Personalization is not a myth. I’ve seen it.
When it comes to webOS, personalization has long been one of the biggest complaints by both reviewers and consumers. While webOS has excelled in bringing to life a sleek, practical and fun operating system, customization and personalization have seemingly never been a strong suit. Aside from changing the background picture, most webOS devices look and feel the same in terms of application icon display.
For those of you who do not have or are new to webOS, there are two locations for finding and accessing application icons. The first is known as the Quick Launch bar and it is pre-installed on the home screen with the following five application icons: Telephone, Email, Contacts, Calendar and Launcher. The Launcher is the second and more expansive location for applications. The Launcher consists of three screens that can be navigated through by swiping right and left, and these screens hold various pre-loaded applications as well as any downloaded applications. For the most part, the format is straight-forward and in my past experience, fairly structured.
A few weeks ago, my entire smartphone world as I knew it changed when I noticed something rather obscure. I turned on my Palm Pre Plus just like any other day, but this morning proved to be different. I was sure that the order of the icons on my Quick Launch bar was rearranged. How bizarre? Initially (and foolishly) I dismissed the notion. However, as the days marched on since then, I occasionally noticed further rearrangements. At this point I knew I wasn’t crazy, but I couldn’t help but wonder what was going on. Did I somehow stumble onto something significant? Was I actually moving around my icons? And if I was, how much movement was possible?
As installed, the Quick Launch bar was only somewhat useful to me personally. I relied on the Telephone and Email icons constantly, so having them right on the home screen was a clear benefit. However, I rarely used my Calendar and never touched the Contacts icon directly, as Universal Search locates contacts much easier and faster. So when it came down to it, two of my five home screen icons were throw aways and therefore a serious waste of valuable real estate. In the past, I just accepted this and ignored the unused icons, but all of that was about to change.
Intent on figuring out the mystery behind my sporadically rearranging icons, I began to play around with my Pre Plus. I unfortunately came up with nothing. The icons would not move on command and clearly my sheer desire was not enough. Thanks to some always helpful internet searching, I learned that not only can I move icons around on the Quick Launch bar and Launcher, individually, but also that I can move icons between the Quick Launch bar and Launcher.
For those of you like me that may not have known about this, here’s the gist:
To move icons around on the Quick Launch bar, just hold down on the icon you wish to move until it highlights, which is displayed by a glowing circular border around the icon. Once it is highlighted, you can drag it to any of the first four positions. The Launcher, which is located to the far right, is not movable. These same principle apply to moving icons around in the Launcher, both up and down in a single screen or left and right between screens.
Taking customization a step further, you can also move icons between the Quick Launch bar and Launcher. You need to first open the Launcher and then free up a space on the Quick Launch bar by highlighting an icon and dragging it to the Launcher. Once you have freed up a space, you can then highlight and drag any icon from the Launcher to the Quick Launch bar.
Now, mystery solved, my most used applications are on the Quick Launch bar - Telephone, Email, Messaging, Web and Launcher. Bye bye unused icons! Not only do I finally feel like I have the ability to personalize my Pre Plus in a way that I had long since given up on, but also my daily smartphone interactions are much easier and more satisfying. Looking back, I can’t believe that I spent all of those months staring at useless icons on my home screen and that I just accepted, albeit misguidedly, that personalization was not possible on my Palm.