A buck-forty-three for the new Neato! Palm Pre app today

Posted By on August 30, 2010

Every once in a while, the point of sale technique works on me … and today was the day. I coughed up $1.43 for a Palm Pre app called Neato! It’s a simple little application that runs on the webOS smartphone and receives webpage links, copied text and maps from a computer browser using a javascript bookmark button (installed on Chrome and Firefox).

neato_googlemap

Once installed and running on the Pre, the bookmarklet added to the browser bar can be clicked to send the page or text to the registered smartphone … so as long as the app Neato! is running in the background AND the screen is active (battery saving feature). The current productive use that I’ve found is with maps; I often look something up while at the desk and with a single click can quickly send it to the phone before heading out of the office.

A second use is to send a highlighted bit of text that contains an name and/or phone number and send it to the phone. One click and it is waiting to be used or copied to my contacts or calendar (slightly easier than adding to Google Contacts or Calendar and hoping it syncs before I need it). Nevertheless, I’d like to see a bit more two way communication (ie. phone to computer) and an archiving feature that saves and perhaps edits previous items. The app works easy with YouTube clips and photos/images too.

From the “How to” instruction within the app

neato! is pretty simple to set up, but it does take a few steps. From the main app card, tap the "Generate URL" button. The app will then display a URL that looks like this:
http://zhephree.com/neato/id/a1b2c

Visit that URL on your computer’s web browser. Do not visit it on your phone.

The web page that is displayed on your computer will give you a blue link. Drag that link to your web browser’s bookmark bar. Now that you have the bookmarklet "installed" in your browser, you can swipe the main app card away on your phone. Do not close the dashboard notification. It needs to be running for neato! to work. Now you can click the "neato!" bookmarklet in your browser and either the URL of the site will be sent to your phone, or the text that is selected on the web page.

neato_screenshotNote: when your phone’s display turns off, neato! disconnects. It will reconnect when your phone’s display turns back on. neato! does this to conserve battery power when the phone is not in use.

neato! faq

How can I have Google Map links open in Sprint or VZW Navigator instead of the Google Maps app?

neato! uses webOS’s default apps to launch special URLs, such as Google Maps URLs. To have them open in Sprint or VZW Navigator, open the application Launcher. Tap the "Launcher" menu in the upper left corner of the screen and select "Default Applications". In there, change "Directions" to your carrier’s navigation app.

Sometimes text won’t send to my phone from a web page.
There’s a limitation in the length of text that can be sent.

Currently, small snippets of text around 120 characters can be sent to your phone. There’s also a bug where if there is a carriage return in your text selection, neato! won’t get the message. A fix is on the way.

Why does the neato! icon have to stay in the notification area?
This is the nature of webOS. Apps cannot truly run in the background for more than 60 seconds without having some sort of window or notification open.

Apps like the Facebook app, or your favorite Twitter app aren’t running in the background. They actually quietly open every few minutes, check for new data, and then either display a notification, or close. The problem with this for neato!’s purpose is that the minimum amount of time this can happen is 5 minutes. This would completely break the instantaneousness of neato!. So, unfortunately, there is no way neato! can currently run without an icon in the dashboard and still be allowed in the Palm App Catalog.

If I doctor my phone, will neato! still work?

Yep! neato! uses your phone’s device id to calculate your special URL and your custom bookmarklet, so as long as you have the same phone, your bookmarklet will still work. If you do get a new device, just tap the "Generate URL" button on your new device and get your new bookmarklet URL.

Can I send stuff from my phone to my computer instead?

Not yet! But plans are in the works to make this happen. You’ll get an update on when this happens.

Comments

  • Robert Dowd

    I’ve been reluctant to purchase many apps for my phone but can see that this would be one I would like. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I’m thinking about upgrading to a Palm phone. Would you recommend it?

  • Robert Dowd

    I’ve been reluctant to purchase many apps for my phone but can see that this would be one I would like. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I’m thinking about upgrading to a Palm phone. Would you recommend it?

  • http://richcorbett.us RichC

    Robert,

    As much as I do like webOS and the petite Palm Pre for a powerful pocketable phone, I’d encourage you to look at the Android models that are now on the market. Lots of variety and the user base (and therefore application market) continues to expand. Unless HP gets serious in kickstarting Palm hardware, I’ll most likely switch to Android. That said, I really do like my Palm Pre … it does everything in a small package that I need … except make it a full day without charging the battery.

  • http://richcorbett.us RichC

    Robert,

    As much as I do like webOS and the petite Palm Pre for a powerful pocketable phone, I’d encourage you to look at the Android models that are now on the market. Lots of variety and the user base (and therefore application market) continues to expand. Unless HP gets serious in kickstarting Palm hardware, I’ll most likely switch to Android. That said, I really do like my Palm Pre … it does everything in a small package that I need … except make it a full day without charging the battery.

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