If there’s one app for the TouchPad that you’ve heard almost everyone talk about, it’s Glimpse from Inglorious Apps. It’s been called beautiful. It’s been called brilliant. It’s been called amazing.
We’ll just call it our very first“Top Pick” app for the HP TouchPad.
Sure, heaping this sort of praise this early in a review leaves a lot to live up to, but read on and we’re pretty sure you’ll agree. We’ve split our extensive review into two parts: a 12-minute video overview, followed by our extensive writeup.
Glimpse is one of those applications that you really need to see to understand. Once all of us here at WOR saw and used it, we were blown away.
What Is Glimpse?
Actually explaining Glimpse could be one of the hardest challenges of this particular review, simply because Glimpse does so many different things. While it’s a single app, it actually several in one, displayed in separate panels. You can choose from a notepad, RSS reader, Twitter app, YouTube player, web browser, weather app, calendar, and calculator… and this is just the beginning, as the Inglorious Apps has stated more widgets and app integration are in the works.
Currently, Glimpse has a configurable 1, 2, or 3-panel view; two smaller widget windows on the left and one larger window that takes up the majority of the screen. You can mix and match widgets in any variety or configuration within the app, and you can choose to view either 1, 2, or all 3 panels at once. For example: let’s say you wanted to keep track of the weather in the top left, have a YouTube player in the bottom left and a web browser in the main pane. All you need to do is select those widgets and Glimpse matches your desired configuration. For Twitter-holics like us, multiple panes allow you to view multiple accounts, simultaneously! That’s right boys and girls; you can have up to three different Twitter accounts open all at the same time. That’s pretty sweet. [You can also access multiple accounts just from one panel/widget/thingamajigee. -Ed]
Unlike a traditional widget that only provides a glorified shortcut or minimized view of the application, Glimpse’s widgets are more like “mini-apps.” And by “mini” we only mean to imply that they’re small, not lacking. The web browser widget, for example, is a fully-functional web browser! YouTube, Twitter, calculator and calendar widgets all work like the “regular” versions. Right now there are over a dozen different widgets you can enable or disable depending on you personal use.
One of the most customizable features of Glimpse is setting up RSS feeds. Inglorious Apps provides a healthy selection of pre-installed RSS feeds for you to choose from, like Yahoo, CNN and more. You can also add your own RSS feeds quickly and easily, provided you have the feed info. You can name your custom feed anything you wish and in the end makes for a very inviting experience.
If we had to nitpick (really, this is minor), we’d take slight issue with the way feeds are deleted from Glimpse. The way the feed selection window is set up, it almost makes you think that you should be able to slide a feed to the left or right, unveiling the “Delete”/”Cancel” window that we’ve become accustomed to, similar to what you’d find in other webOS apps. None exists. It’s not a deal breaker but a patch or update that would add this functionality would be nice.
Just like the RSS feeds, the Twitter setup is quite easy. In a matter of minutes we had all of our accounts set up and running like a charm. It was pretty cool to have multiple accounts up and running. From within the preferences screen you can select how frequently your feeds will update, allowing you to decide if it’s more important to preserve some battery life or get your updates more frequently.
Update: It seems webOS 3.0.2 has borked auto-update functionality from within Glimpse and other Twitter apps like Spaz HD. This has been confirmed by Inglorious Apps and they’re looking into it.
Daily Usage… From the Guys
We’re all different here at webOSroundup [Thank Gawd -Ed]… so we all use Glimpse a little differently. Check out our usage cases below.
I like to use either Google Voice or G+ Mobile in the primary right pane, with my Twitter feed in the upper right, and the WOR feed in the bottom left. It’s also good for streaming a podcast or two while following along in an RSS feed in two different panes.
Dan: I use Glimpse depending on the “mode” that I’m in. If I’m in “full-on webOS junkie mode,” I have my favorite tech RSS feeds in one column, my Twitter in another, and run Yammer in the browser in the third. For work, I have the calculator in one panel and Epocrates in the browser in another. At home, I run the weather, Youtube, and browser. … Okay you got me… I made up those last two “modes” and am just always in “full-on webOS junkie mode.”
I have a confession: Glimpse is the app I use more than any other app on my TouchPad currently. It just does so many things, it’s truly awesome. My default setup is to have my @Gary_WOR Twitter feed open in the main pane and two RSS feeds open in the left panes. Throughout my day I’ll toggle through different feeds depending on what I am looking for information on, and with Glimpse it is quite easy to do. Normally I’ll have a sports feed open in one pane with ah, um, uh.. Big Brother updates in the top pane. It’s for my wife, really. Seriously. I mean it. Ok, so it’s for me, sue me. Having this setup, Twitter, Sports and BB, has really been awesome for me, especially with the baseball trade deadlines and football lockout news that has been going on lately. It keeps me up-to-date at, well, a glimpse. I wasn’t a big RSS feed user before installing Glimpse but now I can’t see not having it on my TouchPad. Glimpse is so intuitive, so user-friendly and so feature-packed, it feels more refined than I expected. The folks at Inglorious Apps have outdone themselves and deserve props here. Short of certain avian-inspired games I have rarely seen a single app that has caused someone to go out and purchase a product, phone or tablet.
If this doesn’t drive my point home, nothing will: I’ve shown videos of Glimpse to several folks (before I had a TouchPad to demo it myself) and a few of them went out to purchase TouchPads just from the Glimpse demo. At $5 it’s not the cheapest app but for what it does, $5 is a steal. As I said at the beginning of this review, if you have a TouchPad you need to spend the money and get Glimpse; it’s just that good.
Incredible combination of functionality and ease of use
Awesome Twitter client
Option to view links in Glimpse or in a separate browser window
No dedicated Facebook widget (although you can use the Web Widget for now)
Calendar app doesn’t integrate with webOS calendar app
Swipe to delete feeds in the RSS window would be nice
Glimpse is a great sign of what webOS 3.0 and the TouchPad are both capable of. Inglorious Apps is off to a fantastic start, and we hope they continue development on Glimpse with more widgets in the pipeline. If you have a TouchPad, you need Glimpse, end of story. Top Pick.