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  1. Thead's Avatar
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       #1  
    First: a history. I'm not a very experienced smart phone user. Most of my friends have either iphones or android phones, and I read several tech blogs and enjoy staying up on the latest features out there in the world. But the total amount of time I've actually spent personally using ios or android could sum up to several minutes.

    For years, my wife and I both had feature phones until she upgraded to a Samsung Instinct. At the time we thought that phone was incredible. I was still in a phase where I didn't understand why anyone would even need to text message or check their email on a phone, so I kept my dumb phone. Enter CES 2009 and suddenly the Palm Pre was getting me excited. I picked one up on launch day. We've both been content with our phones ever since.

    My wife is not a tech junkie, so her Instinct has suited her just fine. I've been trying to get her to upgrade for a while but she hasn't had any interest, other than knowing that an iphone or android would allow her to access a program for her job that other phones can't do. Then this weekend our 4 year old niece threw her phone on the ground and the screen went black.

    We picked up the Nexus S 4G. I was trying to hold out for her to get a Galaxy S2, but our niece forced our hand. Plus my wife couldn't stomach spending $199 for a phone, and the Nexus S was only $99. I spent all afternoon playing with it, and since this was my first real experience playing with a smartphone other than my Pre, I thought I'd share my thoughts:

    I love the hardware. The phone is skinny and surprisingly light. I love the rounded corners too. I don't like the sharp angles on other phones. I also like the 4" screen more than I was expecting. I've held 4.3's before and I think they're too big. If it was my personal phone, 4" is the max I would want to go, but I think a Pre3 3.7" might be perfect for me. 4" actually made me feel like my Pre was too small for the first time. The curve of the phone is nice and it feels good to hold in my hand.

    As for android, there are pros and cons compared to webos. I was in app heaven. Practically faster than I could scroll through the market I was downloading app after app that looked interesting or useful. Having only used webos, I always wondered why people thought they needed so many apps. I'm beginning to see why. Sometimes you don't know you want something if you don't even know it exists. I'm definitely jealous of android's app selection now.

    This was my first time using a virtual keyboard extensively. I have to say, it was surprisingly difficult for me. Several times when typing I almost tried to one handed slide out the portrait keyboard because it just felt right. That's just muscle memory that would fade though. Portrait typing on the virtual keyboard wasn't easy, and I had to learn to flip it to landscape, which was a little frustrating. Even in landscape, though, I still found myself having to slow down to type. I seemed to often hit the key below the one I was aiming for. Trying to hit a key on the bottom row might take two or three tries.

    As for maneuvering the os itself, again pros and cons. Everything felt quick, smooth, and snappy. I loved how many options there were for everything. It was another situation where I had options to do things that I never would have even known were possible, and I was thrilled. I liked dragging the notifications down from the top, and receiving them is unobtrusive like in webos. However, I often found myself trying to swipe things off to the right edge of the screen to delete them. My wife noticed and made fun of me for it. It was a little frustrating to have to click a hardware button and choose to delete something rather than just swipe it away.

    My biggest complaint was just in the lack of cards. I love my webos cards. Multi-tasking in android worked fine. But when I would open for example the web browser and two or three other apps at the same time, switching back and forth between them was tricky. If I have a text messaging app, then open the browser, then want to go back to my text messaging, do I really have to scroll back through my app list and click on the messaging app again? I understand issues like this may be noob and there is a simple solution. But the fact that I wasn't able to figure out how to easily switch between multiple open apps was troubling. Again, it was great that everything stayed open and kept my place in the app, but what could be easier than an up-swipe from the gesture area then a swipe to the left to go back to my previous app?

    Overall, I'm very impressed with android, but it's just not for me. I learned a lot, and it beat many of my expectations. If android ever adopted the advanced gestures and a semblance of card view from webos, then I'd have no problem switching. And before anyone says that that is possible, take into account that I'm a noob and don't want to have to root/jailbreak/hack/modify/anything-else my phone in order to get that functionality. I'm a default settings kind of guy. FYI, I do have Preware installed on my Pre and a few patches, but even that was pushing the limits of how much I wanted to modify my phone. Sorry if that makes anyone think less of me.

    If you made it this far, thanks for reading. I understand if this was tl;dr, but it was fun for me to type out my views on my first in-depth experience with a smartphone os besides webos.
    vza33, soccerbudd and Syndil like this.
  2. ijip's Avatar
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    #2  
    good read! Thanks man... With pre3 not coming to sprint many of us are on the same boat!
    Want to help design and write an app?
    follow me at Twiiter @ijip
    THANKS~!!
  3. #3  
    Thanks! Your review confirms why I still love my Pre- dispite it's shortcomings. My brother has a large screen Motorola android device. Everytime he fumbles around to do something like text me a contacts number I find myself saying to him "can't you just do this?" like just type and tap tap send. The answer is usually no, or this phone can't do that. It takes voice commands and such, but it can't duplicate the elegance and simplicity of webOS.
    "Patience, use the force, think." Obi-Wan


    Ready to try Preware? Get this first: Preware Homebrew Documentation
  4. #4  
    I have pre- and there's nothing elegant in it. Android is my next phone. Galaxy s 2
  5. #5  
    I honestly feel let down by hp. I wanted the pre 3 on sprint because of bigger screen and look, we are suffering :'(
  6. #6  
    I honestly feel let down by hp. I wanted the pre 3 on sprint because of bigger screen and look, we are suffering :'(
  7. Thead's Avatar
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       #7  
    I agree. It's sad to see how much android has advanced as a platform while webos hasn't done anything in so long it's hard to even hope they can become relevant again.

    The main thing that surprised me while doing this review is how many features and options android has. Even setting apps aside (and the huge volume of userful apps is a definite valid argument for android over webos) I'm continuously shocked by all of the built in functionality. Just going into the settings for the virtual keyboard gave a surprisingly large list of features to turn on and off.

    My conclusion though is I just don't like the UI. Android impressed me enough that if my Pre finally does kick the bucket one day soon, I won't be sad to have to make the jump to Android. But for what I use my phone for, cards and gestures are enough to keep me on webos and desperately hoping for new hardware to support it.
  8. #8  
    so you really think it's eorth it to make the switch? I noticed that the newer android phones you an even scan barcodes and it gives you information. Sounds too good to be true bot not sure if it is or not.

    how about hacking ur phone? I know you an root the phone but is it as easy as the preware and stuff like that?
  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by rigo0523 View Post
    so you really think it's eorth it to make the switch? I noticed that the newer android phones you an even scan barcodes and it gives you information. Sounds too good to be true bot not sure if it is or not.

    how about hacking ur phone? I know you an root the phone but is it as easy as the preware and stuff like that?
    As far as hacking and android phone. IT is most definitely not as easy as preware! Depending on the phone it can be a downright pain and there is usually some long involved writeup unless some makes a script. Even with a script someone who has no experience might get nervous.

    That being said I do love my EVO and I miss WebOS but I'm not sad I moved last year when I did especially now that there is most likely no new Sprint WebOS phone. I have rooted it and overclocekd and all that so those are options even if they are not as easy as using WebOS.
  10. #10  
    wow you rooted your evo, that is so cool. I was trying to root my gfs evo but I got stuck when the instructions wanted the z4root application but it wasn't available anymore in the android market. Any other alternative?
  11. #11  
    The Nexus S 4G is am unlocked developer phone. It is like a hot rod stipped down for speed. The first thing a developer will do is take out the enginer and put in their own (ROM).

    So the Nexus S is missing features that are standard in other Android phones.
    - No Facebook sync (no photos, no contacts, no status updates, no notifications)
    - No Speed Dial (standard on dumbphones since the 1990's)
    - No Smart Dial
    - No Notification LED
    - No Camera Zoom
    - No Email Search
    - No Contact Group Management
    - No FM Radio
    - No Visual Voicemail
    - No HDMI
    - No microSD
    - Limited video formats
    - Texts limited to 160 characters
    - Limited Browser Zoom

    Here are the Nexus S Facebook, LED, microSD, Email, Text, & Camera Workarounds. Other current flagship Androids have these standard features. See the Phone Comparison.

    For how to customize Cards, Multitasking, Just Type, Synergy, Notifications, etc. see the Palm webOS Homebrewer's Guide to Android. There are more resources in the Android Getting Started.
    Last edited by milominderbinder; 08/10/2011 at 08:28 PM.
  12. IBall's Avatar
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    #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by rigo0523 View Post
    I noticed that the newer android phones you an even scan barcodes and it gives you information. Sounds too good to be true bot not sure if it is or not
    Yes, there are apps on the android platform that allow users to scan barcodes for various reasons

    https://market.android.com/search?q=...er&so=1&c=apps
  13. #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by RBallard View Post
    Yes, there are apps on the android platform that allow users to scan barcodes for various reasons

    https://market.android.com/search?q=...er&so=1&c=apps
    Here are 150 favorite Applications.

    Barcode Scanner scans a barcode and then lets you automatically look up the item on Google Shopping, Amazon, etc. So if you are at Fry's or Best Buy, scan your items before you buy. You will save so much so often. Merchants have to just hate it.

    There are also barcodes on posters, displays, magazines, newspapers, at museums and exhibits, and just everywhere now. You can watch a video, see a webpage, or listen to a track.

    It takes about 4 seconds and is just amazing to watch. It is almost as amazing as Shazam listening to a song and telling you the title & artist, showing the YouTube Video, or downloading the MP3. The first time Instant Heart Rate tells you your pulse rate is just spooky.
    Last edited by milominderbinder; 08/10/2011 at 09:56 PM.
  14. #14  
    Guys.. if you wish to discuss the various Android apps, please feel free to do so on our sister-site: AndroidCental. These 'Other Handheld' forums are for the comparing/contrasting webOS devices to competing items. Thanks
  15. #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by HelloNNNewman View Post
    Guys.. if you wish to discuss the various Android apps, please feel free to do so on our sister-site: AndroidCental. These 'Other Handheld' forums are for the comparing/contrasting webOS devices to competing items. Thanks
    I would agree with this.

    To anyone thinking of switching to Android (or thinking of bagging on android with incorrect or outdated information) you really should head over to androidcentral and actually *see* what options are available.

    There’s a lot. Many more options than you can get with just one manufacturer.

    Personally, I have found that the differences between android (2.3.4 for me) and WebOS, have really come down to little more than, “Swipe here on WebOS instead of tap here on Android” but in other areas it is, “Tap here on WebOS but swipe here on Android.”

    “Just Type” works pretty much the same on the Droid3 as it does on my old pre+, except that it also offers the ability to say what you want it to look for (nice for popping up a quick google map of a destination while driving.)

    Notifications work similarly, except you swipe down at the top of the screen instead of tap at the bottom of the screen.

    Multitasking works pretty much the same way once you get past the discomfort of not actually “seeing” the animations that occur onscreen when switching between apps. (Email multitasking on WebOS does still have superior characteristics if you usually do a lot of switching between multiple open emails.) The differences are basically no more than a long press and another press to switch back to a previous app in android, as opposed to swiping up, then swiping over, then tapping on webos.

    If a person wants to just stay with WebOS that’s cool. But if you’re interested in the possibility of getting a different phone, or you feel you need to denigrate other offerings, you really should do yourself a favor and actually see what else is available. Even if you end up feeling that WebOS is still superior, at least you’ve educated yourself on it first.

    -Suntan
    NINnerd likes this.
  16. Thead's Avatar
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       #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by Suntan View Post
    Multitasking works pretty much the same way once you get past the discomfort of not actually “seeing” the animations that occur onscreen when switching between apps. (Email multitasking on WebOS does still have superior characteristics if you usually do a lot of switching between multiple open emails.) The differences are basically no more than a long press and another press to switch back to a previous app in android, as opposed to swiping up, then swiping over, then tapping on webos.-Suntan
    I agree with most of what you said. Just type is similar between the two, I had no problems at all with notifications, etc. And there are so many things that android does better than webos.

    I quoted you on the multitasking though b/c that's my biggest disappointment in android, but as I've admitted it's probably my own ignorance. On my Pre I might open email, text messaging, a web browser, twitter, and facebook all at the same time. Then I'll flip between them just on a whim of what I feel like looking at next. How do you do that on android? On the Pre it's as easy as going to cardview and just flicking a finger back and forth to see what all I have open then clicking on which one I want to see. If I've opened 5 or 6 apps on android and decide I want to switch to another one, what do I do besides go back to the launcher and click on that app again? (I understand I could go get these answers at androidcentral, but since I still use a Pre and am just curious about this after having played with my wife's Nexus S, I'm hoping I could be saved the trouble.)
  17. #17  
    Quote Originally Posted by Thead View Post
    ...On my Pre I might open email, text messaging, a web browser, twitter, and facebook all at the same time. Then I'll flip between them just on a whim of what I feel like looking at next. How do you do that on android?...
    That is in the Android Central Palm webOS Homebrewer's Guide to Android section under Cards.

    I go back and forth between an EVO and a Pre. It is like driving your own car and then driving another car. You customize out which cruise control, mirror and wiper controlers you want.
    Last edited by milominderbinder; 08/11/2011 at 02:22 PM.
  18. #18  
    I made the jump from Pre to Nexus S 4G also. One word for you, Home Key. Hold that little sucker down and you will see a pop-up with the latest 8 apps that you have used. That is the closest I can find in switching between apps on this phone.

    I sure wish Pre 3 would go to Sprint!!!!
  19. Thead's Avatar
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       #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by milominderbinder View Post
    That is in the Android Central Palm webOS Homebrewer's Guide to Android section under Cards.

    I go back and forth between an EVO and a Pre. It is like driving your own car and then driving another car. You customize out which cruise control, mirror and wiper controlers you want.
    Thanks for the link, but I wasn't necessarily specifically wanting cards on android, I was wondering what android's closest default equivalent was to switching between multiple open apps.

    Edit: And just in case I misunderstood what was in the link, for some reason my work will let me visit precentral but not androidcentral. I'll follow the link when I get home if it still answers my question.
    Last edited by Thead; 08/11/2011 at 02:55 PM.
  20. #20  
    Quote Originally Posted by Thead View Post
    Thanks for the link, but I wasn't necessarily specifically wanting cards on android, I was wondering what android's closest default equivalent was to switching between multiple open apps.

    Edit: And just in case I misunderstood what was in the link, for some reason my work will let me visit precentral but not androidcentral. I'll follow the link when I get home if it still answers my question.
    If you're looking to swipe your finger (or tap once somewhere) and get it to switch form app to app, I don't think you'll find that with android.

    -Suntan
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