I remember the first time I ever saw an iPhone running in front of me. I was stunned. The way the OS added that ‘bounce’ to the UI movements, coupled with the touchscreen’s responsibility, gave the most simple of actions, such as sliding the browser around a feeling that here was an almost ‘magical’ device.(Note to Steve Jobs: It can only ever be magical once, making it bigger may make it better, but never ‘magical’)
Now, of course, such things are common in the realm of modern smartphones and improvements coming along at an incremental pace. There are few moments that make you go ‘Wow!’
Things like running an Android widget for the first time, or throwing a card away in webOS are certainly eyebrow raising, but for me, personally, the last ‘wow’ moment was seeing someone send a link from the desktop Google Chrome browsers and seeing it pop up a second later on their phone.
Developer Zhephree has decided to try to bring that same functionality to HP’s webOS platform with it’s application ‘Neato!’
The app takes quite a few steps to set up. After downloading, you must then generate your own special link, which you must go to on your computer. You can then either drag the Neato icon to bookmarks or install an extension.
From then on, as long as you have Neato running on your phone, you can send any web page you are viewing on a computer straight to your phone by simply clicking the neat icon in your bookmarks, or the icon in your extension set. A second later, your phones browser boots up with the web page you were viewing on the computer loaded up on your devices screen.
You can also send links from the phone straight to your computer in much the same way. Neato also has an option to add an extra icon to your phones launcher that quickly boots up the ‘send to computer’ option. To send a URL, its easiest to highlight the URL at the top of the phones browser and then hold the gesture area and press ‘C’ on your keyboard to copy to your clipboard. You then simply go to the ‘send to computer’ option in Neato and paste the URL by holding the gesture are and pressing ‘V’ on your keyboard.
It only takes seconds, and is really intuitive. Neato will detect what your phone has received and open the appropriate app, so if it’s a web page your browser will open, but if its an image, the photo app will load. It all just works as it should.
This app may sound like an interesting experiment, but trust me, you will soon be using this on a daily basis. From sending pages on your phone that are too slow or big for your device to sending text or simply using this as an extenuation to your phones multitasking capabilities.
As an example you may be working on several web pages at once, so with a couple of clicks you can send one or two of them to your computer to make referencing back and forth easier.
This is also a great ‘show off app, just ask an Android user.
It’s not all perfect, however. To receive a web page, you must have the Neato banner running at the bottom of the screen; this is because webOS can only check apps that are running in the background at the least every five minutes, which the developer feels would ruin the instantaneous aspect of the app, which is understandable, but I genuinely think an option of running in the background that polls every 5 minutes and just loads up anything received in the intervening time would be far better.
The developer could call it ‘slow’ mode or something, so that the user is aware that it wont be instant. This is especially relevant on the Pixi where screen real estate is even more limited than the Pre.
There have also been a couple of times where the pages haven’t been sent or I have had to press Neato a couple of times, but these have been extremely rare, maybe three of four times out of all the hundreds of uses, but they still happened all the same.
Overall though, this really must count as an essential webOS app, and maybe something that HP and Palm should integrate more fully in future versions of webOS.
It is rare that an app truly adds to the functionality of a mobile OS, but this really is one of them, and, at the low price the developer wants for it, you would be mad to miss out on the magic.