[kwlug-disc] Palm replacement? Android pad?

Chris Irwin chris at chrisirwin.ca
Wed Feb 16 14:05:56 EST 2011

On Wed, Feb 16, 2011 at 11:07,  <unsolicited at swiz.ca> wrote:
> On Wed, 16 Feb 2011 09:46:43 -0500, Chris Irwin <chris at chrisirwin.ca>
> Palm 'had' it, you mean?

I'm happier with WebOS than I was with PalmOS. Less fuss.

The crappiest part of the WebOS "ecosystem" is the hardware. Android
has the advantage of dozens of manufacturers making different devices
so you can find one that meets your requirements (size, power,
keyboard...). Palm was just the Pre and Pixi, both phones. Soon, it
will be the Pre3 and Veer (both phones) and the Touchpad (big tablet).
Want a small tablet? Too bad. :(

> Never made the transition to WebOS - nothing I've seen makes me want to.
> Not when it's incompatible with everything prior written for the Palms
> (without going into the goofiness of simulators or such).

*Everything* is also incompatible with everything prior written for
the Palms, so WebOS is no more ahead or behind the curve there.

> It seems to me WebOS moved the data to the cloud. My data is my data - it
> has no business being anywhere other than on my PDA, and backed up to the
> PC, with PC equivalent apps. It certainly doesn't belong on (in?) the
> cloud.

WebOS can use data that you have in the cloud -- [Calendars, contacts,
email, etc] from [Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Exchange, IMAP/POP]. You
can also just use a local on-device calendar & contacts. There is no
functional difference between using local and "cloud" sources. Compare
with Android which also wants a Google account and doesn't even seem
to have any local calendar or contact list at all without third party

Palm has an encrypted cloud-based backup that would back up your local
calendar, contacts, etc. If you get a new device, enter your
credentials and that local stuff comes back. Again, you don't have to
use it, you can do your own backups[1].

1. http://www.precentral.net/webos-backup-utility-works

I think Blackberry are the only ones still with PC Link software in
the form of the Blackberry Desktop connector. I don't think anyone
else has an equivalent to what Palm Desktop was, though there is
software[2] you can get to sync WebOS with the old Palm Desktop[3,4],
Outlook[4,5], etc. From what I see, a lot of this third party software
overlaps android & webos.

2. http://www.palm.com/us/products/software/sync.html
3. http://www.chapura.com/echo.php
4. http://www.companionlink.com/palm/
5. http://www.markspace.com/products/pre/windows-features.html

> So, would you give up your Vx for your Pre?

Yes. The only thing I miss from the Vx is the one-week in-use battery
life. Funny enough, it was also the only device that didn't need it:
Since it was wired-sync only and I had to dock it frequently and
manually start a sync. I also had to do this at my desk (where I spend
less time since getting a laptop). Wireless sync is a step up (I
suppose bluetooth) as I could sync by proximity rather than by wire,
but the Vx specifically didn't have that.

Versus "the cloud", where I've always up-to-date data (email,
calendar, etc) on multiple devices (laptop, pre, NookColor), all
sync'd automatically with no special tweaks or button pushing. I also
have a live copy of my significant-other's calendar (and she has
mine). I couldn't do that with the Vx.

Also note that I also back everything up locally (offlineimap,
goobook, googlecl) since I trust me more than anybody else. But the
convenience of "the cloud" is nice.

> I just wish they would downsize from the PC, e.g. Evolution / Korganizer /
> PALM DESKTOP!, where the richness of content, functionality, and
> interoperability, exists, even if only to a different, 100% compatible, PDA
> app, rather than try to upsize web apps that were limited by the state of
> HTML at the time of their creation. We seem to be going backwards.

I'm not sure what you mean by upsized webapps. Google Calendar and
Contacts as webapps might not be great, but using them as a sync point
for apps that actually do integration is fine. You'll come across
crappy "webapp" third-party apps in both android and webos but the
tools are not the problem.

> The closest thing I've seen these days is Pimlical, and even then it's not
> quire 'real', yet, as far as I know - http://www.pimlicosoftware.com/. As
> far as I know, it too uses Google, but surrounds everything with additional
> code/apis to add in the necessary data structures and code to approximate
> the richness of the functionality of the old apps.

I don't use PIM software like this anymore, the screenshots reminded
me why. From reading the feature list, the only thing I've lost is the
ability to link some things, like memos to contacts, which I can live
without. I can see why some would like those features though.

I'd rather be able to try out a new task or calendar app that can do
something new without having to also change my contacts app. Best of
breed per app, if you will. With a full PIM suite you have to find one
that also does *everything* -- Just want to notes with WikiWords? You
have have to find one that also does calendar & contacts (and does
them at least as well as what you have now).

I suppose it depends what you're after (I think we might be after
different things).

> The loss of sync'ing, such as it was, from KDE 3 to 4, is
> disheartening. Supposedly being worked on, but 'not here now'. And if
> you're using the pim, 'not here now' is just not acceptable. So, I'm in the
> 'hurry up and wait', stage.

I gave up on desktop-to-device sync. It was *always* behind the curve
-- only supported a few desktop programs, only supported a few
handhelds, multi-way sync was too complicated. It was good once you
got a winning combo, but suddenly you're stuck with what you had and
changing out a single thing (pda, sync software, pim software) was a
big risk (if it didn't completely wreck your ability to sync).

My opinion (somebody asked, right? right?) is that WebOS is a better
OS than android (We haven't even covered multitasking, etc). However,
android does have better hardware available, and a much, much larger
variety of it.

Chris Irwin
<chris at chrisirwin.ca>

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