Facebook For webOS Cops A Drubbing

FB webOSWhoever came up with the age-old expression "don't look a gift horse in the mouth" evidently forgot to pass on the aphorism to webOS users, who are complaining in droves about the new Palm-developed native Facebook app for webOS.

For those unaware, the app offers a very, very basic Facebook experience, allowing you to interact with your main News Feed... and that's about it. The masses do not appear to be pleased, with the app currently garnering a rather embarrassing 2.5 star rating in the App Catalog. Some light editorialising after the break...

webOS users could be forgiven for feeling a bit cheated, given that (a) Facebook were presented to the tech press as a major partner with Palm at the original CES announcement of webOS, (b) Palm are constantly extolling the virutes of how quickly and easily web applications can be built with webOS - and with 10 months having passed since the webOS announcement, you'd think that would have been more than enough time to put together a fully-featured application - and (c) practically every other smartphone on the planet - including Palm's own old-school PalmOS devices - offers a more well-rounded experience with the planet's most popular social network.

In short: not good enough, Palm. Your notification system, multitasking and IM-integrated messaging experience give you the capabalities to offer the best social networking experience on any smartphone to date. How 'bout you put 'em to good use?

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Welcome to Palm

abosco @ 11/16/2009 7:42:51 AM # M Q
Tim, it sounds like you're new here. This is the Palm way. Promise lots, deliver little, and massage the numbers to keep the stock afloat. That's nothing new.

But in all fairness, the iPhone App Store's Facebook application sucked when it came out. You couldn't see anybody's wall. What the hell else is the point of Facebook? However, this once again goes to show that Palm will follow Apple off a cliff, even to the point of releasing sucky apps. Don't worry, Tim. It only took a year to finally get a good, working Facebook app over here. That leaves you, what, another 9 months for webOS?

RE: Welcome to Palm
jca666us @ 11/16/2009 8:45:36 AM # M Q
The lack of a good facebook app on the pre could illustrate that their development environment is lacking.
RE: Welcome to Palm
CFreymarc @ 11/16/2009 1:04:29 PM # Q
I saw this coming!

There is a native compiler that they are not releasing to the general developer community cause:

1) It is buggy as all hell.

2) Command line only with a third party IDE.

3) They are desperate to take in money from big name clients to enhance revenue (dumping on third party developers again.)

or -- my favorite

4) IP or sheer lack of desire to pay royalties to ARM or other ARM-related businesses.

RE: Welcome to Palm
jhoff80 @ 11/17/2009 3:32:51 AM # Q
.... What the hell, seriously? A bad Facebook app is demonstrating that the SDK is limited? The whole full website is written in Javascript and HTML, the same exact languages that the Palm SDK uses.
RE: Welcome to Palm
SeldomVisitor @ 11/17/2009 3:55:43 AM # Q
Facebook has available an API for retrieving, etc, information from Facebook.

That is, a "Facebook app" should be using that API to access the Facebook information, not simply accessing Facebook web pages and parsing the HTML/Javascript source.

RE: Welcome to Palm
Tim Carroll @ 11/17/2009 4:53:29 AM # Q
What bugs me is that Facebook 1.0 for PalmOS had a much more robust feature-set than this one. You could view Walls, check out any photo album you pleased and comment on the photos within, and you had full access to the messaging service as well as your friends directory. This app comes off as totally half-assed by comparison.


.... What the hell, seriously? A bad Facebook app is demonstrating that the SDK is limited?

Ignore 'em, man. Seriously. The troll-bot ain't worth your time - or anybody's - and CFreymarc's conspiracy theories would have even Fox Mulder doing a double-take. Palmbook and FriendsFlow in homebrew demonstrate perfectly how Facebook access is totally do-able in Mojo.

RE: Welcome to Palm
abosco @ 11/17/2009 6:05:50 AM # M Q
I do think that the development environment is limited, but I don't think that's the reason for the lack of developers and applications. There are no apps because there is no money to be made. There is no money to be made because there are no users. And there are no users partially because there are no apps. It's a chicken and the egg situation, and the solution is to either be first to market or have the best integration. Palm has neither.
RE: Welcome to Palm
SeldomVisitor @ 11/17/2009 7:55:39 AM # Q
HTC, deep pockets HTC, decided to delay their newest Qualcomm-based handsets til next year because they wanted to have more applications available when they introduce them.


Sometimes it pays to be rich.

[that link goes stale in a day or two]

RE: Welcome to Palm
palmato @ 11/17/2009 12:42:48 PM # Q
> There are no apps because there is no money to be made.

That's one part of the problem but doesn't explain the lack of decent freeware.
IMHO. The problem is that all the applications must be written from scratch and no preexisting code can be reused. The ease of programming is just marketing speak which is barely interesting. What most programmers really wish is not having to rewrite code for no particular reason.
And yes the sdk is very limited: the system api is primitive and the javascript language has its own problems too (lack of multitasking, to name one).

If palm really wants to get developers for their platform, I think they need to release a native SDK in C/C++ or java (as a second choice).
Hey Admin: Why do we have to keep two profiles?

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whiteasianrose @ 11/16/2009 8:53:29 AM # Q
you know the app is crap when palmbook from the homebrew community is better and more polished
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How does it compare with the Android version

sbono13 @ 11/16/2009 9:03:39 AM # Q
"practically every other smartphone on the planet - including Palm's own old-school PalmOS devices - offers a more well-rounded experience with the planet's most popular social network."

I don't think it's fair to say that. The official version that Facebook put out for Android is worse in some ways. Review here:


Palm's let's you view your friends' uploaded photo galleries in a built in viewer, rather than kicking you into the mobile website. That's a pretty big feature in my opinion.

In the plus column for the Android version, I'm jealous of notifications and the ability to see friend wall and limited profiles.

Personally, I would rather have the WebOS version.

RE: How does it compare with the Android version
jca666us @ 11/16/2009 10:00:22 AM # M Q
Apple's App Store now has more than 100,000 apps. No other phone operating system comes close, though there are about 10,000 apps for Android. Palm has about 300.

"You develop for the iPhone first and for Android second, then for Palm or not," said Philip Cusick, an analyst with Macquarie Securities. Mr. Cusick suggested that a large portion of phone buyers do not care about applications even though Apple has based the marketing campaign for its iPhone on selling the apps. "If applications become important, then Palm is going to have trouble," he said.

Mr. Rubinstein said Palm would never need as many applications as the iPhone. "We are focused on quality over quantity" he said.

RE: How does it compare with the Android version
jurtrx @ 11/16/2009 11:20:02 AM # Q
well at least you guys can use the new facebook app. With my GSM Pre I'm still stuck in the middle ages now being three software version behind the US instead of just two!

But I think it is true, what Mr. Rubinstein said (at least it would be ok with me), Palm doesn't need 100 000 apps. In fact, everytime I search for something on the iPhone app store I find it quite disturbing to go through hundreds of apps till I find what I need. What Palm really needs is quality, not quantity, true! BUT up till now they have neither. It's not like there are 300 high quality apps in the store. In fact, most of it is crap. What about instant messaging (especially MSN, ICQ, Skype)? A more feature-rich and stable Google Maps app? At least basic video recording? Support for other social networking sites? Maybe a few of the European portals?

For somebody who kept shouting out loud how awesome synergy is going to be and what a great concept combined messaging, etc. is, Palm is taking it way too slow at the moment. Palm has designed a product with an imho awesome form factor (the iPhone feels nothing but huge and clumsy in your hands once you get used to the Pre) and some innovative software concept with great potential but now is the time to fully exploit this. Not next year, not with the next hardware iteration, etc.... what about some results now. What about a "big bang" software update reminding Pre-owners why they bought that thing? Or is it gonna be just bug fixes for the months to come (while not even addressing the biggest bug: UI speed / lag)?!

And as a last note: The Mojo SDK is probably the worst thing I've ever worked with. Javascript and the current tools included in the SDK has nothing to do with quick and easy development. Sure, it's not all that bad for those simple apps currently flooding the store, like crossword puzzles, database and lookup applications basically just downloading a chunk of information to be displayed on the device. But anything more complex, let alone GPU-intensive applications or those that need certain hardware access... don't even think about trying it! Hell, what's wrong with C++, Java or the .Net framework? It had to be Javascript and HTML combined with a really poor and unfinished SDK?

I realise that Apple didn't do all those thing over night either and I also see that the Pre doesn't necessarily have to become another iPhone immitation. But multi-touch and a good web-browser is not all the iPhone has to offer. There's more to copy, Palm!

Were Apple to offer a smaller form-factor iPhone right now, preferably with a hardware keyboard, I wouldn't even hesitate for a moment and switch my Pre for it. I'm still willing to give Palm some time but at some point there gonna have to show that there up to more than just bug fixes!

RE: How does it compare with the Android version
nastebu @ 11/16/2009 3:46:38 PM # Q
jca666us wrote:
Mr. Rubinstein said Palm would never need as many applications as the iPhone. "We are focused on quality over quantity" he said.

I'm curious, how good do the webos apps get? Which one out there now is considered a five-star, really first rate job of coding?

As for having to search through all the different choices in the apple app store, that's the kind of problem a company is glad to have.

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vs Win Mo version...

analogue wings @ 11/16/2009 5:06:46 PM # Q
I downloaded the Windows Mobile Marketplace (you know the one currently being laughed out of the tech forums for no apps etc).

As a test I got the free Facebook app... and it's pretty good. Does the usual facebook stuff and by the sounds of it kills the webOS version.

Your "all about the web" brand new OS getting pwned by Jurassic WinMo. Ouch.
IIIc -> M105 -> Zire 21 -> Tungsten T2 -> Treo 650 -> HTC TyTN II :(

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Facebook good but limited

Rastick @ 11/16/2009 10:31:38 PM # Q
I find the app is very good at what it does, but it doesn't do everything you'd like from a mobile Facebook application.

The contacts integration is very neat.

But I'd like a better feed of posts and access to my wall.

RE: Facebook good but limited
jca666us @ 11/17/2009 4:19:07 AM # M Q
if u want better facebook integration, get an iPhone.
RE: Facebook good but limited
Rastick @ 11/17/2009 8:26:29 AM # Q
I like a device that can walk and chew gum at the same time. Why would I want to regress to an iPhone?

I keep my email, facebook and messaging apps open almost all the time. Then add others as needed.

RE: Facebook good but limited
jca666us @ 11/17/2009 10:21:04 AM # Q
iphone native apps multitask and the 3gs is fast - the pre walks and chews gum veeerrryyyy sssllloooowwwllllyyyyyy.
RE: Facebook good but limited
Rastick @ 11/17/2009 9:09:54 PM # Q

Try actually running two applications at the same time on an iPhone? You can't because while the underlying Unix OS allows multi-tasking Apple didn't provide a capability for two or more application to run concurrently.

RE: Facebook good but limited
nastebu @ 11/18/2009 8:03:42 AM # Q
The iPhone multi-tasks, but third party apps on the iPhone aren't allowed to access the capability. The mp3 player, for example, plays while other apps are running. And the alarms in the calendar go off even if the calendar is off.

As for instant messaging, the push notification thing Apple came up with is quite good. It's as good as having the app open without the memory and battery drain.

Where the lack of multi-tasking is annoying is with maps and pandora and those third party apps that would be very useful to keep open.

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sremick @ 11/17/2009 7:57:26 AM # Q
Even the native Facebook app for Blackberry sucks compared to http://m.facebook.com/

Pretty pathetic, really. At a minimum, a native app should offer MORE functionality than the mobile version of the site.
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RE: m.facebook.com
sbono13 @ 11/17/2009 9:17:01 AM # Q
The best part about m.facebook.com and the nicer looking (but less functional x.facebook.com) is that both screen out posts made from the iPhone client. Seriously, compare the mobile sites with the full website on your PC-- those marked "via facebook for iPhone" do not show up.

It's like an automatic idiot filter. :)

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