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So I jumped ship... so far.... AKA webOS vs Icecream Sandwich
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Old 06/20/2012, 08:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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After much discussion at http://forums.webosnation.com/webos-...jump-ship.html I grabbed myself a Galaxy Nexus yesterday. I really couldn't put up with the pre3 cuts out and reboots randomly or risking same whenever I needed to switch onto 3G. However it's not exactly a permanent switch - it only ended up costing me $AU240 by getting in on my plan so figured I'd get it as a trial and sell it if I didn't like it. I tend to do that with most of my phones.

When I first started that thread I did so asking advice on other OSes with similar features to webOS. Having had minimal answers that have helped in that direction (all thanks due to those who responded nonetheless), my own experiences may now help someone else in a similar position to me:

ICE-CREAM SANDWICH

ICS is the most webOS-ey OS out there so far so if you want to switch it at least gives you some familiarity. The Galaxy Nexus itself worked for me (rather than the S2 or S3) because the back button is on the left (unlike the right - why...?) and the right button brings up a vertical version of cards view (task manager) which lets you swipe away apps to close them. Also you swipe down from the top to bring down a curtain-like list of notifications, where you can also access settings.


PHYSICAL VS VIRTUAL KEYBOARD

Losing a physical keyboard has always been a deal-breaker for me so trying out the virtual ones was high on my lis. The Nexus' keyboard seemed easier to type on for me than any of the others I tried, including S2, S3, HTC One X, Sony Xperia S. I can't exactly say why, but my test sentence 'the cat sat on the mat' consistenty gave more accurate results on the Nexus than the others. In daily use, auto-correct / auto-complete does help you on some of the longer words rather than having to type the whole thing. Nonetheless, going back to the Pre 3 is comforting and it's still a lot easier for me to type than on the Nexus.

One little-mentioned drawback of a virtual keyboard (at least the stock ones) is the lack of instant access to a numerical keyboard. I didn't realise how useful the numerical keypad on the Pre 3 (via the option key) is until I had to set up all my email accounts on the Nexus. It's definitely significantly slower having to type the letters, then press the 123 button to switch to numbers, then press the number, then press the 123 button again (which has turned into ABC) to switch to letters, then press the next letter and sometimes switch back. I hardly skip a beat doing this on the Pre 3. All that said, portrait sliders (incredibly to me) seem about as popular as raincoats in summer so with the Pre form factor more than likely never to be made again this hurdle will have to be dealt with under Open webOS anyway.


SIZE

Why are all the latest phones so big these days? Well surprisingly I've gotten used to it pretty quickly. It's very skinny, almost wafer-like in some ways, and nice and light, but I personally don't mind the more substantial feel of the Pre 3 in my hand. My advice to anyone baulking at this would be to keep playing with these phones in stores and you'll probably find what I did. The Pre 3 is still a better fit in my hand but I could live with the Nexus.


RINGER SWITCH

...or lack thereof, is silly. I thought I would hate this; so far I've not been to work or into meetings but nothing is going to beat flicking a single switch.


APPS

Privacy:

Until you use Android you probably don't realise quite how much of your life you hand over. Either that or webOS does the same but just doesn't tell you, but I doubt it. So let me give you one example... I was looking for Shrek Kart, couldn't find it, but happened to open Shrek Enjoying Go Locker instead and clicked the download button. The next screen is a Permissions screen, which informed me that this game / app / whatever wants to:
* Storage - modify/delete USB storage contents
* Your location - coarse (network-based) and fine (GPS-based). A note helpfully advises that malicious applications may use this to determine where you are. I asked myself why else would an app need GPS data?
* Phone calls - access phone features of the device inc the number and serial number of this phone, the number I'm connected to and 'the like'.
* Full internet access - create network sockets
* Your personal information - read all the URLS the browser has visited and all bookmarks; all contact data on the phone; modify browser's history or bookmarks

You serious?? I don't know about you but I somewhat object to a simple app wanting to know all that information about me, consequently I haven't installed some of the apps I may otherwise have installed. I guess those descriptions are generic and it's fair enough that the app does some of those things - USB drive, OK that's probably saving and deleting game progress which most webOS games do too and I don't think anyone would object (which is why I said maybe webOS does some of this anyway without saying), but within the description they gave it could well be doing a whole lot more than just that which is where I started getting concerned.

Number of apps:

Yes there are plenty. There are some webOS doesn't have. But there are also often numerous apps that do very similar things. I guess ultimately this is a good thing so hopefully you find one that does exactly what you want, but it also makes it a bit laborious to (say) just go and grab a battery widget and find there are 15 of them to choose from and then have to work out the difference, how much of your life they each want to know, read reviews etc, before having the basic functionality you want.

Advertising:

This may come as a rude shock to those accustomed to the polite ways of webOS, though on reflection coming from Google this is hardly a surprise. Angry Birds, fantastic, here we go. Suddenly I find it had banner ads inviting me to join dating sites?!?? OK there's the little X button, I'll close that, oh all that does is give me the option to buy the game. Hmm, I'm a bit less than impressed. Personally I'd rather have a few levels than the full version with ads sliding in at random (and slowing down gameplay at the same time). Especially when I often let the kids have a blast on some of these suddenly-not-so innocent games. Again some may feel differently about this but these were certainly my feelings.



MISCELLANEOUS

It's clear than 12 months is a long time in the smartphone world.

The camera beats the pants off the Pre 3, even though the Pre's camera is adequate in itself. Nexus' can zoom (digitally admittedly) even in video recording, and when taken pinch to zoom allows a higher level of zoom than the Pre 3. And the quality is a clear improvement. Again the Pre 3 isn't inadequate in itself, but the Nexus' is a lot better.

It's nice having native Dropbox, Twitter, Facebook, speedtest and so on.

Widgets (and to a lesser degree live wallpapers) are two things I hope make it into Open webOS. Widgets make the home screen (or the wallpaper with no cards open) enormously useful rather than just pretty. I unlock the phone and without having to do anything I can see my current data usage, battery status, twitter posts or whatever I choose to stick on there. Not too sure exactly how this would work with cards view - perhaps cards view could be hidden by default and shown with a swipe up, and then swiping a second time (in cards view) would open the app launcher. Or maybe swiping down would work for one of these.

Synergy still works far better for me than whatever ICS uses, I still haven't quite worked it out. I know I can set up an email account; but if that supports calendar I don't get the option to add the Calendar service. Notably, Yahoo calendar isn't an option out of the box, hardly surprising that Google only give you the option of a Google or Exchange account (I bet they were reluctant even to include that!). No doubt there's an app to allow that but webOS works out of the box.

I like the fact the Nexus can easily be modified to work on a touchstone. I've not done this yet but certainly will if I decide to keep the phone.

Google Maps app load is real quick on the Nexus GPS lock is a heap quicker on the Nexus than the Pre 3 on either Google or Bing. The GPS radio seems more powerful as the Nexus locks on indoors more easily than the Pre 3. Panning and moving around also beats the pants off the Pre 3. Again, not overly surprising given the Nexus is a Google phone but I expect most phones will perform more snappily than hardware from 12 months earlier. In summary on this, the Nexus can pretty safely be used as a GPS and it'll give you the info you need quickly, whereas I've never had the confidence with the maps apps on the Pre 3 to use them in traffic.

General performance - the Nexus doesn't tend to have the lag that the Pre 3 does. However, and I think this is important, the slickness of webOS means you don't *generally* have to go through as many steps to accomplish a single task so you may not end up losing any time overall. This bodes really well for a snappier version of webOS once it's opened, plus if / when it's loaded onto a current generation set of hardware. The Nexus crashed once when trying to set a live wallpaper and had to have a battery pull, but that's it. Though I don't think the Pre's done that very often either.


CONCLUSION

It remains to be seen whether I stick with this or not. ICS has taken a different path to webOS, and with different outcomes. The Nexus is at least a stable device, and one that performs the tasks it's designed to predictably.

However it's clear to me that the gesture-based navigation of webOS makes it a very efficient way to do things. That ICS in 2012 still can't match in this regard what webOS was in 2009 shows both how far ahead of its time webOS was, and that if / when it makes a comeback it's not as far behind the game as one would think on paper. Time alone will tell which device I stick with in the short term, but one thing's clear; if webOS makes it onto modern hardware in the next 12-18 months it'll still have something to offer.

Greg
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Old 06/20/2012, 08:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
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vertising:

"This may come as a rude shock to those accustomed to the polite ways of webOS, though on reflection coming from Google this is hardly a surprise. Angry Birds, fantastic, here we go. Suddenly I find it had banner ads inviting me to join dating sites?!?? OK there's the little X button, I'll close that, oh all that does is give me the option to buy the game. Hmm, I'm a bit less than impressed. Personally I'd rather have a few levels than the full version with ads sliding in at random (and slowing down gameplay at the same time). Especially when I often let the kids have a blast on some of these suddenly-not-so innocent games. Again some may feel differently about this but these were certainly my feelings."

Not only all the advertising but all the tracking on Android.


" but one thing's clear; if webOS makes it onto modern hardware in the next 12-18 months it'll still have something to offer."

Agreed. Also Pre2 and Veer fine for me as modern hardware right now.
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Old 06/20/2012, 10:55 AM   #3 (permalink)
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SIZE

Why are all the latest phones so big these days? Well surprisingly I've gotten used to it pretty quickly. It's very skinny, almost wafer-like in some ways, and nice and light, but I personally don't mind the more substantial feel of the Pre 3 in my hand. My advice to anyone baulking at this would be to keep playing with these phones in stores and you'll probably find what I did. The Pre 3 is still a better fit in my hand but I could live with the Nexus.
Nice observations. I also found the size acceptable and nice for surfing the web and using maps... until I had to make a call and hold it against my ear. That was painful holding something so wide and thin against my ear, with the edges so thin it's hard to hold on to, while it's too big to not clinch on to those wide edges.

So, back to my Palm Pre
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Old 06/20/2012, 11:14 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by bluenote View Post
vertising:

"This may come as a rude shock to those accustomed to the polite ways of webOS, though on reflection coming from Google this is hardly a surprise. Angry Birds, fantastic, here we go. Suddenly I find it had banner ads inviting me to join dating sites?!?? OK there's the little X button, I'll close that, oh all that does is give me the option to buy the game. Hmm, I'm a bit less than impressed. Personally I'd rather have a few levels than the full version with ads sliding in at random (and slowing down gameplay at the same time). Especially when I often let the kids have a blast on some of these suddenly-not-so innocent games. Again some may feel differently about this but these were certainly my feelings."

Not only all the advertising but all the tracking on Android.


" but one thing's clear; if webOS makes it onto modern hardware in the next 12-18 months it'll still have something to offer."

Agreed. Also Pre2 and Veer fine for me as modern hardware right now.
on my rarely unused 7" ics tablet i installed AdAway, this seemed to eliminate many ingame ads, its just the first i came accross that seemed reasonable with the fewest intrusive permissions, might be far better i dunno.

ads tho overall, ugh, those and insane permissions make me recoil away from many android apps/addons even tho somd look quite handy at first glance.
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Old 06/20/2012, 12:02 PM   #5 (permalink)
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re: ads - I assume Android has a hosts file? Just put the usual suspects there and that's that.

Great post gregp!
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Old 06/20/2012, 12:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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re: ads - I assume Android has a hosts file? Just put the usual suspects there and that's that.

Great post gregp!
think they need to have a rooted device, most apps i saw had that requirement, i only know a handful of people that dont root their phones just incase they break and it affects their contract.
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Old 06/20/2012, 01:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Old 06/20/2012, 02:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for the review - I have been very reluctantly checking out the Galaxy S3. I even bought a Pre3 and have been running it on Straight Talk, but no GPS maps (turn by turn voice) is a deal-breaker for me. I still have my Touchpad, but I may be going Android.

(I just don't want to! Palm, please come back!)
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Old 06/20/2012, 02:24 PM   #9 (permalink)
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RINGER SWITCH

...or lack thereof, is silly. I thought I would hate this; so far I've not been to work or into meetings but nothing is going to beat flicking a single switch.
This one still amazes me. I just don't understand the reasoning or excuse for eliminating what has been a standard smartphone feature for over a decade (long before Android and iOS).
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Old 06/20/2012, 03:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
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This one still amazes me. I just don't understand the reasoning or excuse for eliminating what has been a standard smartphone feature for over a decade (long before Android and iOS).
additional hardware comes additional costs.

Weigh out if its worth the cost or not. I like it too, but i can live just fine without it. Possibly because my ringer is almost never on.
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Old 06/20/2012, 04:19 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Just a couple of helpful hints... On most Android keyboards, you can just long-hold the button to switch functions. (If there's a number or symbol in the corner of the letter key, hold down the key until it switches to the number.) Also, there are many, many free widgits you can download that will toggle vibrate or silence just like a ringer switch. As for ads, those are mostly on the free versions of paid apps. You're getting the app for free; If you don't want to see ads, buy the paid version.
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Old 06/20/2012, 04:24 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Pretty good read, thanks for taking the time.

One question: Similar to how you pine for ringer switch, I need my phone to be able to delete a whole word like webos does and its always the first thing I look for. Is this possible with ICS?
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Old 06/20/2012, 04:32 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Thanks for the review - I have been very reluctantly checking out the Galaxy S3. I even bought a Pre3 and have been running it on Straight Talk, but no GPS maps (turn by turn voice) is a deal-breaker for me. I still have my Touchpad, but I may be going Android.

(I just don't want to! Palm, please come back!)

ndrive beta 6 was still available when I checked yesterday from uberapp catalog it works great on my pre3
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Old 06/20/2012, 06:20 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Nice observations. I also found the size acceptable and nice for surfing the web and using maps... until I had to make a call and hold it against my ear. That was painful holding something so wide and thin against my ear, with the edges so thin it's hard to hold on to, while it's too big to not clinch on to those wide edges.

So, back to my Palm Pre
I agree, its the width of modern phones that turn me off. My friend's evo just feels so ackward to use as a phone. Don't think I could do it, but maybe I would get used to it
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Old 06/20/2012, 06:31 PM   #15 (permalink)
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After all this time I just realized that while composing text in webos, double tap on a word highlights it
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Old 06/21/2012, 07:23 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Pretty good read, thanks for taking the time.

One question: Similar to how you pine for ringer switch, I need my phone to be able to delete a whole word like webos does and its always the first thing I look for. Is this possible with ICS?
Yep if you click on a word to get the insertion point on it then click and hold it highlights the word.

Have found the vietual keyboard in lanscape is pretty good, certainky better than in portrait and way better than a physical landscape keyboard. As someone else mentioned, with a virtual.keyboard theres no push you have to do to qctivaete the key, just touch the apot on the screen so iys quite quick. This post is being types in landscape and on this foeum there is no autocorrect. I didnt go back and change any misstrokez.i saw so youncan see how accurate it is and its about as quick.as the Pre 3 thoguh you have to have it on your lap which isnt always convenient. I. A normal app with apell correction i recko..all of these would havr been fixed on the fly.

I would concur about the thinness of the device, nexus is so thin its actually sometinez a bit hard to pick up- have to use your finger tips.like pincers a littlw bit. Pre is so much easier i. This regard.

Greg
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Old 06/21/2012, 10:04 AM   #17 (permalink)
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One thing that really bothered me when i moved over to the nexus s, is that there isn't a notification led. so you have to power on the phone to check to see if you missed a call or text.
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Old 06/21/2012, 03:43 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Hi Greg,

That's not what I was asking about the keyboard. What I meant was does ICS have have the equivalent of up arrow+backspace in webos or control+backspace on a windows pc . Because many times I find it easier to just delete the word and retype. Thanks
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Old 06/25/2012, 11:57 AM   #19 (permalink)
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To remove the google ads. Use Lucky Patcher. Great little app to take away all of the ads. Now you have good free app!
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Old 06/26/2012, 07:51 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Hi Greg,

That's not what I was asking about the keyboard. What I meant was does ICS have have the equivalent of up arrow+backspace in webos or control+backspace on a windows pc . Because many times I find it easier to just delete the word and retype. Thanks
Tried shift+delete and it doesn't make any difference. No other options I could see so I would tentatively suggest it doesn't.

@theinnkeeper: Galaxy Nexus has a notification LED. Not as good as the Pre 3's IMHO, it's a round LED in the same position but is a combination of several different colours so you have white mainly but with a few other colours around the edges.


Used the Nexus most of this week, switched back to the Pre 3 for a bit today, then back to the Nexus. In a nutshell, I prefer webOS as an operating system and certain elements of the design of the Pre 3; but the overall solution the Galaxy Nexus provides is superior. Again this is hardly surprising as it's newer hardware and a newer OS too.

The first thing has been that being on holiday this week I've made good use of the navigation app rather than just a map and then having to play Russian Roulette with 3G on the Pre 3. Back on the Pre 3 today it was just so slow to load maps (Google and Bing) even on 3G, even though both phones perform similarly on speedtest.net. Obviously no navigation software on webOS, normally this wouldn't matter but in unfamiliar territory it's great and it's usable while in transit, unlike webOS which I've found too slow. ICS still feels harder to get around in than webOS which is why I say I prefer webOS as an operating system. The swipe up to get into cards view feels so natural and the task manager switcher on the Nexus is similar but not as good for some reason, maybe I'll get used to it. Battery life was surprisingly similar to the Pre 3, I've charged it every day though admittedly some of those days have had the GPS running with voice navigation and it gets quite hot doing that. ICS, at least on the Nexus, also has other nice features that are part and parcel of an up-to-date OS. Apps, plenty's been said, hopefully when webOS gets back into mainstream there'll be more webOS apps.

webOS needs more work to pick up some of the features I mentioned earlier, and to improve its general performance (unless this is merely a hardware issue). Apps need to open consistently at the same speed, preferably quickly, unlike Bing that sometimes loads in 5 seconds and sometimes 60.

I can't believe on ICS there's no Yahoo calendar capability! Synergy is so much better than ICS in terms of pulling account features together. The screen on the Nexus is way sharper but the Pre 3 is still fine. And it's definitely more useable as a phone than the Nexus which as has been mentioned is quite big. For web browsing the big screen is good but I prefer the feel of the Pre 3 in the hand and in use.

I'll keep switching between them a bit longer and particularly when I get back from holiday and see how I go but my gut feeling now is that I'll probably end up sticking with the Nexus until webOS comes out on an up-to-date device and switch back then. Any decision will be one to accept a set of disadvantages and I think things like slow network speed to avoid a crashing device, unreliable launch times and performance, and minimal support / care from HP are worse than the keyboard, ad-ware and sans-ringer switch and Yahoo calendar. But time will tell, I may yet switch back!
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