2.1 has the worst facebook integration of all modern smartphones

Yeah, congrats on the baby but seriously, android can do just about everything that webos can do and do it better in addition to a slew of things webos can't do.

This article for instance, swype destroys the pre- keyboard in one handed typing, and you can find a better version of all the apps listed on android.


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