Life on webOS and webOS only - getting comfortable with just the TouchPad | webOS Nation
 
 

Life on webOS and webOS only - getting comfortable with just the TouchPad 52

by Derek Kessler Sat, 23 Jul 2011 1:49 pm EDT

A few days ago 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.

Throughout the last several days, I have attempted to download and discover as many useful applications and websites as humanly possible. Since I no longer have my computer, I have had to explore and find out what kinds of applications would best suit my current lack of a digital lifestyle and fit all of my digital needs in this HP TouchPad. Until now, my journey has led me through some really cool applications from the App Catalog, as well as realizing the power of the TouchPads browser and Google Docs.

Of course, most would be wondering what kinds of applications I have downloaded to make my life easier. Well, here are some from the last few days:

  • HP MovieStore
  • Amazon Kindle
  • Epicurious
  • Comics HD
  • Galcon Fusion

I have downloaded these for obvious reasons. On my Mac, I used Netflix and Hulu quite a bit, and I used my PS3 for playing some games at night. The HP MovieStore was a good release at the time because I needed some sort of video entertainment. The HP movie store is quite well designed and it runs smooth as butter. The selection of movies is limited, but I think it has enough to keep most people happy. The one thing I wish HP had added is full cloud storage of the movies, or at least an option to stream instead of download. With the TouchPad as my only device, 32GB doesn’t seem like much anymore. I would have liked the option to not store the movie on the device, as each movie is approximately 1.5GB in size. However, that would be my only complaint as of now because the movie store is a very well designed application that has, as of now, contributed to my nightly entertainment in the absence of my Netflix account on my computer and PS3. So, for those of you looking for entertainment options on a tablet, this is one of HP’s best options, and I find myself getting more and more comfortable with this tablet being the only entertainment device in my household.

I don’t read much, but I do like Sherlock Holmes books, and Amazon Kindle has provided me with a heavy list of free books that I can enjoy. I have used Amazon Kindle quite a bit throughout the last several days, and I have been enjoying it. I enjoy Amazon Kindle on my touchpad more than on any other device that I have used it on simply because of the way this tablet handles multi-tasking and notifications. If I am reading a book, and I get a call on my Pre 2, a new email, a new Facebook message, or anything else, the TouchPad doesn’t interrupt me. In addition, if I ever do want to deal with the notification, webOS multi-tasking allows me to simply exit the card I am on, switch applications, and seamlessly switch back to the book I was reading. This is one of those major features of webOS that people will not truly understand until they use it. It’s simply intuitive.

Folks, I love to cook. The Epicurious app makes my job a lot easier, and here I was using my Mac for my cookbook! When I get a computer, I will tell you now that I will no longer use it for recipes, and I will no longer use it to read, and I will use it a lot less for my entertainment. The touchpad really does just fine! As a cookbook, the TouchPad is awesome. I lay on the Touchstone in my kitchen (no silverware or cookware was stolen, thank goodness!), and I simply cook from there. Epicurious has an awesome shopping list feature that really helps me out too. In addition, I can filter categories and different kinds of dishes. In short, this app is for anyone that can eat.

The other apps on my list were simply gaming and general entertainment apps. Galcon Fusion is one heck of an addictive game, and I would recommend it to anyone. It’s a perfect time killer. I haven’t really read too many comics in my life, but I decided to give it a try with the Comics HD app, and it’s alright. It has given me a lot of simple entertainment.

One thing I really liked about my Mac was the Spotlight feature. For those of you unfamiliar with Spotlight, it is a very well-designed universal search. Spotlight will search everything in your computer, including text within a document, and it does so very rapidly. I loved Spotlight , as it made my life a lot easier, but you know what’s better? Just Type. While Spotlight will search everything, just as Just Type will, Spotlight can’t perform actions. I have had a Pre 2 for a while with this feature, but I didn’t realize how useful it really is until I used it excessively. I love the fact that to do pretty much anything on my TouchPad... I Just Type. This is the future of computing, folks. When you can perform almost anything with your home screen, it should make you smile. It’s a lot better than a certain competitor’s home screen just full of icons. It has made me miss my computer a lot less, as I have been able to find things easier than I would have on my Mac. Sure, the Mac can search more specifically, but if I want to search an email, a message, a contact, or anything else in my cloud connected world, Spotlight would not be able to handle it, but Just Type does a beautiful job.

Furthermore, I have really enjoyed the speed and responsiveness of the virtual keyboard on the TouchPad. It is very fast and works great! Many of you have been suggesting the hardware keyboard from HP, but honestly, this virtual keyboard is so good that I don’t think I will need the hardware aspect of it. I mean, can I switch the size of a hardware keyboard to make it fit on smaller spaces of my tablet or desk? No. But I can re-size my virtual keyboard to work well with whatever I am doing at the time. I have been able to type almost as fast as I type on a regular computer keyboard with the virtual one that HP has built. It does help quite a bit that there is a dedicated number row, that saves me tons of time.

Finally, I would like to comment on the raw power of the TouchPad’s browser, which I have used in gargantuan amounts throughout the last few days. I am around a lot of tablets and electronic devices for my job, and I will tell you now that the TouchPad has the best browser as far as smoothness, reliability and speed. I like the extra features of the browsers on Google tablets, but they don’t respond as well. Flash on the TouchPad works very well, the smoothest Flash experience I have ever had - better than even on my stolen Mac. I never realized how much I avoided Flash on tablets, but now, that is a thing of the past. I have been using Flash websites without worry that they will not function correctly, and I have been vastly enjoying it. It replaces my laptop well in this aspect.

For now, the TouchPad has really exceeded my expectations. I continue to use it with a lot of joy and I think it can replace my laptop for many uses. Perhaps some of you should try using the touchpad as a primary device. It has been great and it has shown me that my $600 for this tablet was well worth it. Now let me go make some lunch with Epicurious as my aid. Bon Appetite.

52 Comments

sorry about all of your losses... But i really enjoy reading this, and watching as you find new ways for the touchpad to fill the spot your other electronics took. Keep it coming.

With this being your sole device, hows your battery life been? Your scenario is like the ultimate battery test. Might be cool to note how long it has been lasting with each scenario, your cooking, reading, movie watching, full days heavy use, full day light use.

Just a thought, a GPS chip seems a lot more justified having in a tablet when you have to deal with **** crooks!

P.S. Hope they catch those thieving ****

I addition to the keeping track of the battery life in the various scenarios, I would like to read about what you did NOT like or felt was deficient about using the TouchPad at the same time. All of what was written so far was positive, which is great, but there has to be *something* that irked you or that you don't like. Anyhow, good luck, and keep this journal coming.

".......For now, the TouchPad has really exceeded my expectations........."

http://boingboing.net/2007/01/09/having-low-expectati.html

Are you buying or renting movies? Because if you are renting why would space on the Touchpad matter? Also could look to upload to Box.net and download when you want to watch them.

miles4000 i was just thinking that. Using box.net. but how would you go about accomplishing that?

Well it looks like Box.net doesnt see video files on the Touchpad when you select upload. So just put video files on Box via browser on pc. I just uploaded a HD movie trailer to Box and was able to play it on my Touchpad. Another option is to use file manager app on Touchpad that supports Box or other cloud based services. Gemini File Manager app supports Dropbox and hope they add Box soon.

Are you forgetting tht he has no other computer than the touchpad?

Just makes me want one even more...

This reminds me of Stiffler-Dean's experiment last year where he went a month only on his Pre and no other computing device.

Funny that he came away kind of relieved to be able to use a laptop at the end.

Well duh. A phone is not gonna be able to replace a computer. A tablet won't truly be able to either but it comes much closer than a phone because of the obviously higher power, screensize, and usefulness.

Depends on what you're using it for. I'd be able to do so with my phone because of it's huge screen and ability to play flash almost perfectly.

The only downside to using it exclusively are the websites who automatically redirect my browser to mobile versions.

Yea, I'd never replace a laptop with a phone, no matter how amazing. Just not viable as a productive means to live. A TouchPad on the other hand, is a very different story. I'm looking forward to reading more from Esteban.

To be fair, you didn't really use any accessories because welp, you couldn't. Today you can use a BT keyboard, hdmi out or wireless to a monitor, etc. Tablets aren't that more powerful.

You also used that experience as a spring board into the webOS community. I'd say it worked for you. But you did the work involved, interviews, etc. At the end, you were upfront and maintained your integrity especially since you weren't afraid to point out negatives.

Not sure it'll work for Esteban. His initial credibility takes a hit as we're left wondering why he didn't have insurance, simply takes back the Touchpad to get a computer, or tries to push this story on us.

Is this seriously going to become a regular thing? Jesus I though the predoodles were a waste of time....

I believed the first article. This one? Something about it feels...staged. Makes for good advertising of the platform though so that's good I guess.

Maybe he's fishing for HP to give him a free Pre3. Or insurance, PLEASE. For what ever decision's he makes or made, it be more noteable for the one he didn't make.

Guess it just draws even more attention that WebOS has not attracted any insurance companies or agencies to offer their quotes and services through HP's o/s with scale. Other o/s's, there's an app for that.

For crying out loud, go sell the Touchpad and take the $400 and buy a low level laptop.

That was my reaction. If my things were taken with no insurance and i had little savings, i'd be taking that back or selling.

So now we're to rely on this guy's Touchpad experience & advice given that we know he can't make good decisions? His credibility is shot. It reflects poorly on Precentral for running it.

Indeed, no insurance? I detect a flawed decision making process already.

"I have been using Flash websites without worry that they will not function correctly, and I have been vastly enjoying it. It replaces my laptop well in this aspect."

Ok, so he doesn't buy insurance and he must buy really poor performing laptops if he worries about Flash on a real computer.

"I continue to use it with a lot of joy and I think it can replace my laptop for many uses. Perhaps some of you should try using the touchpad as a primary device. "

I type a little too much and need USB to often to have any tablet come close to replacing a decent laptop. Loading images form a camera without SD or USB?

Follow-ups on this savior tablet are gonna read like Pravda.

You do know you don't have to read the articles you don't like...?

How is the pricing of HP Moviestore compared to Netflix? Without a middleman, I be HP can present quite a savings for their customer.

Cant you store content on an SD card so you can keep your resources freed up on the Touchpad's internal memory?

There is no SD card slot. :(

I see what you did there.

HP has a middleman for the service. They run it from Roxio.

How much money can be saved by using Moviestore over Netflix? There must be a pretty good cost benefit from accepting limited selections vs. the vast array Netflix offers.

LOL, questions get downticked? The request of insight is not approved of? :)

I went and did an online compare of TP vs. the top tablets on Amazon. Think Pre, but with a better battery and larger screen and awful camera. I really thought the tablet was taking them back to the all-capable, high functionality of the Treo with modern ports and slots. But, it looks like Esteban would have been much better off with a $400 droid tablet than a $600 HP tablet as far as hardware support, software support and costing is concerned. If he's had a droid tablet, he'd have had enough money left over to buy a year of renter's insurance and a couple of trips to Dominos. :/

I have to admit after testing the Palm Pad, I have come to the conclusion that it will go down the same path of the Palm Pre. The performance is two generations behind the competition just like the Palm Pre was. It lags heavyly like it has a virus or something. Doesn't recognize touches immediately. And it isn't really user friendly. Seriously, I purchased the first Palm Pre and thought, "Why would they release a product with performance issues when the competition has clearly overcome these problems." It is; however, better that any droid pad. But that lag made me wanna throw it against a wall. Seriously.

Where did you get your PalmPad and how does it compare to the TouchPad?

I kid.

Isn't really user friendly? My 5 and 10 year-old kids would beg to differ. They love our Pre and Pre2, but only use mom's Samdroid if there is no other choice to play on in the car.

I'm sorry. Maybe you were testing a different OS's device and wandered here.

You see, not being user friendly is iTunes trashing my wife's computer. Bluetooth and GPS randomly turning off on the Samdroid phone I briefly HAD.

webOS isn't perfect, but not being user-friendly is ludicrous. My TouchPad has rebooted only twice during apps; the Samdroid I had used to do that during phone calls, or any other time it felt too stressed with being a smartphone.

BTW, we still use my Palm Pre. IT is still more user friendly than my wife's Samdroid. It isn't as fast or smooth as my Pre2, but it still has two over-riding advantages for my family and I:

webOS and Just Type. So easy and user-friendly children can figure it out with practically no help!

I finally found two "working" Touchpads. One was blank, a tap on the screen opened up the demo options, tapping an option, sent it back to sleep.

Second was on, tapped a demo option and got the video to run, but without sound. Spent five or ten seconds trying to get the volume level up, but got annoyed with a tamper alarm from the Veer next to me which had just chased off a couple of curious women that had simply been using the touch screen.

0 for 6 so far.

None of the staff at Staples or Best Buy approached the demos, but came running up to help when looking at Window's software boxes or low-level graphics cards. They dont appear to have a script or insight for the odd-ball tablet.

My son works at Staples and I stopped by yesterday to have a look at a unit. The end cap display looked good but had no units out, just the cardboard place holders. They did have a few Touchstones, cases, and keyboards out for sale. The manager went in the back and pulled out the demo unit and it was dead. He plugged it in and the standard WebOS charging imaging popped up. He was stunned that it was the same as his Pixie. "Hey, that's the same as my phone!" I gently pointed out that that is the point. He just smiled sheepishly after which he mentioned going to the big HP kickoff event, where he apparently slept though the whole thing. Guy didn't know the operating systems are related. Sigh....

Wall to wall commercials, and still retailers don't have the motivation to get the demo's running with customer demand. This is where the legacy owners could have been the product champions and pushed for via-able demos, but HP sent all those customer to the high tech killing fields and machine gunned them with indifference.

How much money will HP have to spend to create even a little bit of buzz? What scale?

EVERYBODY ON. Except the repeat buyers.

Who's down for another hard launch?

Lags heavily? Are you expecting the Touchpad to anticipate what you want to do, and do it while you're still thinking about it?

My Touchpad is an absolute joy to use, and runs smooth as silk, no lag and I haven't seen any of the issues these reviewers supposedly saw.

I too would like to hear the downsides of the TouchPad for you.

Don't get me wrong; I love mine! Today I used it for hours while driving back and forth from Madison, WI, with my Pre2 as a FreeTethered hotspot. I'd rather do email on it than my laptop.

But it isn't perfect. Lousy LastPass integration (Select-All, Copy, Paste, hope you don't mess up the record in LastPass!), and like on laptop, not all websites work on every browser. I for one haven't found out how to be able to post to the PreCentral article comments like this on my TP, yet! (But can use the forums - go figure) Hearing what isn't so great, and how you adapt or overcome or have to give up is useful and interesting, too.

BTW, I have a really great recipe for PB&J sandwiches! (ie - babies and surgery I can do. Kitchens are afraid of me)

Good Luck and keep on posting

Esteban, your experience with the TouchPad is making my decision to buy one so much easier. I think youve (by fate) found a new writing niche!

Once Netflix, Hulu, and Pandora get over their paranoid delusional thoughts about drm piracy and realize webOS is safe then this wont be just a decent tablet but a tablet"of the first class". Remeber it's noy about quantity(apps), it's about quality>apps......Remember appleHP

Now if I can only root this device so that I can make it go out and get a pizza and a six packthen it will be the bomb! lol

This thing is still looking like a replacement for other "entertainment" devices. I've yet to see anything compelling enough to replace my laptop, which is my goal. What about emails? Document management? Speadsheets?
And I'm sorry to keep harping on it, presentations? Just got my hands on a working model yesterday and it was very nice. Pared my
pre2 and made couple of phone calls. Graphics beautiful. No lagging. But for me, it's still an expensive toy. I can't imagine making a business trip with this thing and my laptop and my phone and, and...

For an enterprise-focused product, Touchpad sure is looking like another "mommy-approved" email and calendar management device. Perhaps CES awards are not in the future for WebOS, but maybe Good Housekeeping Awards will give Leo something to talk about.

You spend a lot of time and effort slating every aspect of the touchpad. Why waste your time? You hate it. we get it. move one.

Just looking through your comments on this one post is astonishing. Its almost like you are obsessed.

Maybe..just maybe...methinks the lady doth protest too much.

Anyone who has that much hate for something must in fact love it too much, but i'm guessing here that its the wrong kind of love..

Who are you? I've been supporting WebOS for a long time. I dislike HP's priorities and execution. So, do you like HP, or WebOS? If you like WebOS, you have to accept complaints about its silly limitations and failures. Or if you need a world that is sunny and breezy everyday and don't think you can help get WebOS back on track, you have to downtick this post because you dislike the reality of the situation and think it will somehow help.

I'm waiting for Leo to finish my phone and fulfill his promises, or if he prefers, "make things right". He has the scale and resources of Palm and HP to do it. The world awaits, does he need out support, or would he rather spend box-cars of cash getting celebrities to say what the products should be capable of saying themselves?

HP or WebOS? I think someone doesnt understand the concept of HP owning webOS. You must be dazzled by your love of both.

I bet you wouldnt 'downtick' a post by Leo, would ya?

Too much love there, just too much.

Oh newbie, I'm not posting enough if that's your response.

1) My self-esteem is intact, ticking posts is of no value for me. If I'm inspired by anything somebody says, I just say it.

2) I've been Palm Garnet and Nova user for more than a decade. I carried Palm devices with power-apps back when HP was a well run company and you thought were cool downloading ringtones.

3) Leo would never post anything, anywhere that was a public forum. He picked up where he left off at SAP and he doesn't want to hear about it.

4) You don't have to love HP and WebOS at the same time. It's great if that works out, but HP is cluster-%! and the question now is will HP kill WebOS, or will it be the other way around.

5) I am no HP fan or Leo fan by any means. I was a very big HP fan and buyer when they bought Palm, but they've been a train wreck since Hurd left. You "bet" I would not downtick Leo? You need to keep your petty rookie sassiness to yourself until you really know the person you're trying to annoy.

Have a nice day. :)

I can see I have upset you, I'm sorry.

I'll keep my 'rookie sassiness'(seriously? I mean..seriously?)to myself from now on.

Although...I will make one point.

That you shouldnt assume someone is a 'newbie'(god I hate that word) because they dont post on PreCentral that often.
I run a website that is number 1 on Google for smartphone app reviews.
It may not be the biggest in the world, but its growing very quickly, and it does mean that I use all formats (andoid tabs and phones,WP7, iPhone, iPad, webOS) everyday for work. That at least places me in a position to judge the TouchPad against the other devices out there on a day to day basis.
Honestly, the more I use the TouchPad the more our iPad 2 and Galaxy become a chore to use.

Upset me? You're just a moop on a chair that thought I was a Leo fan. That's pretty damn funny.

When you make some posts that are not noob rookie-like, I'll think more of you.

I work in the IT department for a health care organization. I got the Touchpad to evaulate and have been working with it a few weeks to assess it for our organization. Thought I'd share a few thoughts regarding the use of the TP in the enterprise
The Good:
*UI
*Touchstone charging (one of our biggest support issues - users not plugging in)
*Just Type (takes some getting used to)
*Flash support
*Mail and calendar app

Whats needed:
*Stable wireless
*Fast, stable Citrix client
*Browser support for MS SharePoint (we use this for content management)
*Edit MS Office files
*File Sync app (Desktop to Tablet and back)
*Remote desktop app (we use Logmein)

For traction:
*Update, Update, update let me know there is an investment in the platform and good things are coming
*Invest with a partner to really use this in a business. Do a white paper, do some press relaeses. Make the business case.

As a reader, the TouchPad is sub-par. Kindle app doesn't work with magazines and each magazine subscription is its own app in the HP app catalog. Not good.

TP will not connect to my HP MediaSmart Home Server. In any way conceivable. This should work out of the box the way i can print from the TouchPad to a network printer. Instead of HP Play being able to allow a network connection to my HP home server, it relies on syncing from an iTunes library and i cannot stream audio from my media collection, the only stuff i have access to is what is downloaded and synced to the TP directly. This is ridiculous.

HP Movie Store is a sad, sad alternative to the previously advertised, but now missing, connection to Netflix streaming. Just killed a million potential buyers by not providing that out of the box.

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