LineUp by PDA Performance, is an application for the Palm OS that displays “Widgets”. What exactly is a Widget? It is a small almost “plugin like” interface that displays online or offline information (more about these Widgets in Part II of this review). LineUp is based on the code of Saguaro, the multitasking interface that PDA Performance is supposed to be coming out with in the future. LineUp comes in a 2.1MB PRC file, that you can install to either internal memory, or an expansion card. Upon launching LineUp, I was mildly surprised by how fast it launched considering its size. After launching it, you are presented with a empty screen.
Pressing the plus button brings up a list of currently installed Widgets (Widgets can be downloaded from here).
Selecting the Widget you want, then tapping Ok will open that Widget. One thing to note, is that most of the Widgets currently available pull news from websites, and thus require an Internet connection. You can also open another Widget, and scroll through them with the arrow buttons. When scrolling through them, LineUp displays some cool visual effects, which starts with a “zoom and fade in”, then the selected Widget kind of “slides in” from the right. Even though these effects are cool, I would really like to see them take a little less time, but maybe I’m just old-fashioned. Tapping the Gear button will open a popup list that will give all the options for the current Widget, and also some application-wide options (this pop-up is also available by tapping the Menu button on your device).
The interface of LineUp is rather cool, and we clearly see Saguaro’s roots in it. If you click a pop-up like the About ones, you can drag it around wherever you want, and as opposed the rest of the Palm OS, you can open a window, and still use what’s under that window, in this case the Widget.
At this time, it seems LineUp cannot be switched to Landscape view while you are in the application. If you do so, you get a distorted screen like this:
But when we switched to Landscape view before we launched LineUp, it displays as expected. We don’t know if it is a bug, or just an oversight, but we do hope that it gets fixed in future releases.
There are currently 23 Widgets available, and most of them are news-based. Meaning that, they are almost like little RSS readers that display news content from various websites (CNN, CNET, FOX, Digg, ESPN, ect.).
The font displayed can be changed on a per-Widget basis, and supports a wide range of sizes, we really liked this feature.
At this point in time, the fact that most of the Widgets are news-based, limits LineUps functionality, but PDA Performance promises us that more Widgets are going to be coming out soon, including a Weather and World Clock one. They have even said that there will be a Software Development Kit made available, so that 3rd party developers can make their own Widgets. We hope that this happens, because we would really like to see LineUps functionality increase, as we definitely think it has potential.
Cool interface (even if it is a little slow!)
Possibility of almost unlimited expandability with the addition of Widgets
You cannot specify which browser LineUp opens links in (We hope that this functionality is added to LineUp, because it opened the Universe browser on my device, and I would’ve preferred it opened Blazer.)
Landscape orientation didn’t quite work
Mostly news-based Widgets (we’d like to see more selection of available Widgets)
Flipping through Widgets was a little to slow for me (am I to impatient?)
Even though the Con list was longer than the Pro one, this is to be expected as this is a very new Application. I felt that the potential of LineUp is only limited by the amount of Widgets available for it, and overall I liked this product.
LineUp costs $30, and can be purchased from the PDA Performance Store.
Ryan Rix will be covering Part II of this review, which will go into greater detail about the Widgets available and their functions, including a soon-to-be-released Weather one, so stay tuned!