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App Review: webOS App Builder 9

by Sharon L Copeland Fri, 08 Jun 2012 5:36 pm EDT

webOS app builder

We have always wanted to be that guy that makes the next great app. The perfect app that takes you and your small company into the strastosphere. Look at Angry Birds, Instagram, and Words with Friends. The best thing about webOS if you don't know already, we have the most talented and creative developers. Developers like Inglorious Apps with Notes HD, Arthur Thornton with Sparrow, and James Harris with Flash Cards who have really inspired the next generation of app designers. Why? Because webOS remains one of the best platforms to develop on. When webOS goes fully open source in the fall its only going to get even better and easier. So... you want to get in on the game, but you don’t have the skills. No problem, because with the Science Apps' new app webOS App Builder you can start building your own custom apps in no time flat.

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App Review: Sparrow 10

by Ryan St. Andrie Mon, 04 Jun 2012 1:34 pm EDT

App Review: Sparrow

Twitter apps are some of the most popular apps for every platform out there and webOS is no exception to the rule. Once upon a time there were so many third party Twitter clients for webOS that it was hard to keep track of them all. However, by the time the TouchPad hit the market developer interest for webOS had already dwindled despite decent reviews of webOS 3.0. Then former HP CEO Leo Apotheker killed webOS hardware, crushing what little interest was left in developing apps for the not-even-two-months-old TouchPad. Despite the lack of interest in the platform, our diehard developers in the webOS community kept trudging away to bring us great apps (especially of the Twitter variety). A prime example of this dedication is the Twitter client Sparrow by our very own Arthur Thornton.

Sparrow is one of the few working and actively developed Twitter clients built for the TouchPad. Luckily for us it is attractive and well built. Much like other webOS 3.0 apps out there this app follows the tried but true three pane design that webOS fans love. It also has a very attractive dark theme that any Twitter nut can appreciate. Last but certainly not least Sparrow is straightforward and to the point. One is never confused on how to use this app.

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App Review: Picross 3

by Adam Marks Thu, 17 May 2012 3:43 pm EDT

Picross Squirell

 

What do you get when you combine Minesweeper, logic puzzles and pictures together? The answer is Picross, a fun and addictive game by PenduinBits that challenges you to solve picture puzzles (or picture crosswords, as the app name indicates) on an 8x8 grid solely using number clues that indicate how many blocks you need to fill in on a given row or column of the grid.  For $0.99, you get 384 puzzles split between Easy, Medium and Hard levels, and even a Builder feature that lets you create up to 64 more of your own custom puzzles. And with a minimum webOS requirement of only webOS 1.4.5, one purchase will work on all your webOS devices from the original Pre or Pixi to the newer Pre3 or TouchPad.

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App Review: QuickChat for Facebook 4

by Adam Marks Fri, 11 May 2012 2:03 pm EDT

QuickChat for Facebook - tablet

Despite deep Synergy integration between webOS and Facebook in the Contacts, Calendar, Photos and Videos apps, we have yet to see Facebook Chat make its way to the Messaging app without the benefit of any homebrew assistance. Although there are a few instant messaging apps in the App Catalog that includes Facebook Chat, none have the ease and simplicity of QuickChat for Facebook, by pcworldSoftware, nor are any of them built using Enyo to support both the small screens of webOS phones and the larger real estate of the TouchPad. For $2.99 (on sale, normally $3.99), QuickChat for Facebook is available for any webOS device running webOS 2.1 or higher and brings you a dedicated Facebook Chat app that does its best to mimic the stock Messaging app of the TouchPad. Upon launching the app the first thing you must do is log in to Facebook. On the TouchPad, you are then brought to a very familiar looking scene with a panel on the left that allows you to toggle between your online friends or your conversation history, and a larger pane on the right that houses your conversation. On phones, you just view that left-pane by default, and the conversation pane will slide in Enyo-style once you tap on a buddy or a conversation.

As long as the app is open (unfortunately, this is a webOS limitation), it will receive any chats or messages received in Facebook in real-time and even has push notifications to alert you if the app is not the active one. If you know how to use the Messaging App for IM or SMS messages, you will be right at home in this app. It works really well and adds a much-needed piece of Synergy to webOS, although there are a few limitation with how Facebook Chat works with the app, mainly due to the available APIs from Facebook.

  • Missing conversation history -- While your Facebook chat history will be loaded into the app once you log in, some conversations may be missing. The developer and I troubleshooted this in detail and determined it was actually a Facebook issue and nothing the app had any control over. As a result, this may also cause some conversation history to be lost when you relaunch the app in the future. However, that conversation will still be available on the Facebook website or the webOS Facebook app.
  • Group chats or messages are not available -- Due to Facebook API limitations, you are only able to send/receive messages/chats from individuals, and the conversation history of multi-person chats or messages will not be shown in the app. If you need to send a group-message, you will need to launch the webOS Facebook app to access this.
  • Other known issues -- The Developer has a "Known issues" page in the help section of the app that also documents some other issues, such as an occasional disconnect from the Facebook servers or profile pictures missing or not being updated. Once again, these are either Facebook or webOS restrictions, but the developer has work arounds for these built in minimize the impact on your user experience.

With all of these issues or limitations, you may be wondering why you shouldn't just use the messaging section of the Facebook apps for your phone or TouchPad or the web browser itself. The biggest reason for me is the real-time messaging and push notifications built into the app. If you rarely use the chat or messaging features of Facebook, this is proably not for you]. But if you send a lot of messages or even just occasionally Facebook Chat, then you should consider this app. And best of all, a single purchase will allow you to download the app on both your phone and TouchPad (as long as they are on the same webOS profile).

QuickChat for Facebook - phone  QuickChat for Facebook - phone2  

QuickChat for Facebook - phone3 QuickChat for Facebook - notification

 

4 Comments

App Review: E Notes 10

by Sharon L Copeland Wed, 02 May 2012 7:13 pm EDT

App Review: E Notes

Way back in 2009, the Palm Pre and webOS were still new to the world. Also new to the world was Evernote, who released an app built with the also new Mojo framework for webOS. It was a decent app, but it struggled to keep up with changes made to webOS and the Evernote system. So long as you had a webOS smartphone, though, it generally worked. At least, it did until last month, when Evernote made modifications to their API that killed the app for weeks until enough webOS users complained and Evernote brought it back. The change to the API also affected a fledgling app for webOS that brought Evernote to the TouchPad in proper Enyo fashion: E Notes.

Put together by PetzApps, E Notes does require an Evernote account, but that’s not exactly a difficult thing to register and you can do it through the app if you don't already have one. Evernote will even give you a very unique and very long email address that allows you upload notes anytime, anywhere. We would advise you to save your new email in your contacts in your system. E Notes takes full advantage of webOS' Enyo app framework, utilizing a beautiful sliding pane system that aids in multitasking, making it a breeze to jump from one task to another. E Notes even has a notifications to keep you updated when a note, notebook, or tag on your account has been altered or has been added.

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App Review: Taurus 4

by Sharon L Copeland Mon, 30 Apr 2012 7:31 pm EDT

Taurus-hero.png

We can all agree that the hallmark, the crown feature, of the webOS platform is its unmatched multitasking user interface. There's simply no equal to its prowess. webOS also has been one of the leading platforms for Twitter clients, though that perhaps hasn't been as evident lately. For years webOS has had some of the best Twitter clients in the mobile space, and while many have fallen behind, there are always a few more coming up and ready to take their place, and thankfully they keep spoiling us with quality user interfaces and beautiful design. The latest entrant takes after the conventions of incredible!, bringing a new unified social networking experience to the TouchPad: Taurus.

This new social app by OMA Studios has hit the webOS App Catalog, bringing a single-app multi-pane social networking experience unlike that offered by other apps. While incredible! seeks to integrate your networks into one stream like webOS tries to integrate your contacts and calendars, Taurus brings them into one app, but keeps them segmented so that even more dissimlar social network and systems can join the mix. A full Taurus cocktail can contain Google Reader feeds, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook streams, YouTube subscriptions, and your ToodleDo tasks. It's one heck of a cocktail.

App Review: MeOrg! for SpringPad 11

by arthurthornton Thu, 26 Apr 2012 8:12 pm EDT

App Review: MeOrg! for SpringPad

Ever since the TouchPad was released people have been looking for a solution to their Evernote woes, what with the fact that Evernote never created an app for the TouchPad and more recently that the app for phones was broken by a change on the Evernote servers. In swoops MeOrg!, a SpringPad client made by Sven Ziegler. SpringPad is a service not dissimilar to Evernote in that they both pretty much do the same thing, with many even preferring SpringPad over Evernote, but can MeOrg! stand up to the task?

App Review: Finger Notes 2

by Sharon L Copeland Mon, 23 Apr 2012 6:50 pm EDT

App Review: Finger Notes

From the dawn of time, man has had to find a ways to write down his thoughts and reminders in order not to forget them. From the paintings on the walls of caves by cavemen; to the detailed hand writing on parchment paper with ink and a sharpened quill. Fast forward to today and we've made the grand leap from parchment to little neon-colored squares or paper we can stick to things. What a marvelous age we live in where we can afix reminders to the refrigerator, the mirror, and the door when you leave for work. Wouldn’t it be great to have the color and fun of sticky notes without forgetting them and the expense of rebuying them?

Allow us to introduce you to Finger Notes, by Middlemind Games. It's a very simplified webOS notes app that lets you add your own creative touch now available for the TouchPad. There are other note-taking apps out there, like Pocket Mirror, Evernote, Notes HD, and even the built-in webOS Memos app, but what Finger Notes provides is simplicity and ease of control with the use of just one finger. But using just that one finger can be limiting - Finger Notes isn't an end-all solution for quick notes, and it certainly isn't perfect.

App Review: Apollo Radio 30

by Sharon L Copeland Sat, 21 Apr 2012 2:37 pm EDT

App Review: Apollo Radio

Pandora has been available for webOS for as long as webOS has been available, but the app never made it to the TouchPad. Sure, there is the HTML5 webapp for Pandora, but we'd rather not have to work it through the browser. We need something less finicky, and that's where the Jake Morrison and Taylor Kimmett's new app Apollo Radio comes in.

Pandora, for the uninitiated, is sort of like your own personal DJ. Based on the Music Genome Project, Pandora's algorithms allow users to build their own personal radio station around their musical preferences. Tell Pandora what music you like, and Pandora digs up other music that it thinks you'll enjoy. If you aren't enjoying what Pandora's served up, you can give the song a thumbs down and Pandora will remove it from your playlist and adjust its predictions for your musical taste. After a while, Pandora can build up a fairly good idea of what you will and won't like. The service is provided free of charge, only asking that you listen to some ads along the way to help pay for the music and servers. Pandora has historically made their own app, releasing versions for all major smartphone platforms.

App Review: TouchTax 3

by Jonathan I Ezor#IM Wed, 11 Apr 2012 7:41 pm EDT

TouchTax main screen

As Benjamin Franklin said in 1789, in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. While your webOS device can't help a whole lot with the former (although it can help you stave off your inevitable end with improved health and fitness), for those of you in the United States who may still be burning the midnight oil working on your 2011 taxes and the crazy tax code nerds out there might find TouchTax to be a handy reference to keep on your TouchPad. Its interface and functionality limitations, though, may be a bit too taxing for many users, and the $2.99 app does provide e-filing or tax return features - TouchTax is all about the information.

The overall interface for TouchTax is a standard Enyo layout, with sliding panes. The leftmost pane offers Quick Links to the Internal Revenue Code (the law) and Regulations overseen by the Internal Revenue Service, a comparison table of section numbers from the original 1939 Code and its 1986 major revision, and IRS Forms, along with Application Support. Links really is the operative word: the application merely launches a separate browser window directly to the relevant portion of the IRS Web site for the Code, Regulations and Forms options.

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