Tag Archive | webos

Goodbye WebOS

Six months, thats how long it been since this post on WebOS Connect event in London.

A lot has happened, since then

From Palm being sold to HP, WebOS GBU being spun off – then not, webOS ‘enterprise development environment’   to Leo Apotheker commiting seppuku, to Amazon being rumoured to be the next owner of Palm.

All the while I’ve had a webOS phone in my hand, sadly today I can no longer say that. I’ve made the change from webOS to Android, specifically from a Pre 2 to a Sony Xperia Play.

And its not for the reasons you might think.

In general I don’t need that many apps, in fact my core ‘must have’ number just four:

  • Twitter
  • Web browsing
  • Email
  • Kindle

The sad thing is that the last one isn’t available on webOS phones just yet, although with all devices now supporting Enyo there must be a way to hack it on to the device….

Regardless, the reason I am leaving webOS a smartphone platform for the second time is that oh so familiar feeling of being adrift I had it in late 2009-early 2010 with my original Pre and once again I feel its time to cash out and go exploring elsewhere.

Now I still have my touchpad, as it was such a bargain and I do still hope (perhaps foolishly) that webOS can yet again rise from the ashes but for now I’m off to see if Android is a worthy replacement.

Android on TouchPad

As the internet reported earlier, the first official Alpha of the port of Android for the TouchPad has been released:

Now, its an alpha release (if you don’t know what that means definitely don’t install it) so not everything is working 100% but its a good start, so if you’re brave check it out

Touchpad UK Kindle App, take 2

Sadly since I posted a work around to get the kindle app installed on a UK Touchpad the loophole has been patched, curses! 

However some lovely person has made the app available


After downloading the above file, All you need to do is open up WebOS quick install with your TouchPad plugged in (if you havent got WebOS quick install setup follow points 2-4 on this post).

Then click the big + button, find the .ipk, click ok and then click install.

You now have installed the app on your new UK Touchpad!

Getting Started with your TouchPad – Overclocking

Who likes getting more for free? I know I do! In my earlier post I mentioned the awesome homebrew community that WebOS has. They are a dedicated and smart bunch of people.

And because of these people, we can overclock our TouchPads to 1.5 ghz and beyond!

Now be aware that overclocking your touchpad is potientially dangerous and could destroy it, it also violates the warranty.

Disclaimer over with, lets start tinkering!

If you haven’t got WebOS quick install up or Preware installed on your TouchPad follow these steps:

  1. Grab a copy of WebOS Quick install from here
  2. Enable dev mode on your touchpad by going to the ‘Just Type’ Search bar and typing in this: upupdowndownleftrightleftrightbastart
  3. Launch WebOS Quick Install and make sure you install the ‘novacom’ drivers (this lets quickinstall talk to your TouchPad)
  4. In the bottom right corner of WebOS Quick Install you will see an icon with two arrows going round in a circle, click it!
  5. In the window that pops up click the searchbox and search for preware once you have found it, click install

Preware is the centre of all things homebrew and doesn’t require you to connect your TouchPad to a machine like WebOS Quick Install does.

Now that Preware is installed, find it and launch it! Once its up and running, search for governah and install it. Governah is the app that allow you to overclock and/or adjust your cpu settings. The final step is to download a modified kernel, open up preware and search for uberkernel and click install.

Once the install has finished you maybe asked to restart your TouchPad, this is normal and required for the new kernel to take effect.

After your TouchPad has restarted, you need to launch Governah which will allow you to overclock the CPU! Governah supports profiles so you can adjust the speed of the CPU to suit for example you can have it so if the screen is off the CPU can be scaled back to less than 300mhz to save power, but if the screen is switched on it can ramp up to 1.5ghz.

I recommend playing around to find your optimal configuration, if you at any point want to go back to the stock kernel, simply remove the Uberkernel using preware.

Getting started with your TouchPad – Hello WebOS!

Congratulations, you’ve bested hordes of other people and managed to grab a decent tablet for $99/£89!

Now what?

Well its time to get introduced to WebOS, a different kind of mobile operating system. Different because, like you it can do more than one thing at a time.

What does that mean in reality? A simple example would is having a streaming music site like grooveshark or Turntable FM running in a browser and than launching a twitter App. In other tablet platforms, the music would stop as you had ‘switched tasks’, in WebOS the music will keep on playing.

What that means is that WebOS is more flexible as it allows you to do many things at the same time.

Opening, Browsing and closing apps

To run an App, bring up the launcher by clicking the launcher and touch the app you want to launch.

Managing currently running apps couldn’t be simpler simply swipe up from the bottom of the screen or push the button. This will bring you to the ‘card view’ which will enable you to swipe through your running apps, to select and fullscreen an app, just touch it.

If you want to kill an app just bring up the card view and swipe up, simple and effective!


These are short messages that tell you that something has happened, be it a chat message, email or a reminder that an app update is available. Unlike other systems, WebOS features non intrusive notifcations that wont interrupt what you are doing. In the top right hand corner is the notification area, this will contain any and all messages.

A notification will typically tell you what app it is from and contain a small message, to read a notification, simply touch it and to launch the app touch the notification again. Another helpful hint, if you have multiple notifications, for example multiple emails you can swipe through each email notification meaning that you can stay on top of your inbox.

Installing Apps

If you have used any other mobile app store, this is much the same except the App store is called the App catalog. It does have one small difference, you can install multiple apps at the same time! Just click on each install button and away you go!


Keeping track of information is hard, in the real world I keep related items together, technology however seems to think that keeping related stuff sepearate is the way to go. Which is why Stacks is so refreshing, if you click a weblink in an email, it launches the web browser (so far so normal) but instead of containing the page within an app (ala iOS) it ‘stacks’ it on top of the email you are reading meaning that you dont lose track of it!

Just Type

See that search bar at the top of the screen, if you touch it you can do the usual things of searching for emails, sites etc But you can also add other search engines, like wikipedia! If a website has a compatible search function, a small notification will pop up and you will be able to add it to Just Type. Another feature is quick actions, you can write emails, facebook and twitter status right from the Just Type bar, simply start writing and then click the appropriate app! Its a real time saver.

These are just some of the great features available in WebOS.

Getting Started with your TouchPad – UK Kindle App

 If you’re like me, you have just down laid down $99/£89 for a 16GB HP TouchPad, Now its a nice bit of kit for the price, just check out the specs of the nearest competition. Yes I know its an unfair comparison but hey, we WebOS fans need to find that silver lining somewhere right?

 So a lot of you may be coming to WebOS for the first time, so welcome! But for you to get the best out of the device, I’m creating a series of posts entitled  ‘Getting Started with your TouchPad’.

 Now, at time of writing the UK app catalog still doesn’t have a Kindle app but the USA does fortunately!  So the question is how do we get this killer app on to our UK TouchPads? This is where the beauty of the homebrew community comes in!

  1. First grab the kindle app http://www.megaupload.com/?d=6W2L9R12
  2. Next you need to grab a copy of WebOS Quick install from here
  3. Enable dev mode on your touchpad by going to the ‘Just Type’ Search bar and typing in this: upupdowndownleftrightleftrightbastart 
  4.  Launch WebOS Quick Install and make sure you install the ‘novacom’ drivers (this lets quickinstall talk to your TouchPad
  5. Click the + button and navigate to where you downloaded the kindle app, select and click ok
  6. Click install!
You now have kindle! On your TouchPad!

Price, a new USP for WebOS

I think we are beginning to see the benefits of the HP takeover of Palm.

The launch of the Touchpad, was a tad lacklustre to say the least. Laggy software, the now infamous ‘soft’ launch, indifferent reviews and the sad (and unfair) fact that it wasn’t iPad damaged the reputation of the Touchpad in the important first month.

Palm had a history of annoying its early adopters, for example launching the Pre + not long after the Pre and it seems that this has carried over to the new GBU within HP. This weekend was a Touchpad firesale, in selected stores across America you could get a 16gb TouchPad for as little as $299 (£182!). Had I invested £399 ($652) in a 16gb TouchPad at launch,  I would be more than annoyed.

However, this isn’t a post deriding HP for annoying early adopters in the aim trying to stimulate sales, far from it.

I think its the only way for the TouchPad to succeed.

Finding a new USP:

It had probably calculated that the die hard early adopters could be counted on to line up on day one, however the platform cannot succeed on early adopter sales alone. It also knew that to succeed in this highly competitive market (then again thinking about, its not really all that competitive with Apple having 61% of the market), where every other tablet manufacturer are fighting over the 30% it needed to change the narrative.

I have spoken before about how HP couldnt fight Apple on the same level and win, it needed a hook a USP all of its own. Being not Apple wasn’t good enough, iOS 5 takes a lot of good features from Webos such as notifications, cable-less syncing, cloud storage and if rumors are true even inductive charging.

In short, WebOS has lost the features that separated it from the pack, before the consumer was even aware that it had them.

A product in an market with a defacto leader has a few options to distinguish itself:

Quality, features or price.

It was always going to be difficult to compete on quality as Apple has the lead on unibody construction (although the TouchPad isn’t too far from it), the strengths of WebOS such as Just Type and true multitasking come through use not in 30 second commercial so make it a difficult pitch.

Which leaves price.

HP knows how to do one thing well and that’s drive hardware sales, after all until recently it was the worlds leading PC manufacturer. It does this through competitive pricing which becomes the start point for deep discounting and that’s exactly what it has done with the TouchPad.

Pricing conundrum:

Pricing against iPad is a double edged sword, too high (ala Xoom) and you alienate your audience (“Why should I get that when the iPad is X?”), but launching at the same pricepoint is also difficult (“Why should I buy X, when the iPad is the same price?”).

There are many Android tablets that are cheaper than the iPad, but to get to that price point they have sacrificed many important features that negatively effect the user experience that make it difficult justify the purchase (“X is cheap, but it really looks it”). There are however, very few (if any) tablets that offer a decent operating system, sufficient specifications to run it smoothly (well after the 3.0.2 update anyhow) that also feel good in the hand and are cheaper than the iPad.

If the TouchPad was available in the UK for £250-300 it would fly off the shelves, which is why (if Twitter is anything to go buy) the TouchPad has been selling pretty well over in the land of the free this weekend.

It a dangerous game, but price is the only USP that HP can use to turn heads, once they have the unit in there hands the thought becomes: “It’s well built, it looks good, ok it isnt an iPad but it is a hell of a lot cheaper”.

In these hard times, price is everything but its also nice to get a great product too.