The HP Veer uses GPS for turn-by-turn directions in the Google Maps app, but only for text directions. Our US test phone included the AT&T Navigator app for voice navigation, although we're not sure which treats the UK version will offer up.
Unfortunately, the Veer turned out to be one of the worst mapping phones we've tested in some time, mostly because the screen is just too small.
The only scenario we found where it worked for navigation was either in the car using the dedicated app for voice directions (so we didn't have to look at the screen) or for walking (and squinting) at the phone for map directions.
Maps also pulled up rather slowly on the screen – especially in a crowded area with a complex intersection. The touchscreen is just not that responsive, so swiping around on the screen to see your location is difficult and almost unusable at times.
While the mapping features run too small on the screen, the GPS chip did lock on to our location quickly – as long as we placed the device near a windshield in the car or were walking around with a clear view of the sky.
The App catalogue on the HP Veer is packed with thousands of apps. The problem is that many of these apps are on the fringes of usefulness – there's no Twitter app, few compelling games and a lingering sense that Palm hasn't attracted any truly innovative apps.
Scanning through the catalogue, you'll see mostly unknown apps and wonder why iPhone developers haven't ported their wares.
In fact, the only few apps we found that seemed worth downloading included Facebook, Yelp, Angry Birds and about a half dozen other less interesting apps.
HP/Palm includes a few bundled apps, but there are just not enough to make the phone seem as if it can compete with Android phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S2, or the iPhone 4. As with the BlackBerry PlayBook, there are a lot of promises about apps coming up – maybe there will be a Skype client someday.
It's easy to download and install apps using the App catalogue, but the HP Veer has fallen behind the competition in this area as well. There's no way to find apps on your computer and easily send them to the device as you can now do with the Android Market.
Third party apps integrate onto the phone through Just Type, but this functionality is still not fully realised. We'd be more impressed if the Just Type feature recognised that you were typing a status update by parsing what you type and automatically suggesting a Facebook post. Instead, you can manually select an option to post what you type on Facebook.
Apps are organised logically into separate screens. The standard apps are not amazingly innovative, but social networking integration is handy. It's great to type in your Google account once and then see all of your meetings appear on the calendar app automatically, without any extra steps.