Roundup: Apps to help you find more apps | webOS Nation
 
 

Roundup: Apps to help you find more apps

by Nathan Mylott Wed, 26 Jan 2011 10:45 pm EST

WebOS currently has over 5,000 apps between all of the sources combined so we can all use a little help navigating through that vast sea of games, utilities, productivity apps, books, soundboards, and time wasters. Precentral is the best way to browse official and homebrew apps on your computer. But on your device, Palm’s official app catalog can be difficult to search and does not include homebrew or beta apps. So here is a round up of alternative apps to help you find more apps.

Browsing apps:

Preware: It is arguably the best app for apps and probably needs no introduction. Most savvy webOS fans know Preware as the best way to browse and install patches and themes and it is also quite a useful way of finding homebrew apps. You can think of it as sort of the homebrew equivalent of the official app catalog. It is separated into categories, and can be sorted by price, date of release, or just plain old alphabetically. Each app listing comes with a description and screenshots, and info about the developer. You can install or remove the apps with a touch of a button right on the info screen, just like you do in the official app catalog. It will also give you the option to block certain developers.

If by some chance you are not familiar with homebrew apps, patches, and themes and how to install them, you can find a complete guide right here on Precentral, or there are also apps for that like Preware Homebrew Documentation and Homebrew Helper.

Preload: It does very much the same thing as Preware with some minor differences. You can find ringtones and sounds along with wallpapers and themes. Aside from patches and applications, it also lists Linux applications, optware and service as other options.

It has much of the same filtering options as Preware, although not by price. You can also add your own source url if you know of an app repository not listed and you can change the path to where your downloads are saved on your phone.

You can also use it to download a shared file if you know the file’s url. When you do so, you can also share that file with the community. Separately, there is a place to search the files shared by others. This certainly lends to a feeling of community not really present in Preware. There are even forums built into the app.

Aesthetically, Preload is extremely...blue. It is probably a matter of personal preference but this blogger much prefers the UI of Preware, and has found Preload to be slow and difficult to search and does not provide as many results. However, considering there are things to be found here that are not in Preware, it is worth having on board your device.

Featured Apps: This is the featured apps section of the official App Catalog extracted into its own separate app. While it’s true, you can see much the same information in the App Catalog itself, this is an easier and better way of viewing them. It has a very attractive interface, and lists the featured apps from top to bottom with big banners rather than little icons. It does also show more than the few apps shown in the horizontal scroller at the top of the App Catalog. This lightweight app app gets a high recommendation.

On Sale: Are you low on money or just not a fan of spending too much money on apps? Always looking for a bargain? Then this is the app for you. It lists all the apps that are currently on sale for a reduced price. Tapping an app opens the App Catalog in a separate card so you can read about it and buy it if you want it, or swipe away the card if you do not, while the app itself stays where you left off.

AppScoop: Feeling brave? This is the place to look at all the apps that are in the beta feed and have not been tested by Palm. There are no guarantees that the apps will work well, or at all, but you can find brand new apps that are not yet in the app catalog. You can be among the early adopters and play a role in working out the kinks for the greater good of your fellow app downloaders who will come after you. Maybe it is not quite that noble but it is definitely interesting to try out new stuff coming down the pike.

Searching for apps:

App Cat and UberAppCat: Searching the official app catalog sometimes feels like looking for a particular book in the rubble of a library where a bomb has just gone off. Sure you can type in a search term but your results will have little, if anything, to do with what you searched for. You can type in the name of the app you are looking for, but you will not necessarily see it come up in the results.

App Cat and UberAppCat fix these problems for you. With these two apps, for the most part, what you search for is what you get. These two apps are for searching the app catalog, nothing else.

The results App Cat gives you will include the app name and price, nothing more. Tap the name and it will launch the official app catalog. Any information you get about the app will be found there, not in App Cat itself. Although it does list the newest apps to hit the Catalog when you open it, App Cat is not ideal for browsing apps. For searching, it is a great replacement for the broken search in the official catalog.

UberAppCat serves the same purpose as App Cat but it does give you a little bit of information about the app in the search results, before you tap on it to bring up the App Catalog. The best part of using UberAppCat is that you can block certain developers or keywords.

For reasons I am not quite clear on, sometimes you will find what you are looking for in UberAppCat but not App Cat, and sometimes vice versa, even if you use the same search query. Therefore, use them in tandem when you are looking for something. Browsing the App Catalog is fun and all but if you are looking for something in particular, do not waste your time. Use these two apps as a team that will do the job proper for you.