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WebOS 2.0 review

When it comes to webOS 2.0 (now actually called HP webOS), it almost felt like we’d never see the version number, let alone get to review it. It’s been an intense few months for Palm: after floundering in the early part of the smartphone wars, it was scooped up by HP for a tidy sum of $1.2b. Though it seemed like the dream of webOS could fade away, the company made it clear that it had plans to not only continue the work Palm had done in the mobile world, but extend what the tiny company had created to other platforms as well (tablets, and yes, printers). We’ve heard a lot of talk from both parties since the acquisition, but have seen little in the way of proof that progress was indeed being made — but that’s all changed today. Palm has officially released its second generation OS into the wild, along with a new, beefed up version of the Pre (at least in France — North American handsets are coming soon). The company offered us an early developer phone to test out the new OS and see if the combination of tightened code and a significantly faster device (the Pre 2 clocks in with a 1GHz CPU) could make a difference between last place and a fighting chance. We’ve taken an extensive look at the new OS, so read on for our full take!

First off, you should know that this isn’t a review of the Pre 2. According to the company, the device we have is an early unit which isn’t final hardware. Beyond that, you won’t be able to get the phone in America anytime soon (though it will be coming to Verizon at some point in the near future). In fact, the only place you can get the hardware right now is on SFR in France. Palm’s strategy seems to be to get webOS 2.0 into the marketplace, and more importantly, into the hands of developers so that they can begin to code for what is a notably changed OS with lots of new features.

And what features! It’s clear that Palm devs have been keeping their collective heads down working on the new OS, and it’s jam-packed with all kinds of interesting new additions which should spark some refreshed interest in the platform.


So, this isn’t a review of the Pre 2 by any means — but it is worth noting that even though Palm has made subtle improvements to the handset (faster CPU, flat glass display, better build quality), this isn’t a significantly different piece of hardware. Really it’s a rehash of the original Pre and Pre Plus with minor tweaks. Certainly the screen size and resolution remain the same, and the overall design doesn’t seem dramatically altered. To our fingers, the keyboard feels identical, though Palm has made a wise decision in making the entire casing the soft touch material it’s been using for Touchstone-compatible backs. One other thing of note that did seem slightly improved with this combo: battery life. While we didn’t see major jumps, the juice seemed to sap away slower than on any previous Pre. That’s something… but still not good enough in our opinion.

In all, it’s pretty clear that this hardware is a stepping stone to get developers and hardcore users into a solid webOS 2.0 experience, and the Pre 2 is not meant as a challenger to the Droid Xs and iPhone 4s of the world.

Overall look and feel of webOS 2.0

The first thing you’ll notice about webOS 2.0 is that Palm has subtly changed the look of the OS, cleaning up a lot of the graphic elements from earlier iterations, and adding much needed functionality and utility in areas. For starters, the UI now bears a darker, more refined design. The dialpad is a deep blue instead of the previous green, and programs like the App Catalog have been doused in a slick and shiny black. In addition, little details like the launcher and universal search section (now known as “Just Type”) have been tweaked, the former getting clearer navigational elements and much-needed options like the ability to add pages, and the latter providing a clearer delineation of sections and far more options on what to search (more on that in a moment).

On the Pre 2, the OS was incredibly fast. We’re talking seriously impressive performance, which just seems to prove that a big part of what webOS is missing is great, high performance hardware. Moving from app to app was extremely light and quick, and opening applications was far faster than on any previous Palm handset or OS version. Little things like word correction and searches popped up quickly, and browser load times seemed dramatically improved. In addition, the feel of navigation in the launcher panels and in long lists was way tighter, providing scrolling and panning that felt solid and confident. We did see the occasional stall when opening an app in a sea of cards, but most of the time the OS hummed along with little interruption. In terms of overall gloss, webOS 2.0 feels like a best in class contender, coming off as slicker and more thoughtful than most smartphone OSs on the market.

But it’s not just speed and cosmetics — as we pointed out back in August, there are a couple of major changes to the architecture of webOS that will make a big impact on the direction of the operating system. We’ll run through the most notable alterations and additions and explain what they mean (and what they’re like) for the end user.


Palm has made huge strides in cleaning up its implementation of Synergy (actually now known as HP Synergy) for basic account management and content parsing. For starters, the company now provides a centralized control panel where you can add, remove, and tweak accounts on the device. Additionally, you’re now given far more control over what actually comes into the phone, with Palm adding controls for toggling whether you pull contacts, calendars, messaging, and other services at will. More importantly, Palm has opened the Synergy service up to third-parties with a new API, making it possible to connect far more than just email and IM accounts. Right now you can plug in your Photobucket, YouTube, and LinkedIn accounts (amongst others), but that’s just the start. We’re interested to see where this goes (maybe someone will integrate IRC with SSL support?), especially considering the new control Palm has given users.

In our testing, Synergy worked as expected, but we had some major syncing issues with our hosted Gmail account’s calendars. In the time that we spent with the Pre 2 and webOS 2.0, we couldn’t consistently get our events to sync back and forth to the server, and we had folks at Palm stumped with the issue. We’re still debugging the issue with the company and will report back, but it’s a little disappointing to see that the experience isn’t a no-brainer (as it should be). Given that Synergy sync is such a major part of the OS, you would think most outstanding oddities would be licked by now — but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Just Type / Quick Actions

Palm has renamed its universal search to “Just Type,” and it’s opened this API up to developers as well, allowing lots of other people to plug into potential searches. But the functionality goes one step further, auto-detecting when a compatible search engine is present in a page you’re viewing, and offering to add that engine to your searches. This piece of webOS 2.0 didn’t always seem to recognize what was or wasn’t a search engine, and we found the results to be somewhat spotty. In terms of included engines, right now there are options for Google, Wikipedia, IMDb, the App Catalog, YouTube, CNN, Amazon, Google Maps, and Twitter. You’re also given a lot more control over what you search, with the ability to add, move, and remove sections of the searches at will.

So when you start typing, you get full searches of your email, apps, potential search engine options, phone numbers, and one other function we feel is really outstanding here: Quick Actions. What are Quick Actions you ask? Probably the single most ingenious thing that Palm as done in 2.0. Put plainly, Quick Actions are macros for the text you just entered — or shortcuts to using that text. It works like this: you type in “dinner with Joe,” and Quick Actions gets you to a calendar event, memo, email, SMS, or any other action (provided someone has coded it — first- or third-party) you can think of. Obvious actions, like a Twitter client that allows you to update your feed without all of the intermediary steps to get there, seem likely, but we’re betting that’s just scratching the surface. In our BlackBerry Torch review, we lauded RIM for its comprehensive search functions, but the combo of Just Type and Quick Actions takes the game to a whole new level. Well done, Palm.


This one seems minor, but actually makes a huge difference when navigating the phone. Essentially, it stacks cards you’re using together automatically. What that means is that when you open a link from an email or a message, or a preference pane from an app, it sticks that card on top of the card you opened it from. You can also choose to stack cards yourself by dragging them together at will. In practice, the function works excellently and goes a long way to making webOS feel more organized. If we had one gripe, it’s that the phone seems too willing to stick cards together when you move them around — there should be a slightly longer hover period when manually creating stacks.


This isn’t necessarily something everyone will get a lot of use out of, but it’s nice to see it finally included in webOS after lots of promises. The plugin seemed to work well, and just like Android, you’re given the option to either let all Flash content play, or selectively load pieces of content on a case-by-case basis. We didn’t have any issues using fairly Flash-heavy pages, though webOS seems a little touchy about how you zoom into a page once you’ve loaded up content. In our experience, we had to rotate the device to get some of the action full screen. We also ran into trouble when trying to play some video content in-browser — we either had stuttery performance, or the videos wouldn’t play at all. The plugin is still in beta, so obviously there are improvements coming down the road, but we welcome the fact that at least Palm is giving its users options on this.

The rest

Palm added lots of other little odds and ends, though a lot of it is in the guts of the OS, not on the surface. For instance, the company has made a handful of HTML5 enhancements, it’s added the node.js runtime environment for developers, and the company has taken its PDK plugin out of beta and is fully incorporating it into the SDK.

More notably, the company has given users far more control over their text entry with a new section called Text Assist, which allows you to curate and edit your own dictionary, as well as put together macros for oft-typed words or phrases. We love this functionality, and deeply appreciate the fact that not everyone is playing with the same set of requirements. It’s nice to see Palm put some focus on details like this — if only every OS-maker provided this access!

Palm has also updated its Facebook application to 2.0, and it might just be the best Facebook app on the market right now. The company has included the ability to open multiple Facebook cards in a stack, and also gives you powerful filtering options for news feeds which makes seeing the important stuff easier than ever. We found that it actually improves on the website considerably, and in fact we prefer using the webOS app to view Facebook.

What’s missing?

Even though Palm has made big improvements in lots of areas of the OS, it’s still painfully lacking in others. In particular, the mail client leaves a lot to be desired, with no multiple message management, and no threaded messages. As noted before, we also had major issues with syncing using our Gmail account. It wasn’t just calendar issues either; we found sync times to be unpredictable at best, and sometimes the phone wouldn’t sync at all, requiring us to manually refresh to email app. The OS definitely caused us some headaches when it came to getting all of our info pulled down cleanly, and for the company that touts Synergy as one of its big assets, that’s a little disappointing.

We also had a handful of “too many card” notices, sometimes even when we had no cards open. It’s possible that this may be due to memory leaks from apps, but a user should hardly ever see this message. We eventually had to do a soft reset to get the handset performing normally again.

There were also moments of staggered scrolling or freezes, mostly due to syncing, which made the experience uneven in some places.


Despite some issues, webOS 2.0 is probably neck and neck with iOS4 when it comes to polish and ease of use, and that’s a pretty huge thing for Palm. This isn’t just a good OS, it’s a great OS, and the updates in this version have made it even better. It’s obvious that when combined with even slightly better hardware, it’s also a fast experience that makes it easy to get real work done. And that’s the problem with webOS 2.0, really. Palm is still hampered by last-generation, underpowered hardware. The Pre 2 is nice, but it’s not cutting edge, and it doesn’t hold a candle to the iPhone 4 or G2. If Palm wants to survive in this game — let alone truly compete — it needs to push killer hardware into the marketplace now. The faithful are dwindling, and the smartphone race is getting more crowded every day — webOS 2.0 is a big improvement, but if this and the Pre 2 are Palm’s hail mary, they just lost the game.


Android 11 event and beta postponed: ‘Now is not the time to celebrate’

"We'll be back with more on Android 11, soon."What you need to knowAndroid 11 has been delayed.An event and beta

How much data does video streaming use?

When it comes to internet usage, video watching is one of the main interests of users. Most users are mainly inclined towards streaming videos so it matters a lot to know how much data is required for it. Of course, we do require a smooth internet connection to be able to stream our favorite content online.If video streaming is your preference then you must consider high-speed internet like Spectrum internet for instance, that do not offer data caps. This means you do not have to worry about any extra fee surprises in your bill that are bound to happen if you run out of your data limit. Most of the providers in the United States do impose data caps so it is very important to find out an internet plan that assures a no data cap policy. For that, let us first have a look at the data that is needed for various video streaming platforms.YouTubeJust like using any other app on your smartphone, YouTube being one of the popular platforms needs data too. It nearly takes 562.5 MB of data per hour. This holds valid when you stream at around 480p resolution. In case you want better resolution, then you might require 1.86 GB per hour for 720p. For 1080p you might require 3.04 GB. For watching videos in 4K, you will require a massive 15.98 GB of data per hour.NetflixWe all agree with the fact that how much we love Netflix as it has successfully evolved as one of the most popular video streaming services. For subscribers exceeding 130 million, the internet speed is not much of a problem. An hour of video streaming in standard definition would need around 1 GB of data. If you want to enjoy high-quality video streaming, you might need up to 3GB. For ultra-high-definition, you can require up to 7 GB of data per hour.The selection of accounts can help you decide a suitable resolution for your connection. If you want to save your data, you can check the settings option and click the save button when you want.Amazon Prime VideoAmazon Prime Video was launched by Amazon as a streaming service in 2011 and has ever gained popularity among the users. Nowadays it is seen as one of the biggest competitors for Netflix. This service provides up to three resolutions for the users. Among them include good, better, and best. The Good enables streaming videos at around 480p in standard definition and utilizes a data of 800 MB per hour. The Better option allows an HD stream with a data requirement of around 2 GB per hour. The Best option consumes nearly 6 GB of data per hour. You should also know that accessing Amazon Prime Video on your mobile app results in low data consumption as compared to the desktop app.HuluHulu is another important video streaming option that uses somewhat less data as compared to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video This makes Hulu as one of the most economical options available. You require around 680 MB per hour of data for the standard definition. If you switch to a 720p high definition setting, the data requirement may jump to 1.3 GB per hour. 1080p resolution can need data up to 2.7 GB per hour. You can also stream live TV if you are using Hulu’s $39.99 monthly plan.SpotifySpotify is one of the best-known music streaming platforms but not everyone knows that it also provides a video service in certain areas. The company does not disclose much about the data requirements of the video streaming service. However it only notifies that video streaming requires more data as compared to music streaming and is much like the ones needed for other video channels. Mostly the videos are in high definition and can consume up to 3 GB of data for an hour streaming.VimeoVimeo does not have any details regarding data usage. The standard definition content can need up to 353 MB of data per hour. As far as the HD videos are concerned, they need up to 2.75 GB per hour.StanMany of us might not have heard of Stan as it is accessible in Australia only. The app usually provides four-tier quality. The lowest standard definition setting can require up to 1.13 GB per hour while HD and 4K can require around 3 GB per hour and 7 GB per hour respectively.DirecTVThe DirecTV website also does not display clear information about the required bandwidth. In case if your provider puts a data limit, you can always reduce your video quality. The data consumption parallels to the aforementioned video streaming platforms.Sling TVSling TV is another one of the highest quality video streaming service that uses around 2 GB per hour of data for its highest quality option. The data required for medium quality is 540 MB per hour that further lowers to 360 MB per hour for low-quality streaming options.Summing UpYou need to be aware of the data consumption involved in the video streaming service you are using. This can save you from exceeding your data limit and paying any additional cost.EDITOR NOTE: This is a promoted post and should not be viewed as an editorial endorsement.

This portable UV-C wand sterilizes your items and work space

In an age when cleaning wipes and hand sanitizer aren’t easily found, it’s a little tough to keep your personal items and space clean. Not wiped down and washed, but free from germs and bacteria.Rather than fighting your way through a store to find only to find out there are no wipes left, take a smarter approach. The SANITECH UV-C Wand, on sale for just $72.99, is the sort of thing you buy once and get to use over and over. Try that with those Clorox Wipes.About the size of an electric toothbrush, the SANITECH UV-C Wand emits a UV-C light that kills 99.9% of germs and bacteria within ten seconds. It cleans all sorts of surfaces, including clothes, bedding, phones, keyboards, laptops, and more. If your hands touch it, you can probably clean it with the SANITECH UV-C Wand.FeaturesUV-C light kills 99.9% of germs, bacteria, & viruses within 10 secondsChemical-free for your safety & can be used on baby products, cosmetics, pet supplies, on home and public spacesLasts up to 90 minutes w/ full chargeBuilt for travel & convenienceBuy it NowPurchase the SANITECH UV-C Wand for just $72.99, a savings of 18% off the normal $90 price. Choose from Winter White, Flamingo Pink, and Seabreeze Green.Best SellersEarn Credits!For every $25 you spend in the AG Deals Store you get $1 credit added to your account. And, if you refer the deal via social media or an email that results in a purchase, you’ll earn $10 credit in your account.First Time Buying?If this is your first time buying, you are also eligible for 10% discount! Just be sure to subscribe for email updates.Free StuffNot looking to spend any money today? No worries. You can still visit the AndroidGuys section for freebies and pick something anyhow.

How to set up a Messenger Room in Facebook Messenger

With the launch of Messenger Rooms, you can now participate in video calls from the comfort of your smartphone and without any extra apps.If you’re using WhatsApp, Instagram, or Messenger, you can now make a virtual room and invite your friends in a matter of seconds. This saves you the trouble of installing extra apps like Zoom.Today we’re going to look at how to set up a Messenger Room in Messenger.How to set up a Messenger Room in Messenger – The easy wayThe only real pre-requisite here is having the latest version of Facebook Messenger installed on your phone from the Google Play Store. Download it here.Step 1Tap on the People tab at the bottom on the Messenger app and choose to Create a RoomAt the bottom center of the screen, you will have the option of Share Link. Tap on it.With the Who Can Join, you can also control who joins the Messenger Room if you wish to keep the room exclusive to friends, family, etc.Step 2Copy the link in the box and paste it to the group or people you wish to share it with. They will also need to have the Messenger app installed and on the latest version of the app for it to work best.You can share the link via any app or medium you wish, but whoever has access to the link can join your room, unless you modify the Who Can Join settings in Step 1.From here, you just wait for your friends to join and carry out your business. When you feel the room has met its purpose, you can close the room by tapping on the X button at the top right of the room.Leave will mean that the room will still be there to return to for anyone who has the link. End Room will close the room and make the link invalid. This means you’ll have to make a new room if you do End Room here.We also wrote a guide on how to start a Messenger Room from WhatsApp. The feature will soon go live on Instagram globally, so be sure to look out for that as well!If you’ve used Messenger rooms, let us know what you think of it in the comments section below!