Life on webOS and webOS only - it's the little things | webOS Nation
 
 

Life on webOS and webOS only - it's the little things 51

by Derek Kessler Thu, 28 Jul 2011 6:39 pm EDT

Last week, 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.

A few more days have gone by and I have discovered even more about my TouchPad in the ways that it can be a competent replacement for my laptop, gaming systems and TV. However, now that I have some more time to check out the different aspects of each application, I spent quite a bit of time focusing on business-based applications and things that I would use in school. Also, I do want to mention three apps that I have grown to really enjoy over the last several days:

  • Glimpse
  • SecuStore 2
  • Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

Glimpse is genius in app form. If you haven’t even looked at this app in the Catalog, you need to stop reading this and head over and download it. Why? Because instead of just reading this, with Glimpse, you can read this, watch a YouTube video, check your daily tasks, read the news, and check top stories throughout the world in one screen. I thought webOS took multitasking to the next level, and it does, but glimpse takes it one step further. Talk about productivity - you have it with Glimpse.

SecuStore 2 is by far the best password manager I have ever seen or used. Like many of you, I have dozens of websites I log into every day, and sometimes it is difficult to remember which login was which and which user name is which. This application is really one you need to use to truly understand how useful it is to anyone. The layout is fantastic, it is very responsive, fast, and it encrypts your information. I used to put my login information on my Mac in a secure folder, but seeing as that is gone, SecuStore has managed to do what my Mac did- except better.

The biggest disappointment of the TouchPad at this point is the fact that it doesn’t support document editing, so all of the posts I have written for PreCentral have either been composed in Memos or Google Docs. So for those of you that really want to find the most competent solution: Google Docs will give you document formatting, while Memos does not. However, Memos seems to be a lot more responsive and I have been able to type much faster in it, but again, with no document formatting. Google Docs has a few bugs when it comes to things like symbols and some capitalization. For example, Google Docs doesn’t seem to recognize parentheses coming from the TouchPad’s keyboard. It also has a lot of issues with apostrophes, as it doesn’t seem to recognize those either. Overall, it’s really a personal preference. Are you willing to cope with a few bugs and lack of speed to get document formatting, or would you rather have speed without document formatting and cloud access?

One thing I use in large amounts is the Music player. As all of you know, the TouchPad is equipped with Beats Audio. I am very satisfied with two things: the quality of the music, and the built-in speakers on the TouchPad. What am I not satisfied with? The volume of the music on the TouchPad and the performance of the Music app. That is the only application that I have experienced lag with - and in significant amounts. Music just doesn’t respond well at all. In addition, as I have posted in the forums, the TouchPad’s volume is very lacking. My Pre 2 has approximately 40% more volume than the TouchPad (and that’s just with one speaker). When I had my laptop, it nearly doubled it. I have to put every stereo I have used it with in full volume to get a decent volume level for the music. The quality is great, but the volume is not there for me to enjoy that quality.

The second thing I used in quite large amounts was the email client. This is one of those areas where the TouchPad simply shines. As I have said before in the forums, I believe that “handles” are the absolute best feature of Enyo, especially in productivity applications like Email. I can quickly change from inbox to inbox, I can view all inboxes if I so wish, I can still view my messages while reading an email, and at any time, I can expand any of those screens to fit my liking. This is another one of those features that is much better on my TouchPad than it was my laptop. My email experience on the TouchPad is unmatched, and I have four different email accounts that I consistently use, so I need the fastest possible solution, and I’m very glad to say that the TouchPad provides that for me. I will say, however, that the email application needs a better way of organizing specific emails. They have the folder system now, but it’s a little clunky and I can’t seem to rename folders as I wish. It would really help me out if there were different methods of organizing my email, and for now, the desktop is a better way to do that.

Last post, I spoke about Just Type and its superiority over any other universal search mainly due to the actions it can perform. Well, this time, I have realized how amazing stacks really are. In a desktop OS, you see the windows of your open apps, same as in webOS. In a desktop, however, you cannot organize the applications intelligently and quickly as well as you can in a TouchPad with webOS. I always have tons of windows open, and I wish that desktop systems would be able to do something as simple and intuitive as stacks in order for me to perform my work faster. It is rather annoying having to look around for the program I want to use. In my TouchPad, I just have a stack for web browsing, one for a few games, and one for email and communication. Simple, easy, and fast. The one thing I do not like here is that it seems like webOS 2.0 was better at organizing stacks on its own than webOS 3.0. I may be wrong, but they seem to stack things in different ways, and I do prefer the automatic stacking in webOS 2.0.

A lot of you have been wondering about battery life. Well, battery life has been pretty good. Not great, definitely not bad, but pretty darn good. In heavy use (which is 90% of the time), the TouchPad’s battery will last me from 8 am until about 6:30 pm. Heavy use is writing a ton of emails, playing heavy 3D games, reading books, watching movies, etc. Remember, this is my only device, so it really has to do everything. In my book, when a device lasts ten hours in heavy use, its acceptable battery life. This is one of those areas where mobile devices are definitely superior than full computers. I was getting three hours of usage from my Mac.

One aspect of the TouchPad that needs a lot of work is the copy and paste function. It doesn’t work right. I used that a lot on my laptop, and I honestly don’t like to use it on the TouchPad. The handles to drag need to be larger and put further away from the word since I often cannot see where I am at with the selection point. Also, there needs to be some sort of feedback to the user on copy and paste. The brain doesn’t really register press and hold functions, and even less so when it’s a little quirky. This just needs to be fixed.

Synergy is great. Enough said. I have used the QuickOffice viewer and PDF viewer quite a bit, and I absolutely love that it pulls in all of my documents from different sources. I always had to go to different websites on my Mac to do what I can do with the TouchPad in one place. When I need a document, I simply pull the QuickOffice app and it pulls everything for me- or at least everything I managed to sync before my computer was robbed. I really enjoy how fast this makes me perform on the tablet, as I don’t need to worry about going to different places to get my information. One of those things that people cannot understand the use of until they use it. Synergy has also allowed to communicate easier than I did on my laptop and has allowed me to actually be a bit more organized in my digital life.

With all this said, I will address one thing: speed. I, for one, have not had any issues with the speed of this tablet (again, except the music player). It has run smoothly for me from day one and it continues to do so. I have been able to get a lot done because of the speed of the tablet. The processing speeds are great, and I am still enjoying using webOS as the center of my digital universe. It has been a great experience so far!

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51 Comments

you are going the extra mile with this device thumbs for this you are a webos hero

My biggest complaint is that I get random reboots. Since it seems like you're on the TouchPad constantly, can you tell me if you are getting those spontaneous reboots? If so, how often do you get them?

That appears to be a hardware defect. I suggest sending it back if you're still within the RMA window.

I was having the same problem (it got so bad that it was happening every few hours), so after a week I filed a return through Amazon and they sent me a new one and a label to return the bad one.

The new one performs beautifully; no lock-ups, no reboots, it responds to almost every tap consistently, and even the battery life seems better.

OH, I wanna mention that we don't have cable or satellite anymore and my wife (a teacher) has been struggling this summer without TV. That was until we got the TouchPad and got the Video Flood app. Now she's watching all her HGTV stuff and she's loving it. The flash performs so well. Negative reviews had me expecting **** but I'm glad it works great.

I wish you had TP and IP-2 and could compare both of them

If he had the ipad2 then what can he do with the touchpad that can't be done with the ipad2?

A lot.

He could edit documents and sling television longer with better battery life in IP2. He could get a Q-see video surveillance system and watch his apartment with live motion detecting video streams to make sure nobody was taking his stuff with an IP2. And he's never have to say "It's better than the Ipad, if you don't include the apps". These features make a strong case for other tablets.

Esteban,

Thank you for the lessons in TouchPad practicalities. You are offering up as practical a review as has been offered to date for the TouchPad. It really blows that your incite had to come at the expense of pretty much all of your belongings. I really hope that HP is taking note of your commitment to doing them a favor. If they are looking for real life TouchPad experiences, then it doesn't get any realer than this.

Thanks,
Brotha

I would have to agree with most of the things you said.

I also get the same issues as "BAUERMUNDO" random reboots and if it is off the charger for a while it will freeze and have to be reset,.

Other than those bugs, I have found the touchpad an amazing addition to my techno armada!

See my post above, this could be a hardware defect. The replacement performs much better with no reboots.

I have to disagree with you on Stacks being the best approach to multitasking. They are nice and all, and definitely the best solution in all the mobile OS's out there today, but the way Windows 7 does multitasking is just so many levels above anything else. You sort-of have stacks, but better - programs that support the feature allow you to go to the open document you are working on or go to the browser tab you want to see by just hovering over the icon in the taskbar. You can easily drag a pdf to the left of the screen, a word document to the right, and have both automatically fill the screen so you can work on your research paper and check your source at the same time. And I don't have to go look for the open program I want, I just click it's icon in the task bar and I have it, or right-click and have a lot of "quick actions".

And if I want to organize my browser tabs by, for example, social networking, games, work, etc., I just use Opera and its tab stacking.

All of those features and more will be in Window 8 tablets next year running on Arm hardware.The Touchpad and Android tablets are in trouble

The multitasking features of Windows 7 require three types of mouse input: left click, right click, and hover. A finger is only capable of one of those things. I suppose tap and hold could be implemented to take the place of one of the others, but it wouldn't be ideal. Furthermore, Windows relies on a task bar to achieve its multitasking. Such a persistent bar would eat up valuable screen real estate on the relatively small screen screen of a table (or phone), and auto hide would be difficult to implement without repurposing the swipe-up gesture.

I just don't see the Win 7 style of multitasking as viable on a tablet form factor. Maybe Win 8 will change my mind.

Thank you for the real life review. I am going to try to use the Touchpad as my only computer too.

I have to say... I'm waiting. I just bought two laptops for $500 each with Intel Core i5 processors in it. With Windows, well it still does a huge amount more than the iPad or TouchPad. What I'm waiting for is the Pre3 and that has to be a huge leap forward from my Pre with Sprint. Speaking of that a big priority should be working with Sprint. I've been ready for over a year now but haven't been impressed with the smart phones, especially with the Pre2.

WHEN IS HP GOING TO TAKE NOTICE!? You have a great story!

Why would they care, they have Russell Brand!

and Katie Perry who goes around bragging how her and Russell Brand love to use the ipad2 to face time while she is away on tours.

Are you under the impression that every actor/celebrity that has ever endorsed a product ACTUALLY uses that product in their own life? It's called advertising!

Endorsements work better if they give the impression that the product is actually preferred. Having readily available information about the use of competing products diminishes the effect of the endorsement.

"A few more days have gone by and I have discovered even more about my TouchPad in the ways that it can be a competent replacement for my laptop, gaming systems and TV. "

i think it's a case of what you want from those devices and what a user's definition of competent is. for example its none of those until it has a 240mhz 1080p 55 inch screen, plays Modern Warfare 3 and Saints Row the Third, and runs Microsoft Office with a keyboard. To me that's the only way it would be competent to replace my tv, xbox, and laptop.

But hey everyone has different needs. And they should use what they like.

What? Are you trying to rub it in or something.

rub what in? I didn't exactly name expensive items. At $1000 3 year old tv, an xbox, and microsoft office. That's not rubbing anything in.

No but it was all stolen from him... lol

All a TV is, is a really really big screen and a tuner. And the tuner is optional. When thirty people gather around your Touchpad to watch the Superbowl, then you've got something competent.

And I guess you can hold the Touchpad 4" from your nose and say it's a competent IMAX screen. My wife points out it makes a great place matt, as long as you don't mind visible fingerprints as you eat your dinner.

@SnotBoogie,

I think that you've completely misunderstood the scope of which his "review" was written.

Go ahead and try carrying those 55 inches of beautiful 1080p on the train with you. Why don't you try whipping out that Xbox and keyboard while your at it.

How competent is your Xbox, TV and keyboard when you've flipped your "mobile" switch?

Come on, man. Please recognize the scope and perspective with which he's writing.

i wasn't discussing the review. Just that sentence. And that statement is not limited to mobile. TV's are not all mobile nor are gaming systems. For my needs a touchpad could not replace my laptop because it doesn't run microsoft office. Another thing mentioned that a tablet doesn't satisfy even if it is mobile. Either way it still doesn't have Office. It could not replace my tv (for many unmentioned ones) but especially because it's not a big and HD. And it could not replace my gaming system because it can't play specific games: Modern Warfare 3 and Saints Row The Third to name only a few that are #1 on my gaming list this fall.

"Come on man" please recognize the perspective that i'm writing from. That a tablet that doesn't do those things cannot replace my tv or gaming systems.

You did read the first 2 articles right? Or even the introduction paragraph at the top of this one? You do know why the TouchPad happens to be his only digital device he owns right now, right?

Unfortunately some of us did read them.

SnotBoogie brings up good points in the context of replacing other devices, particularly a laptop, with the Touchpad or any other "pad". These are the same issues I am struggling with and will be watching Estaban closely.

I WANT to buy the Touchpad, but I can't rationalize it until the device can replace my laptop. It would be one kick **** tool for a road-warrior, but as it is, I'd have to carry both. From a business user's standpoint, it must be able to support document editing (proposals) and PowerPoints (presentations) and be able to hook up to a projector.

Ditto that.

Though, I am getting dangerously close to pulling the trigger on it due to a (percieved) need to have a state-of-the-art method of displaying my architectural renderings to potential clients.

Having a TouchPad would certainly beat whipping out the Dell Precision M6500 beast of a laptop and trying to make small-talk with a CEO while pulling it out of it's case and waiting for it to boot-up.

Yes sir... It sure would beat that... Hmmmmmm Makes me wanna head back on over to Best Buy again today right after work to drool some more.

Great review series! I had the same issue with volume as you did (and we aren't alone), so I created a fix that I'm going to try to get into the PreCentral homebrew feed this weekend :)

Windows 7 does have a reasonable analogy to the "Stacking" that WebOS does. It groups open files from programs in neat, clean icons on the bottom of the screen, and you can just hover the mouse over them (or Windows key - tab) through them.
I do find it horribly annoying on the Mac when several programs are running. It is just a pain going back and forth between running programs.
I use plenty of Iphones and Ipads in my line of work - and switching between programs is just a pain in the rear. It has about as useful multitasking as Windows 3.1 did back in 1993.

*****
I do find it horribly annoying on the Mac when several programs are running.
*****

On the Mac it's very simple with gestures and shortcuts. The built in Exposé lets you:

4-Finger-Swipe-Down (or F9) - reveal every window for every running program.

4-Finger-Swipe-Up (or F11) - show desktop (repeat to go back)

F10 - show all open windows for the current program (I've configured a gesture for this as well).

4-Finger-Swipe left or right (Cmd+Tab) - Windows style Alt+Tab task switching (I hardly use that any more now that I've gotten over my Windows muscle memory.

Spaces lets you group applications and application windows into separate desktops with easy gesture/shortcut to access them all.

3rd Party apps give you even more gestures for multitasking/task-switching. For example, you can assign gesture a "B" to launch our browser, or even launch directly to a specific website with gesture, etc. You can assign apps/files/websites/in-app-functions to different letters or a wide variety of one, two, three and four-finger gestures.

I've been finding it difficult trying to remember how many fingers to use to swipe in which direction every time I want to get things done. Not intuitive at all.

You do not represent the norm in this case. Even my 3-year-old knows the difference between a 5-finger-pinch to close the current app on the iPad 2 and a single-finger-swipe for other functions.

On a side note, it's interesting to see webOS users complain about HP removing some gestures from webOS for the TouchPad (because gestures are SO intuitive) while complaining that it's hard to remember too many gestures on another platform (because gestures are NOT intuitive).

sick burn

Not really. But it is a nice story. I bet his 3-yr old knows what 2 fingers does, 3 fingers does, and 4 fingers does too. Point is, too many things to remember, and to learn. Just now we'll have to remember how to pour, and do the snake dance with our hands above the devices too! I guess we'll be looking like Michael Jackson doing the breakdance with our hands on the devices.

No, she doesn't know *every single gesture* yet, but she (and most people) remember gestures far easier than all those keyboard shortcuts you'd have to use otherwise.

Document editing:

Have you tried "Typewriter?" I realize it's not a standard "document" format, but for typing up things (minus markup) it's pretty nice. I would like to see an application that exports markdown files to .doc or something--if anyone knows of one, please let me know.

Geez, get a job and buy new stuff. I'm tired of hearing about this poor guy with only a touchpad. Wanna know why he only has his touchpad, because the thiefs didn't want the POS.

So don't read the **** article you @$$h0le!

Trolls are fascinating. I wonder if anyone I know is an internet troll. What are their real-world personalities? Are they loud-mouth jerks? Are they meek pimple-faced losers? Are they educated? Were they smacked around by their parents? It just fascinates me that someone would feel compelled to say something like this to a guy who had everything he owns taken from him.

Umm no you trolling jerk. The thief left the Touchpad because the author HAD IT WITH HIM at the time. Moron.

Have you tried some of the Ares editors, like ClassicNote? It wouldn't be hard to modify it to set the flag to allow it to run full screen.

Dude, instead of writing this stuff maybe you should see if you can buy renters insurance on a touchpad.

Then you would not have to write these articles hoping for freebees from HP.

I find it odd that people like GlennBeck, Tsavo and cardfan would post the comments they have - or even bother to write them.

The reviewer's article is just that - a review. The fact that his personal circumstances prompted the review provides a unique opportunity to do something noone on any other technology site has ever done - use the device in question to its maximum potential for an extended period of time.

The result is a very thoughtful, detailed and unvarnished appraisal of the device.

The reader takes from it what is personally valuable to their own usage needs/requirements/habits. Nothing meets every person's subjective requirements - that's why their are so many different devices. It is all about finding what satisfies YOU personally.

This series of articles is an excellent source of information for anyone considering a tablet because not only does it honestly evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the TouchPad, it also provides - by extension - solid comparative criteria for evaluating other tablets so your purchase (TouchPad, iPad or whatever) will yield a much more satisfying result.

This is inspiring news! It seems like around every corner there was another reason not to get the Touchpad. I have made up my mind and am picking one up tonight.

Thanks for sharing!

I was in Costco last night watching the demo and came so close to pulling the trigger!

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