It’s been a busy couple of days since Monday and I haven’t used the TouchPad as much as I had the week before. I had thought I would sit down tonight after the Home Tech Podcast was recorded and drop a few notes about the weeks usage. It turned out to be a much more interesting day than that. At about 2pm I got wind from a co-worker that HP had announced it was going to effectively scuttle the WebOS platform for the future. Gina Smith over at said this: In a sharp tactical reversal, Hewlett-Packard today killed its WebOS-based HP TouchPad tablet and smartphones. Earlier this year, HP unveiled its Palm-designed WebOS family of phones, tablets and PCs with great fanfare. Find coverage here. The HP TouchPad, released in June, was yet another competitor struggling in vain against the Apple iPad. Recently, HP slashed prices on the tablet. And another one bites the dust. I guess I was a little shocked that a company that spent $ billion last summer on acquiring Palm and its WebOS would give up on it so quickly. In the same announcement, HP also announced that it was moving away from it current PC business as well. They are currently the #1 PC manufacturer in the world. Huge surprise. As of this moment, all the major media outlets are covering this story, I am not going to attempt to do that here. I am going to lament for a moment however, and then move on. I do have these thoughts. The TouchPad is a good enough tablet that it could stand on it’s own for a year or two and not need the ecosystem of HP to support it. In my testing, it did 95% of what I asked it and did it well. If this tablet now goes on clearance or closeout for less than $200, it’s worth the purchase. As long as you don’t try to constantly compare it to an iPad every other day, you will be good. Because I love the underdog, I looked forward to seeing the WebOS complete against the big boys. It doesn’t look like that will happen now. For the moment, my eyes are back on the iPad and an Android tablet. It was good to try and I am glad that I didn’t buy. Jim Collison is a blogger and podcaster for and a Microsoft Windows Home Server MVP This unit was provided by Forsythe Technologies in Omaha NE for review purposes. Please feel free to leave comments at our Facebook Group Page
I didn’t really get a chance to work much on the TouchPad on Saturday. I’m finding that when I am at home, the TouchPad has a hard time competing with my 24” monitor and PC. Today was filled with a bunch of PC maintenance and file clean up. I also had to edit and post two podcasts and well as do some updating to the website (hope you noticed?). Nothing I would ever try to do on a tablet. Since the weekend means I use the TouchPad less, I thought I could use it to talk about the applications that are available. Maybe I should have said, the lack of applications. When I left the Palm ecosystem a year ago, I really thought that more apps would get written while I was away. In the first week with the TouchPad, it sure doesn’t look like it! I only have my Android phone and my limited experience with an iPod touch to compare it to, but out of the gate, there seems to be all the bad apps from both Apple and Android and not too many of the good ones. Now, let me be fair, most of what I REALLY need is there. Things like access to a podcast app (drPodder) and good weather app (both Accuweather and the Weather Channel have apps). Pandora, WordPress, Foursquare, Linkedin, Woot and Groupon are all apps I use on my phone and are available in the App Catalogue. Angry Birds is even available on the device! What is painfully missing is a few titles I use everyday. First and foremost is Dropbox. There is a $ app called Dropboxify, but Dropbox is free on every other platform. I could always go to the browser for this. There is also no dedicated Netflix app to speak of. Sarah tried to get Netflix running the browser but didn’t have any luck. The last app that is missing is I could just go to the browser for it, but a dedicated app is nice. I am just complaining now. All in all, even with a limited apps infrastructure, I can make most things work. In most cases where there isn’t an app, I could always use the browser to get what I need. It’s a fair trade. (Update 8/15 from the Facebook Post) I received this bit of update from my new HP TouchPad testing partner John Greenaway. He writes: Jim, my 14 day point-of-no-return window with the TouchPad ends Friday. Since I got the 32GB version at a $200 discount off msrp (now just $100 with the permanent price drop) for $399, I’m 80/20 leaning towards keeping $200 less than… the equivalent iPad, it’s doing everything I NEED from a home tablet and across the board better than my current home-roaming alternative (a Dell mini-10 laptop or a full laptop). My take so far on the software: The free stuff: general web browsing (A+ – flash sites work as well as flash does anywhere), built-in email app (A-), Twitter (A+: SpazHD Free), free media consumption (B+: plays Amazon Video movies for people with Amazon Prime, Kindle (A), and web-based Amazon Cloud Player (A-: no downloading from Cloud Player to the device). Finally, Skype (A-) is a built-in part of webOS synergy so video-calling grandma is as easy as typing her name into JustType and tapping on her skype contact just below her phone # and email address. (Almost as easy as Apple’s Facetime, but the person you are calling doesn’t have to be using another TouchPad on the other end!!) The paid stuff: There’s some decent stuff, not a ton, but unique things. A new paid Google Reader app (A-) has received excellent reviews, a paid DLNA client (B+) to play media and pics from my home server), and Glimpse (by Inglorious Apps) brings real multi-tasking to a single card – web, youtube, twitter, reader, etc… The missing stuff (everyone is different): I still wish the TouchPad (webOS in general) had certain other apps. it would be excellent to have Netflix — which I have heard rumored to be coming. I’d love to see an app for MyFitnessPal which I use for tracking food intake and exercise (but the website works fine). But to be honest, for me at the moment, more apps might give me more distractions I can’t handle in my life right now (2 month old twins). As for your specific complaints, I don’t use Mint, but there is a paid app called Checkbook by Glitchtech Science software that I use to track finances and then export to Quicken. Also, I use the paid dropbox app which works just great for getting stuff both to and from dropbox – just no auto-syncing, which I’m not sure I’d really want anyway. The apps are definitely getting better in quality too. Between the apps that are available, and the FULL internet as it is currently designed to be used (ahem – Flash), the TouchPad can do anything I need / want it to do. More importantly, my wife actually likes webOS, specifically the card metaphor for managing multiple open apps and JustType which makes finding and doing things easier. The WAF alone is a major plus. She didn’t really love interacting with the Android tablet I brought home for two weeks about a month ago. More importantly for me, as I work my way through the decision about what phones to use next for our family (webOS vs WP7 vs Android), I think I could see the TouchPad having a place in the house even if we end up on phones from another platform. I don’t think I felt the same with the Transformer which would have been great to round out a full android experience, but not necessarily on it’s own. I don’t doubt that is because of having 2 years of webOS experience behind me. Side note: I liked the Transformer a lot and would recommend it to anyone looking to buy a honeycomb tablet — it was very nice, but just not terribly easy to get used to the OS, homescreens, widgets, etc… for me, much less my wife The is more that can be said, but my day (and weekend) has run out of time. I still have 3 weeks to write more. Jim Collison is a blogger and podcaster for and a Microsoft Windows Home Server MVP This unit was provided by Forsythe Technologies in Omaha NE for review purposes. Please feel free to leave comments at our Facebook Group Page
Back on the laptop today and back to Windows Live Writer for the blog. When I started using the TouchPad early this morning, it gave me the update OS option which in the past 2 days I have just ignored. This morning, it would pop up literally every 2 seconds. I dismissed it several times and then just gave in to the upgrade. Was hoping to get a few more days on the old versions before I moved up, but HP would have nothing to do with that! Maybe they are reading my posts? Here is what the warning looked like: The update took about 15 minutes to complete and the TouchPad has worked great ever since. Still not sure what kind of differences it makes, but I will keep an eye out for them. I was able to get Skype messaging working today as well after the update. Let me tell you, IT’S AWESOME! Was able to make both audio and video calls as well as a group conference call. It was kind of a surprise since I thought the TouchPad didn’t have Skype at all! I will for sure be using this feature both for audio and video calls since this is a Wi-Fi only device. The sound quality coming from the speakers is incredible and the video on both ends in crisp and clear. I make a lot of Skype calls so this functionality is a huge plus. UPDATE FROM YESTERDAY I did have an issue when trying to view a Google spreadsheet from the web browser. It showed the cells that were in view, but would not scroll over to the cells not on the screen. I use Google docs a bunch so this part is very important to me. I will have to search for a fix to this issue. This issue was not fixed when I upgraded to Will have to keep working on a fix. If you know of one, please let me know. I had planned to talk about the apps tonight, but that will have to wait until tomorrow or the weekend. Lots to say about those. More to come… Jim Collison is a blogger and podcaster for and the a Microsoft Windows Home Server MVP This unit was provided by Forsythe Technologies in Omaha NE for review purposes.
This is the second time I have written this blog post. The first time I used the WordPress App on the TouchPad to write the entire article. Just before I was ready to post it, I tried to add one more screen shot. The process hung for about 20 minutes. Unfortunately, I never saved the post as a draft (something I will do from this point on!) and so when I closed it, the post was gone. Gone forever. Bummer. Huge WebOS fail. I am still running the software so maybe the update will fix it. I will have to try again another time. The WordPress App looks good from the start. It gives you a way to connect to multiple WordPress Accounts and perform basic maintenance. It makes available things like Comments, Posts, Pages and Stats for each site. From the Posts option, you can select Add New and create a new entry. It looks something like this…from the first time I tried this! Besides the first failed attempt, the post was easy to write with the external keyboard. I wouldn’t be really excited about trying to write a full post on with the on board keyboard, but it could be done. One note about the external Bluetooth keyboard. While it is more helpful to use when typing large amounts of text, it is not necessarily the fastest in its response. It works as expected about 80% of the time, but the other 20% it drags a bit. Just enough to make a difference. Maybe this will get fixed in the upgrade to I hear that lots of things get fixed in that upgrade. WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) As soon as I got home with the TouchPad last night, Sarah wanted to try it out. I showed her a few important icons and where the volume and home buttons were and she was off. Usually she asks me a million questions when I give her new technology, but not this time. The next thing I knew she was showing me her favorite YouTube videos. Here were her comments (written by her in the Memo App on the TouchPad): Sound is pretty amazing for a touchpad. It’s much better than my laptop speakers. The sound from ear buds is very good quality also. However the volume increments are too drastic; not subtle enough. The YouTube at full screen is pretty good quality. Fun to watch music videos on this as opposed to my laptop b/c it’s more portable and the sound is so much better. I love the idea of a Kindle app. Would love to try that out. The screen gyro is too slow. I also would like to see navigation arrows on the keyboard. It’s WAY too hard to jump in the middle of text to make corrections and I’m a woman w/ smaller fingers. -Sarah C The Good: So today I was able to really use the TouchPad full time. I was able to save an attachment from one email and attach it to another and send it to a new email address very, very quickly. I discovered that spell check is easy, accurate and most times dead right. I am a terrible speller, so every little bit helps. I found that the GPS is spot on when it comes to locating you. It didn’t matter if I was at home or at work, if found me exactly were I was. The map application uses Bing and is very awesome. Since this is a Wi-Fi only unit, following along while I travel was not an option. I could check the traffic before I left home however. Another bright spot is the calendar. It is able to combine all the calendars from all the accounts that are set up and logged in. It looks great, is easy to read, easy to shut off calendars you don’t want to see and easy to manage. Perfect for a busy guy like me! Taking screen shots is also very easy. Hold down the home button and press the power button and bam! You can then go into pictures and mail them to yourself or post them to Facebook. Couple clicks and you are done. Great for these kinds of posts. The Bad: I did have an issue when trying to view a Google spreadsheet from the web browser. It showed the cells that were in view, but would not scroll over to the cells not on the screen. I use Google docs a bunch so this part is very important to me. I will have to search for a fix to this issue. Another drawback was how picky the unit is when it comes to power chargers. When I tried to plug it into one of my generic micro USB cables attached to either a power adapter or my PC, it gave me an error message and suggested I use the cables and chargers that came with the unit. I have a bunch of those cheap chargers and would really like to use them. Guess not with the TouchPad. The speed issues that have been reported by others was very noticeable today. Still not a show stopper but something I will watch for when I upgrade the unit this weekend. Tomorrow’s another day. I hope I can get this posted before I lose this one! Hint: I used Live Writer for the second post. Jim Collison is a blogger and podcaster for and the and a Microsoft Windows Home Server MVP This unit was provided by Forsythe Technologies in Omaha NE for review purposes.
Two years ago I made the leap and jumped on the Palm Pre bandwagon. I still remember the day I brought it home, connected to my home wifi and started downloading from an apps store that had some 300 available applications. In those days, the Pre was a product of Palm, and the WebOS was the first multi-tasking mobile OS created. Even though the phone release was very late and the iPhone was all but dominating the market, I was on Sprint and wanted to give this new product a try. One year later, I found myself on Android! Guess that tells you how it went. In all honesty, I do think the WebOS is a great platform. It looks great and is very easy to use. It suffered from poor hardware and a lack of app titles and has never really regained the ground it lost back in 2009. In 2010, Palm was purchase by HP and since then, HP has been pumping money into the product like crazy. I have been watching and waiting. Fast forward to today and I find myself at the other end of the newly released (July 1st) HP TouchPad running the same WebOS that was on my Palm Pre those two years ago. Thanks to my friend Scott at Forsyte Technologies, I have one to test out over the next 28 days. So over the next 4 weeks, I will poke and probe, download and install and do anything else I can to get reacquainted with this old friend. Each day (or whenever I can) I will report back my findings. The goal will be to cover that days findings, good or bad, and document them here. Post your questions or comments on what you would like to see in the comments section of the post. Day 1 Scott brought the TouchPad over at lunch and we pulled it from the box. It’s the wifi only version with 32GB of memory. He also brought over a charging and docking station, a cover, a bluetooth keyboard and some extra cables. Right now, that would all retail for about $600 to $700. We took everything out of the box and started the set up. There have been a million reviews of device itself, so I will spare you with all those details. Brand new it looks great. I give them an A+ for design. Scott had already created a TouchPad Profile (Palm Profile in the old days) and I knew I was going to need to reset it in order to get the apps I purchased with my phone back (or so I thought). With a couple clicks we were resetting the unit to factory condition and the setup screen. With a few more clicks I had entered my profile info and it was downloading and restoring my data that had last been saved from my Palm Pre just 47 days ago. Believe it or now, even though I don’t use my Pre as a phone anymore, it has come in handy as a music player. It has remained in my car for just that purpose. To my surprise, all the applications that I had downloaded on my Pre were now on the TouchPad! Everything from drPodder to Yatzee for Palm’s WebOS, from Pandora to Facebook. My Email profiles also came with the profile. A nice surprise in that I didn’t need to put all those back in. Updated password and they were syncing. I was not surprise by how easy it was to set up a sync with my email at work. Email is what the WebOS did and does best and had been easy on my phone. Within a minute or two, and a few simple bits of info, and I was up and running and syncing with my Exchange email. Very simple. It did prompt me to enter a new password, part of the group policy at my employer. I entered a code (now required every time I access the device) and moved forward. The whole process had me up and running very fast. Within 30 minutes I had most things set, email downloaded and was ready to start being productive. I purposely will not upgrade the WebOS software from to whatever the latest release. This unit has gotten a bad wrap when it comes to speed and I wanted to see just how bad it was. HP has recently (like last Friday) updated the OS in hopes of making it faster. I want to spend a couple days on the early version to get a good feel for the speed issues. To be honest, it’s not really that slow so far. A couple places where it drags, but not a show stopper. Maybe I will see more with more testing. Even though I have an external keyboard, the on board keyboard was easy to use right out of the chute. It took a few minutes to get use to it, but once I got the hang of it, it felt okay to use like a normal keyboard. You do have to be very careful where you place your hand. I had few misspelled words for the first couple tries. It found my printer! I did a screen shot and was trying to figure out how to email it to myself and discovered the print button. Not only did it find my network printer without ANY setup, it printed it quite nicely! This was a huge surprise. Since HP is a printer company, I guess they might be good at that! All and all, not a bad first day! There will be plenty more apps to try and things to do, for now, Sarah gets a shot at it! Jim Collison is a blogger and podcaster for and the a Microsoft Windows Home Server MVP This unit was provided by Forsythe Technologies in Omaha NE for review purposes.