Life on webOS and webOS only – The Final Days | webOS Nation

Life on webOS and webOS only – The Final Days 46

by Derek Kessler Fri, 16 Sep 2011 2:11 pm EDT

Back in July, Esteban's home was broken into and his computer, television, and game console were stolen. Thankfully, nobody was home at the time and he had his TouchPad with him. Now, the TouchPad is his only computer, his only source of digital entertainment, and his only gaming system. Join us as Esteban explores life on webOS and webOS only.

July 19 is a day I will never forget. My home was broken into and my digital life stolen. But since then, my HP TouchPad has managed to handle most of what I threw at it, and as it was my primary device, so I did throw a lot at it. But the time has come for this grand experiment to end: I have finally saved enough to afford a replacement computer.

I really enjoyed the experience and it allowed me to learn quite a bit about webOS and the community. For this final entry, I would like to compare between the use of my computer (which I have had for about a week now) and my TouchPad now that I have both.

I’ve grown accustomed to using a TouchPad as my primary device. Although I now that I have a full computing machine, I still use my TouchPad quite a bit. It practically never leaves my side. I read news in the morning during breakfast, I take it to work with me everyday, I use it for entertainment after work, and I even fall asleep with it while watching my favorite shows via Flash-based websites. That said, I will point out one very important thing:

Although the it did much of what I wanted it to do and did it well, the TouchPad, or any tablet for that matter, is not yet a replacement device for a full computing operating system. Although webOS handles things very well on the big screen and comes with quite a few features that are closely related to a desktop OS, a full computer is still by far the best way to go. A tablet of any kind is still a compliment to a laptop or desktop.

My experience came out of an unfortunate event, but it was a good experience. Now that I have a computer again, however, I am going to talk a bit about how my computing experience has changed – how my experience with the TouchPad changed the way I deal with computers.

Because much of my personal data was on the TouchPad (and it was my main device for a month), my information management is split. Throughout the last couple of entries I have mentioned how the TouchPad deals with certain kinds of information better than my computer, and here is what I have found:

The TouchPad excels at any PIM applications. My computer doesn’t have the convenience of the tablet form factor when it comes to dealing with a calendar, contacts, most email, messaging, and cloud storage of documents. The touchpad is a very good entertainment device. It is often a bit more difficult (for me) to find things to entertain me on my computer. Just Type search works more intuitively on webOS thanks to “Quick Actions.” I enjoy the webOS multitasking system more than Windows. However, the Mac I used to have was very good with running applications since it I have features like Spaces and multiple desktops available to me. There is something about webOS Stacks that I really like, however.

For any of you out there that are heavy Windows users, I am new to Windows 7 and I must figure out some way of interacting with multiple Windows better, because for now, my TouchPad is more enjoyable to use when I have several applications open. When I had my last computer, I used it more often and for more things than this one, and I have nothing else to blame other than my TouchPad. webOS and the TouchPad have their negative sides, absolutely; I will not say it is perfect, but it got the job done thanks to the intuitive operating system that is webOS.

With all the positives of my experience, there were also the hardships. The combination of the TouchPad, webOS, and the available apps just were not very good at creating things. The TouchPad was very good at consuming data and media. If you are in the market for a tablet in order to create robust documents, media, and other things, the TouchPad and webOS, at least in their current state, won’t do it for you. Perhaps in a few years, if there are still webOS products then. I do believe that the tablet form factor is going to replace the laptop form factor someday, but for now, the laptop and desktop still reign supreme.

webOS itself still has quite a way to go before it becomes a fully functional operating system. It’s seriously lacking in terms of customizability, a robust feature set, an expansive App Catalog, and accessory integration.

The TouchPad has been a pleasure to use, and even if HP has decided to cease manufacturing webOS hardware, I consider myself lucky to have had a tablet that offers such a good experience, especially in the absence of my main computer. I still have good feelings about the future, however. I remain so optimistic because where there used to be just tens of thousands of users, there are now hundreds of thousands, and more to be expected. Major developers can now look to the platform as a major player and we might just see that “explosion of apps” that Rubinstein talked so much about a year ago. webOS is going to make it somehow; I believe something as well designed as it is cannot fail.

Going forward, my laptop will remain with me almost as closely as my TouchPad. However, my laptop will be use to create, while my TouchPad will be used to consume my creations, and those of others. The tablet form factor has a very unique interface in the ways of consuming media that is simply more attractive and intuitive. Reading a newspaper, for example, is much more enjoyable on the TouchPad’s form factor than that of a full-blown laptop.

With that, I must say thank you. Thanks to all of you for your amazing support through these times, and I thank the PreCentral Staff for allowing me to share this unique opportunity with all of you. It was a pleasure knowing that out of a negative situation, some positive light could be shed and that I could help people discover new apps, and discover that webOS and the TouchPad are very competent devices, no matter what others say. I have enjoyed this, and I sincerely hope that most of you have enjoyed reading my experience. Thanks, and I will see you all in the forums!

Previous entries:


The thief didn't take the stand, too? How thoughtful of them!

What a thoughtful comment... not!

I agree. I am really enjoying my Touchpad and it handles a lot of my basic computing needs, but it is a complement to a PC, not a replacement. Which is why I had very little interest in any tablet when the price points were about $400-$500, but at the firesale price of $149 for the 32GB TP model, definitely a nice complementary device!

I am sorry that your equipment was stolen. Your articles about using the TouchPad have been interesting and helpful. Maybe you'll need to add an alarm system for your apartment before replacing the flat screen. Thanks again for sharing your experiences with us.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I'm a student at a FL university and my computer died on me just before the start of classes in mid august. All I had was my TP to rely on untill just resently when I was able to buy a new comp. You experience greatly helped me as well. And I want to thank you for that. :)

Privet! I had no idea there was another Cheburashka fan lurking on precentral!

privet privet :-)

privet privet privet :)


Good for you Esteban, I'm glad you are rebuilding your electronic empire. Thanks again for the great insights into life with a, if only I could experience that...not the theft, just the TouchPad!

Yes.... the elctronic empire..... sounds epic!

Enjoyed your articles.

As for win 7, hopefully you have the full version as starter leaves a lot of features out.

Alt-Tab may help you to better manage multiple windows. I know there are some other advanced versions of Alt-Tab like interface in win 7, but I don't use my win 7 box enough to know them off the top of my head.

Alt-Tab for the classic switcher
Ctrl-Tab for Aero switcher (IIRC)

Win+Tab, actually. Ctrl+Tab is for in-app use.

Right...sorry. Been a while.

Yes, Win+tab works just like Alt+Tab but resembles card view in WebOS

I have the full version. Purchased an HP Envy 14 Beats.

I currently use the four finger swipe to get to the Aero switcher.

What I miss about my Mac is the multiple desktops that I was able to have. I have a cluttered desktop now because I always have so many windows open. Aero switcher is cool, though.

Nice, enjoy the new laptop!

"What I miss about my Mac is the multiple desktops that I was able to have."
Use Linux.

Thanks for speaking truth, Tablets are not PC replacements. but then again, neither is a Cell Phone.

For quick access to anything on your Win7 machine checkout launchy. Its like just type for windows.

The instant on feature of these tablets makes a big difference for me.

My Macbook is always set to hibernate and is quite nearly instant on. The Air actually IS instant on. When you have to actually start up the TP, it´s slower than starting up a laptop.

I'm not talking about booting the Touchpad, only waking it back up. Its not the same with any desktop OS.

Fair enough...but then you're not talking about "instant on".

Have you seen, or at least read about, the Air? All flash storage, so yes, it is instant on when you open it. And still boots up faster than the TP. And it runs, not iOS, but the full Mac Lion.

You can put an ssd in any computer you would like. Apple did not invent them.

Thanks for the suggestion. I will look into launchy. Anything else I should look into for my PC? I'll take any suggestions, as I am new to this.

This is why it was hard to take any of your ramblings seriously. You're an idiot.

Could have kept that to yourself. Just sayin. I don't usually respond to the comments of a 10-year-old, but I felt compelled.

Have a good day!

I see that you are comparing your experience now with a Windows machine... had you still had a Mac, some of these points might be different. I use a Mac and the TP, and find that the Macbook is still my first choice for just about everything.

Then again, if I had an iPad and the Mac, it might lean heavier to the iPad, as there is a lot more functionality present, especially on the iPad2.

I would actually disagree with functionality on the iPad. The only reason it would have more "functionality" would be because of the apps. HOwever, the OS itself is EXTREMELY limited. The entire thing is a glorified app launcher. I can create an iPad with my TouchPad by pushing the launcher button. The touchpad has more functionality out of the box, which is how I judge a device: what can it do out of the box with no 3rd party apps installed. The iPad can hardly do anything.

But yes, some of my points may be different. The multitasking on a mac, for example, is better than on a Windows PC. I like Macs quite a bit, I just really don't like iOS. :-) It's so limited.

I know the iPad/iOS debate is a fruitless never ending stream... but I think you're wrong on this point.
Just looking at the browser, the photo app, iPod/iTunes, and iBooks alone, compared to the equivalent TP apps, and there's no contest. iBooks opens PDF's and gives you much more functionality... not to mention speed. The browser is faster and smoother, with better scrolling. Whether you like iTunes or not, there still is no argument as to it being faster, fuller, and more functional than the dismal Music app.
Then there's Maps, Photo Booth, Videos... and if you use a Mac, the Calendar and Contacts are much better integrated

iOS 5 will bring advanced gestures and multitasking to the iPad that will be very nice... look at one running the beta version if you know a dev, and you'll see what I mean.

I love my TP, just like I love my Pre... but we shouldn't try to make ourselves believe that any webOS device is yet equal to the far and away industry leader.

Good points, but the browser itself lacks flash, which is a gigantic drawback. The TouchPad browser is second only to Honeycomb's, which I find great. IN my opinion. iBooks is definitely a good addition.

What I am speaking about is the OS itself. webOS introduces things that make it much closer to a computer than any other mobile system.

I spent 3 months with an iPhone because I wanted to give iOS a try (iPhone 4), and I just couldn't handle how boring it was and the lack of functionality.

I know its all a matter of preference, but iOS just didn't work for me.

"What I am speaking about is the OS itself."
That is never a good way to look at anything. Apps are a huge part of the OS, regardless of how good the OS is.

"what can it do out of the box with no 3rd party apps installed."
This is also an incredibly absurd way of judging devices, no? Since when does anyone NOT install 3rd party applications on their devices? To put it bluntly, the base of your position is just so logically wrong that most of your points lose all weight.

Well let me explain further:

On webOS, I can put in my accounts ONCE, and have all of my calendars, contacts, appointments, tasks, etc, on the operating system itself, so that other applications can use the informatio without me having to enter the information in again. On iOS, its not possible without an app.

In addition, most high quality apps will be paid, so it is extra money that one has to spend on everything.

On iOS, the home screen is a glorified app launcher. On webOS, it is like a computer, i.e, you see your open applications. On Android, your home screen can be useful with widgets.

Just Type is not something one can really get in an app. Android has voice commands up the rear end for the ENTIRE OS. Something iOS cannot do, and webOS is completely missing.

See what I mean? Find suitable apps to replace things like these..... You really can't. It is better to judge the operating system rather than the apps.

I think someone here recommended and it is a life saver. I used to think I needed multiple monitors and ultramon, but with this program and a 30" monitor life is good.

Esteban, I'm sorry you've had to go through all this & glad you're starting to recover (things at least). Windows actually _can_ do multiple desktops. Sorry, but I'm nowhere near a Windows box now, but if you search Help, it should point you in the right direction.

To make sure we're talking about the same thing, when I say multiple desktops, each desktop is a separate screen with multiple applications / windows on it. You can switch between apps on one desktop (screen) and you can switch between the desktops (screens). I don't know if this is what you're expecting, coming from a Mac, but I find it very useful. I set up each desktop with all the apps I need for a task or related tasks. I also often have dual monitors so I can have a "main" desktop on the front monitor & cycle the other desktops on the 2nd monitor.

Note, you DO need some serious hardware to do this or it bogs down quickly. With a lot of apps / desktops, you chew through memory fast and Windows will start using virtual memory (swapping from your hard drive) and performance goes out the window (no pun intended). If you've got lots of RAM & a well specked GPU, you should be fine.

YES! That is exactly what I need. Multiple desktops, just like you mentioned.

I have an HP Envy, which I guess should be pretty high end.

Have it with a i5 processor 2410M and 1GB dedicated ATI graphics. 6GB of RAM DDR3. Is that good enough?

So what do you recommend I type in, in order to find the option faster?

I don't know of anything built into Windows 7 for multiple virtual desktops. Maybe govotsos is using something that the computer manufacturer included with his computer. In any case, there are several free applications that can do this. You may want to check out

Your computer should be able to handle anything you throw at it.

hey is that stand a ZLINE?? i work at futureshop i sell that stand alot lol

My TouchPad is still worth the $400 I paid for it. I would do it again in a heart beat if I had to.

Buy one of those $400 White 64 GB ones on eBay then... If it's legit that is.

I have a mac mini, an iPad 2 and Archos 101, I find the Touchpad, once patches and kernels are applied(cautiously with uberkernel) out performs the iPad and the Archos .the Archos is best at playing video ,the iPad has a number of apps,many of which seem to compensate for an incapacitated browser . On the Touchpad, it would be nice to see apps for Eye Fi, more photo editing apps and a USB host. Ultimately I am begining to prefer the Touchpad, iPad synch is wretched and time consuming, especially if the material is of your own creation ! I wouldn't be surprised if Apple has a copyright on your work, burried somewhere in the 40 page iTunes release form and has a copy of it as it is all transfered to Apple during the synch.(this could be an interesting way to create a "leak"). Box and Touchpad are a winning combination.Not surprisingly the Touchpad is easier to use on a mac because the iTunes mire is avoided. As good as it is, I hope webOS continues to grow. As it stands the Touchpad has the best hardware of any tablet out now and comes the closest to being a computer.

Try using Switcher ( It can look ugly with default settings for colors, but with a very slight bit of tweaking it should work wonderfully.

I have to ask - did you buy a HP PC/laptop?