For the last year and a half I’ve been using a Sprint Palm Pixi WebOS smartphone as my daily companion. As a WebOS developer, I understand the internal workings of the Palm Pixi and really like a lot of its features. For my primary day job, my employer recently upgraded my cell phone to a Verizon iPhone which I gladly accepted. I’ve owned a iPod Touch for the last year and really like it, so I pretty much knew what to expect in a iPhone. Here are some quick observations:
In my opinion, WebOS is a more “polished” OS for smartphone users as it has a lot of small useful features. For example, in WebOS you can define multiple email accounts in the built-in mail app each of which can have a unique signature text block. On the iPhone, you can only have one signature block used for all email accounts.
WebOS has a very nice notification system where incoming emails, phone calls, messages, etc. are displayed in a small strip at the bottom of the screen. So, you can quickly at a glance identify when you have any new messaging. With the iPhone, you don’t have such a notification area except for a popup dialog window in the center of the screen as a message comes in.
When the screen is blank (or turned off) in WebOS, I am notified of new messages by a small flashing light. There is no such thing on the iPhone when the screen is turned off or blank. To check for new messages on the iPhone, you need to turn on the screen, unlock it, then look at the Email icon to see if there are any new messages (displayed as a number on the icon indicating the number of unread messages).
I sorely miss true multitasking with my WebOS phone. Being able to minimize a running app in the background and fire up another app is a great thing. The iPhone supposedly has “multitasking” but who knows what that really means. Does the app continue to run in the background, or is it suspended until you fire it up again?
So after beating up the iPhone, what do I like about it? First, there’s tons and tons of great apps written for the device. For business travel, I’m using one called TripTracker by PageOnce which is an excellent app for tracking all your travel reservations. I’ve got a lot of news-related apps (e.g., USA Today, Engadget, Macworld, Fox News, NBC Nightly News, ABC News) which come in handy for keeping me busy in-between appointments. Of course there’s Pandora for listening to free Internet radio stations, and Netflix video streaming.
Since I have an EyeTV HD device connected to my iMac for recording TV shows, I can use the associated iPhone app called EyeTV which allows me to fully control the EyeTV HD hardware remotely as well as stream recordings (and live TV) to my iPhone.
Of course, I have the ability to play music and videos through synced files from iTunes. So in all, I’m happy with my iPhone and think it will be a great business companion but I do miss some of the small features found in WebOS.