webOS Productivity Advantages

This quick video from TechRepublic highlights just a few of the reasons why webOS is such a highly productive mobile operating system (at least compared to the iPhone and Android). Key takeaways include the following positives:

  1. The Calendar app is easy to use and includes most needed features (although some PalmOS and Windows Mobile users might disagree), and nicely displays complex information including items from many disparate calendars.
  2. WebOS syncs tasks with Exchange (although I personally think that the inability to sync tasks outside of Exchange mitigates this advantage). I would add that the Pre makes it very easy to connect with multiple Exchange accounts, and integrate them nicely with accounts from Yahoo! and Google as well.
  3. The Pre Plus provides that nifty mobile hotspot app for Verizon customers. It’s expensive, but for business use is a powerful feature for connecting small groups in ad hoc meetings anywhere that Verizon provides 3G coverage.
  4. The video touts WebOS’s intuitive interface, while implying that it’s harder to learn than the iPhone or Android. I don’t agree: when I first use the Pre, I found webOS roughly comparable to the iPhone in its learning curve, and from what I’ve seen of Android, webOS is much easier to learn. Indeed, I’ve not found “intuitive” and “Android” to fit nicely together in meaningful sentences.

Negatives outlined in the video include:

  1. Hardware build and design: my experience with my launch-day Pre has been entirely positive. Some issues do exist, however, such as the infamous “Oreo” affect where the slider components can be twisted a bit, and the USB port cover is something of a pain. Otherwise, though, I personally believe any hardware issues have been overblown. And I also disagree with the notion that the design is flawed because the screen and keyboard are “too small”–that might be true for some people, but I love the Pre’s small, pocketable size, which would be impossible with a different design.
  2. The video mentions that webOS needs more applications, and this really can’t be argued. How many more are necessary to make the platform viable is debatable, and it’s not likely a matter of quantity but quality. webOS has a number of nice applications available, but is still lacking some important productivity and utility apps such as Docs to Go and Shazam, that are limited either by the current SDK or the sheer number of units sold. Only time will tell if this objection remains true.
  3. The sluggishness of webOS is another legitimate complaint, although as a version 1.3.5.1 device (still waiting for webOS 1.4 to see if this is fixed) performance is probably as good as can be expected. Android and the iPhone OS have had twice as long, or longer, to optimize performance, and some Android devices still perform worse than the Pre. Nevertheless, Palm needs to accelerate the optimization of webOS, and soon.

The video also highlights the fact that the Pre Plus (and by extension the Pixi) are on the Verizon network. For Verizon customers, and for those considering a switch, this is definitely an advantage. It’s also an advantage for Sprint customers like myself: the more webOS devices sold, the more apps developed and the more money Palm has to further improve the platform.

I don’t agree with everything TechRepublic has to say about webOS and the Pre Plus, but the video makes some important points and is well worth watching.

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