HP webOS dies a quick, albeit painful death

hpTP_deathHP decided to discontinue the webOS, which means the TouchPad is no more. I can’t say that I’m totally surprised that it failed, but I am shocked at the speed at which the company pulled the plug. I thought this might happen. I even went as far as to say “the webOS died in 2010” in a post back on December 31, 2010.

I have no idea why HP killed the webOS, but I’m sure we’ll find out more in the weeks to come. The operating system itself was awesome. I personally think it had the best user experience of all the current tablet platforms. I was looking forward to it’s maturation as a mobile computing ecosystem. With that said I think HP failed to offer the smartphone variety necessary to make the HP TouchPad meaningful.

I considered buying a TouchPad, but ultimately decided against it. Like many others I have a host of tablets to chose from these days. Why did I baulk at the TouchPad? Basically it boils down to cost, lack of smartphone choice and the feeling that the TouchPad still had some growing pains to go through. These are the same reasons that lead me to hold off on purchasing many of the early Android tablets.

Good-bye TouchPad. Your death was premature to say the least. Shame on you HP for destroying such a beautiful tablet operating system.

An open letter to HP

Dear HP,

As I read about the release of the HP TouchPad on July 1st, I can’t help feel both excited and disappointed. The operating system on the new TouchPad appears second to none. The “card-view” multi-tasking offers a simple, yet powerful user interface. In fact, the user interface is so nice that RIM blatantly copied it for use on their PlayBook.

In addition the TouchPad offers a dual-core Snapdragon processor, HP Synergy to provide a single interface for email, social media, calendars, contacts and more, just type, support for both Flash and HTML5, video calling on a beautiful 1024×768 multitouch screen, and so on. You’ve designed a tablet truly worthy of consideration even when compared to all other tablets currently on the market. 

Continue reading An open letter to HP

What’s the best mobile operating sytem for pharmacy?

Mobile computing platforms have become somthing of a hot topic lately, especially in healthcare. What used to be something used almost exclusively by business people and gadget geeks is now mainstream among the average consumer. And to that end, mobile technology is starting to creep into the healthcare industry in large part due to the ever growing list of mobile devices, i.e. smartphones and tablets. Of course the iPad has been at the center of the discussion because it has been embraced by healthcare practitioners and has forced its way into many healthcare IT departments for better or worse. Not a day goes by now when I don’t see several physicians throughout the hospital carrying an iPad. Before the iPad it was the iPhone. See a trend here? I do.
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Will the new crop of slate tablets be good for healthcare?

I recently read an article in Laptop Magazine about the most anticipated tablets scheduled to hit the market over the next several months. Some things caught my attention.

First, all the tablets listed were slate models and offered a variety of screen sizes. The smallest screen listed was 7 inches, while the largest was listed at 12 inches. Screen size is important to me so I was glad to see that the idea of larger devices wasn’t completely dead. The second thing was the variety of operating systems offered. Windows 7 and Android were prominent, but a couple of the tablet descriptions didn’t include an operating system. Based on the screen shots and a little web surging it appears that some of the devices may use proprietary operating systems. We’ll have to wait and see. And finally, almost all the tablets listed were clearly aimed at the consumer. In fact the only “enterprise” tablet that made the list was the Cisco Cius. The Cius is an interesting device as it will use the Android OS, a smaller 7 inch screen, 802.11n, 3G and 4G, and Bluetooth. I’m sure the company is hoping to leverage its VoIP and data systems against the needs of business users. In my opinion the Cius would provide significant functionality and potential for increased productivity to those businesses that already employ Cisco phone or data services. It makes sense to integrate tablets into a system that already uses the same infrastructure.

The two tablets that were conspicuously absent from the list were the BlackBerry PlayBook and the HP Slate which are both being marketed as enterprise devices. I love the idea of the PlayBook because it offers real-time video conferencing like the Cius and the ability to pair it with a BlackBerry smartphone to access online content. The potential to tether a smartphone to a tablet is quite appealing to me.
Continue reading Will the new crop of slate tablets be good for healthcare?

“What’d I miss?” – Week of June 27

As usual there were a lot of things that happened during the week, and not all of it was pharmacy or technology related. Here’s a quick look at some of the stuff I found interesting.
Continue reading “What’d I miss?” – Week of June 27

Epocrates beta for webOS

It looks like Epocrates beta is available for the Palm webOS platform. Check out the video below to get the gist for the look and feel of the app.

I don’t use Epocrates myself. My mobile drug information resources of choice come from Lexi-Comp. However, Epocrates is a very popular and highly respected resource among healthcare professionals.

Unfortunately Palm and the webOS don’t appear to have a good long-term prognosis in the smartphone arena. I’ve been reading various reports that Palm may be on its way out secondary to the iPhone, BlackBerry and newer android devices. That’s really too bad. I’ve been a big fan of the Palm operating system since its inception back in the 1990’s. In fact, I would be using a Palm Pre today if it would have been available through Verizon when I purchased my DROID.

I’d love to talk with someone at Palm about building an 8-10” slate tablet device running webOS. The simplicity of the operating system and the ability to really have multiple applications open at once is very appealing. Consider that you can also run legacy Palm OS software on webOS-based devices via emulator software like Classic from Motionapps, and you really have something to like. I fear that this is only a dream, however, as I haven’t heard a peep about anything from Palm even remotely resembling a tablet device.

So, Palm, if you ever feel the need to build a tablet device please give me a call. I have some ideas for you.

The digital peripheral brain

The Palmdoc Chronicles:” I’ve had a Palm Pre for about 2 months now and I can declare that the device has seen tremendous improvement with firmware updates (pushed OTA) and a steadily increasing amount of useful applications in the Palm App Catalog and the unofficial Homebrew scene.

How usable is it as an smartphone for doctors? Well I can say it pretty much does replace your old PalmOS device as it is. One of the cool features of the old Palm PDAs is the ability to keep snippets of information in the Memos (Notes) in various categories for instant recall. These notes may be protocols, clinical pearls or practically any bits of information which you want to look up while rounding for instance.

WebOS’ builtin “post-it” type Memos is ok if you are keeping about 10-20 notes but pretty useless if you are talking about 300-500 notes or more. There are several solutions at hand which overcome this limitation.”

The blog goes on to describe a few applications that can be used to create a peripheral brain out of the Palm Pre smartphone. One of these applications is the ever popular Evernote, which I use daily on my tablet PC as well as my Droid.

The information presented at the Palmdoc Chronicles isn’t restricted to the Palm WebOS. The iPhone, Motorola DROID, RIM BlackBerry devices, and a host of other smartphones are capable of storing memos, notes, PDFs and numerous other forms of information documentation.

The idea of using a PDA as a peripheral brain isn’t new. Felkey and Fox 1 were talking about it back in 2002 when the precursor to the Palm WebOS was popular among healthcare professionals. It’s interesting how the idea is as good today as it was nearly a decade ago.

1. Felkey BG, Fox BI. PDA interface: Creating the Digital Peripheral Brain. Hosp Pharm. 2002; 37:1222-1224

“What’d I miss?” – Week of December 20th

As usual there were a lot of things that happened during the week, and not all of it was pharmacy or technology related. Here’s a quick look at some of the stuff I found interesting.
Continue reading “What’d I miss?” – Week of December 20th

Drug information resources

Below is a list of drug information resources for both mobile devices and online access. I’ve used most, but not all, of these resources and have found the mobile versions to be a valuable resource when you’re on the go. While it is possible to access the online versions of these resources via a smartphone, the mobile applications are designed with the smaller screen in mind and therefore, in my opinion, work better then the online versions when using a mobile device.

Let me know if I missed any. Also feel free to comment on your favorite.
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Lexi-comp making headway on drug information software for the Palm Pre

lexipretweetEarlier today Lexi-comp offered a sneak peak of their new drug information software for the Palm Pre. That’s exciting news for all you Palm Pre owners out there. Lexi-comp offers one of the most comprehensive drug information packages available and is certainly a favorite among pharmacists.

The Palm Pre is a great device to use as a peripheral brain for pharmacists because it allows you to keep several applications open at once. That’s a nice feature to have when you need to access something quickly.

The one thing I would ask Palm to do to improve the Pre is offer a form of the device in the image of the HTC HD2 with its massive screen. The screen on the current Pre is just a tad bit small for my taste. Even better would be if Palm would offer the device without 3G service like the iPod Touch. It’s just a thought.