webOS Pivot Issue #1 - A first look into the HP TouchPad App Catalog | webOS Nation

webOS Pivot Issue #1 - A first look into the HP TouchPad App Catalog

by Tim Stiffler-Dean Sun, 03 Jul 2011 12:29 am EDT

webOS Pivot is the new TouchPad-based eZine that puts the focus on apps and their developers. Here's a look at what the first issue brings us.

Along with the HP TouchPad being released to the masses, the very first issue of webOS Pivot, HP's premier mobile app eZine, has shown up on our devices as well. But while those of us with a TouchPad are able to enjoy the first issue of this series, what about everyone else? Well, we've given it a thorough look from front to back (figuratively, of course) and thought you might like to look a bit further than what we gave you in the earlier review of the new content. Click through the break to read our overview of the first issue of webOS Pivot, and see a few of the apps that were featured. If we were to sum up the 31 pages that make up this eZine in just a single word, it would have to be "Illustrative." 

Here's our look at webOS Pivot Issue #1 for July 2011:

If you've just bought your HP TouchPad and don't see the webOS Pivot Magazine the first few times you launch the App Catalog, just give it some time. Switch to portrait mode and in the bottom left corner of the App Catalog homepage you'll see a message telling you that webOS Pivot is being downloaded, and that's exactly what's happening. Just keep checking the app catalog every so often to see when it's done, and you'll know when it is (cause you'll see the image from the top of this piece).

Pivot is layed out as similarly to your traditional magazine as an eZine can possibly be, with a cover page, an index, featured stories, reviews and a number of spotlighted authors from different regions and backgrounds. Because it is integrated directly in with the App Catalog, though, there is one feature specifically that really sets Pivot apart from a physical booklet - the ability to download apps without leaving the page. As you read through the real-life stories of TouchPad users and developers, you'll see green buttons beneath app icons that will allow you to purchase and download each of these apps with a single touch on the screen.

The app reviews are mostly done by some anonymous author from deep within the HP ecosystem, and aren't really meant to criticise the apps as much as they are meant to tell users about unique applications that they might otherwise not know about. In this first issue we get to see apps like iheartradio, TED Conferences, EA's Need for Speed and Facebook - one for each of four types of people that might be attracted to download applications. With each review you get a small story and introduction followed by an assessment of the major features and a breakdown of who might want to get the app (with a wish-list of features that should be added to make the experience even better for those people). 

Besides the straight-forward reviews of a few applications, though, Pivot #1 took us into the real lives of several TouchPad users and app developers to give them a voice that can be heard. From Maccabee Montandon, a writer from New York City who travels the world from a park bench with his family, to Novelist Colson Whitehead, who fears the day when the devices we use will begin to continually suggest changes in our lifestyle that we might already be considering. To Salman Khan, an MIT grad who has built his first mobile application, Khan Academy, to teach students around the globe with 2,300+ tutorial videos. That's just to name three that are featured - several other names and bios fill the pages of webOS Pivot, and all of them are very interesting.

Lastly, HP is using webOS Pivot to showcase content from specific apps in different ways. The amatuer chef might be interested in the four recipes found in the Epicurious app listed on page 10, for example, as they try to decide on what to make as a full course meal. While those fortunate enough to have access to the Kindle app might be interested in seeing what master-illusionists Penn & Teller are packing in their digital library on Page 8. And it's always fun to look at the main apps of one particular Documentary Filmmaker on Page 27, like Cool World Clock by Jeff Yuan and Quell (a game) by Fallen Tree Games.

By the end of this first issue of webOS Pivot, you will have read about (and hopefully downloaded a few) 22 different applications from all walks of life, and it is here on the final pages that Pivot's creators remind us again what we had already went over. Three pages of TouchPad apps with a few small details and a one-tap download button are all aligned nicely as we finish up. But of course, we can't forget the very last page, either, which tells us what to expect in next month's edition of webOS Pivot. But you'll have to get the app for yourself if you want to know what those are (we won't tell you here!).

All-in-all, the first app-focused eZine was an enjoyable, though short, experience. The photographs were well chosen, and the stories well laid out. It didn't feel like a sales-pitch, which is what we feared upon the first launch of the catalog, and even gave us some insight into what real people are doing as they use the TouchPad. Which is something we can all enjoy. If you want to read webOS Pivot for yourself, you'll first have to get an HP TouchPad (but there are plenty of ways to do that). For those of you that already have access, though, tell us, did you end up buying any apps that were featured?