Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 28th Feb 2010 22:02 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless The sky might be dark over Sunnyvale, but that obviously doesn't stop Palm from updating its webOS. The highly anticipated version 1.4 of the young mobile platform has been released over the weekend, and it includes an impressive array of new features, improvements, and bug fixes.
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Comment by _txf_
by _txf_ on Sun 28th Feb 2010 22:45 UTC
_txf_
Member since:
2008-03-17

"The update has already hit pretty much every carrier"

When I read that, mentally it feels to me that it is more than just two (and more than one country).

Maybe it is just my wishful thinking...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by _txf_
by AdamW on Mon 1st Mar 2010 08:08 UTC in reply to "Comment by _txf_"
AdamW Member since:
2005-07-06

Bell sells the Pre in Canada.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by _txf_
by ChrisIrwin on Mon 1st Mar 2010 15:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by _txf_"
ChrisIrwin Member since:
2008-12-09

We (or at least I) don't have the update yet though.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by buff
by buff on Sun 28th Feb 2010 23:09 UTC
buff
Member since:
2005-11-12

How does WebOS compare to Android 2.0? I have read a lot about WebOS on tech sites but there are a lot of grumpy posts about 'performance' issues? Have these issues been addressed in the current release? The UI is impressive looking. I haven't seen too many people with a WebOS phone.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by buff
by Fettarme H-Milch on Mon 1st Mar 2010 00:13 UTC in reply to "Comment by buff"
Fettarme H-Milch Member since:
2010-02-16

Those "performance issues" are called multitasking on hardware without enough RAM.

Palm refreshed both the Pre and the Pixi recently, so that shouldn't be a problem anymore (unless you open 20 or so apps).

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by buff
by Fusion on Mon 1st Mar 2010 00:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by buff"
Fusion Member since:
2005-07-18

Those "performance issues" are called multitasking on hardware without enough RAM.

Palm refreshed both the Pre and the Pixi recently, so that shouldn't be a problem anymore (unless you open 20 or so apps).


That's a slight oversimplification. "Performance issue" complaints weren't isolated to multitasking. In fact, I might even argue that *most* WebOS users rarely have more than 1-4 apps open at once. The complaints on performance I've seen (and experienced) generally focus on basic app loading, boot timings, and within-app responsiveness.

I think perceptual lag is made even worse by software-based rendering in transition effects; it makes the OS *feel* heavier/preoccupied in other processes. Here's hoping for more OpenGL hooks in future releases!

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by buff
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 1st Mar 2010 01:01 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by buff"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I'd say UI rendering done by the GPU will be the feature that triggers 2.0. It will also move the platform forward quite a bit.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by buff
by mlankton on Mon 1st Mar 2010 13:46 UTC in reply to "Comment by buff"
mlankton Member since:
2009-06-11

Let me tell you my story. I was sold on Android after picking up a Droid when they launched. However, the Droid wasn't quite "it" for me, and I was waiting for a form factor I liked better. I downloaded the SDK and was playing with Android on my Mac. I thought that Android was the iPhone for everyone else, even if it wasn't nearly as polished in some areas. I thought that Nexus One was it for me, and I was waiting for the Verizon release.

Then I noticed the Palm devices coming to Verizon in late January out of the corner of my eye. I downloaded the Palm SDK. Holy Sh*t! webOS utterly, and I mean utterly, destroys Android! I was not expecting that. I played with webOS some more. It wasn't perfect. I was worried about the smaller quantity of apps. I wished the screen on the Pre was half an inch bigger. Despite all that, what was there was so much better than Android that Android was pretty much ruined for me. There are apparently no interface guidelines for Android, and it is ugly. I am coming from over a decade of NeXT and OS X usage, and I like a slick interface. webOS just looked and felt a million times more put together, if you know what I mean. A trip to the Verizon store with my wife sealed the deal. She walked straight to the Pixi and fell in love with it. Didn't even want to look at the Eris afterwards. I played with the Pre and thought it was the best smartphone I had had my hands on, and we left with a new contract and matching Palms.

Let me tell you how I feel about Palm after a month of ownership. These are fantastic phones. They need improvement in some areas, and in other areas they work better than anything else out there. Palm is on the precipice, and I hope they can pull it out. Not so much because I bought into webOS. I can switch to Android after a while if I have to. Because I believe in the platform. webOS is better, by a mile. I want webOS to survive because I would like to keep using it.

Hopefully Palm is the recipient of some very good luck, soon. I have never seen a product that was so liked by the web that seems to be completely lacking in consumer appeal. Everyone who lays hands on webOS seems to love it, so why is the public perception of Palm non-existent? Good luck Palm, webOS deserves life.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by buff
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 1st Mar 2010 14:36 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by buff"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Everyone who lays hands on webOS seems to love it, so why is the public perception of Palm non-existent?


Sadly - because I can't buy it. I had to buy a new phone a few months ago, and I was really holding out for the Pre to become available here in The Netherlands. Sadly, it didn't - still hasn't - so I bought an iPhone.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by buff
by motang on Mon 1st Mar 2010 17:02 UTC in reply to "Comment by buff"
motang Member since:
2008-03-27

With 1.4 I have seen a pretty good boost with performance. The OS seems much more snappier than before and I am really liking it.

Reply Score: 2

Meh.
by Fusion on Sun 28th Feb 2010 23:15 UTC
Fusion
Member since:
2005-07-18

I WebOSDoctor'd to WebOS v1.4. (For those who do not have a Palm Pre/Pixi, WebOSDoctor essentially re-images/restores/flashes/resets your Palm device to carrier defaults.) I've had mixed experiences in the past with WebOS upgrades and wanted the 'cleanest' and most objective webOS experience possible. Here is my take:

[The Good]
-A thumbnail/icon of a loading card (zoomed out) now appears instead of a full blank-white screen. This is helpful in case you unknowingly pressed on the wrong app; you can quickly close the card without having to wait for it to load and avoid your unhappy surprise. Nice touch.

-The added notification/email options/preferences... very much welcomed.

-Consolidation of sequential calls to/from the same person now handled PROPERLY and logically. (I hate phones that overwrite each consecutive call attempt to the same #; it removes the occasionally needed evidence that you did, in fact, call your girlfriend/boyfriend repeatedly just as you claimed! haha.)

-Video recording is nice and well implemented (solid quality video, snappy, etc.)...

[The Bad]
-Boot time increased by ~10 seconds with this release. Web OS 1.3.5.1 unmodded was steadily clocking in at 1m:36s to full boot. Web OS 1.4 takes 1m:47s. Performance otherwise appears largely unchanged.

-Video "Editing" is an exaggeration---you can truncate your video; that's *it*. The term 'edit' implies a fair deal more (e.g., captions/text, joining videos, audio overlay/manipulation, etc.)...none of which you can do. Still, being able to truncate the beginning/end is admittedly nice.

-Most system/UI animations still use software rendering. WebOS's elegant interface is castrated slightly due to its lack of GPU utilization. Choppy transitions suck.

Reply Score: 3

The race is on
by StephenBeDoper on Sun 28th Feb 2010 23:24 UTC
StephenBeDoper
Member since:
2005-07-06

In the whole "Apple vs. Adobe/Flash" spat, it looks it's going to come down to a race to see which happens first: will Apple's Flash-free devices gain enough traction to force content producers to move away from Flash? Or will competing devices with Flash support (some Android phones, and now WebOS) gain enough traction to force Apple to support Flash?

Of course, the question is moot if Adobe can't manage to make Flash perform acceptably on the devices that *do* support it (which doesn't appear to be the case yet, at least judging by reviews of the HTC Hero that I've read).

Reply Score: 3

RE: The race is on
by Soulbender on Mon 1st Mar 2010 02:32 UTC in reply to "The race is on"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

will Apple's Flash-free devices gain enough traction to force content producers to move away from Flash?


What are they going to move to?

Of course, the question is moot if Adobe can't manage to make Flash perform acceptably on the devices that *do* support it (which doesn't appear to be the case yet, at least judging by reviews of the HTC Hero that I've read).


From what I've heard flash on mobile devices does pretty much all it really need to, which is play videos.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: The race is on
by StephenBeDoper on Mon 1st Mar 2010 03:43 UTC in reply to "RE: The race is on"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

"will Apple's Flash-free devices gain enough traction to force content producers to move away from Flash?


What are they going to move to?
"

Depends on the content. For video, obviously Apple's pushing for h.264 - for content that Flash has traditionally been used for (animations and "multimedia" apps), I suppose they'll push for stuff like.

"Of course, the question is moot if Adobe can't manage to make Flash perform acceptably on the devices that *do* support it (which doesn't appear to be the case yet, at least judging by reviews of the HTC Hero that I've read).


From what I've heard flash on mobile devices does pretty much all it really need to, which is play videos.
"

I haven't tried it myself, but the reviews I've read (particularly of the HTC Hero) haven't been very complimentary.

Of the first 5 results google gives me for "htc hero review flash support," 3 contain fairly ambivalent-to-negative comments about it. E.g.

"Unfortunately, in our testing, we found the inclusion [of Flash] actually hurts operation of the phone more than it helps. When browsing to a site heavy on Flash (there are many), the browser loading times were abysmal. Furthermore, trying to view videos in-window produced choppy, nearly unwatchable results."
- http://www.engadget.com/2009/07/23/htc-hero-review/

"Flash support is more miss than hit—don't expect to play Hulu videos (crash), or YouTube videos (they just won't play, no matter how many times you mash the giant play button). Looks like we'll have to wait for that more official implementation this fall, for a real solution. But, uh, at least something is there?"
- http://gizmodo.com/5318860/htc-hero-review-ambitious-but-tragically...

Although some of the reviews contradict each other, so who knows.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: The race is on
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 1st Mar 2010 08:41 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The race is on"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

That's the old version. Flash 10.1 on mobile devices is supposedly a whole lot better.

I'll wait for proper tests, though.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: The race is on
by dragos.pop on Mon 1st Mar 2010 10:58 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The race is on"
dragos.pop Member since:
2010-01-08

I don't know how flash works on other mobile OS, but on Symbian it does a good job (on Nokia 5800 XM).

I could not find any bugs, all mobile web sites work ok.
However I found the following problems on sites not optimise for mobile flash:
- the use of mouse in a way thet touch screen cannot emulate (using the position of the mouse, not the click)
This problem I also found in some JS sites.
- not showing the flash because the version is not ok. Even though the latest flash plugin on symbian could display most flash sites, you would get a message that your version of flash is not good.

Mobile flash sites, like youtube mobile beta work ok, fullscreen display is good.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: The race is on
by memson on Mon 1st Mar 2010 11:12 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The race is on"
memson Member since:
2006-01-01

That's the old version.


Flash 9 ran like treacle on the N800. It was horrible. It doesn't sound like it has improved by a great degree from the recent feedback.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: The race is on
by cb_osn on Mon 1st Mar 2010 04:10 UTC in reply to "RE: The race is on"
cb_osn Member since:
2006-02-26

From what I've heard flash on mobile devices does pretty much all it really need to, which is play videos.

I don't really care about Flash one way or the other, but if the only usage for it on mobile devices is to play videos, then what's the point?

Flash provides a whole platform for layered composition of animated media. It's incredibly powerful for layered, sequenced or interactive media, but is a waste for just playing video. The composition engine requires each element to be in RGB colorspace which means that Flash must either pull the RGB data from the ASIC or DSP hardware, or do the decoding and/or colorspace conversion in software.

Either way, it adds unnecessary steps that increase processing time and battery drain for something that can be done with fewer cycles by extracting the media streams from the FLV and playing them through the hardware accelerated native media framework.

Reply Score: 4

RE: The race is on
by ricegf on Mon 1st Mar 2010 12:25 UTC in reply to "The race is on"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

"Or will competing devices with Flash support (some Android phones, and now WebOS)..."

Actually, Nokia's Linux-based N900 was the first with Flash, I believe. Be careful, lest the hoards of N900 users descend upon you in wrath - both of us! :-D

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: The race is on
by ariarinen on Mon 1st Mar 2010 16:11 UTC in reply to "RE: The race is on"
ariarinen Member since:
2009-02-07

"Or will competing devices with Flash support (some Android phones, and now WebOS)..."

Actually, Nokia's Linux-based N900 was the first with Flash, I believe. Be careful, lest the hoards of N900 users descend upon you in wrath - both of us! :-D
Well Nokias 770, N800 and N810 where the first with flash. But N900 where the first smartphone to have flash, those older Maemo devices where internet tablets with voip.

Reply Score: 1