Checking out the Galaxy Nexus Open webOS port virtual keyboard [video] | webOS Nation

Checking out the Galaxy Nexus Open webOS port virtual keyboard [video] 20

by Derek Kessler Wed, 31 Oct 2012 3:01 pm EDT

Checking out the Galaxy Nexus Open webOS port virtual keyboard

Having successfully completed the build process for the Open webOS alpha on the Galaxy Nexus, I knew that the next time it came around I'd have a better idea of what to do. Mostly because I'd already failed a dozen times before. This time around, armed with a modicum of knowledge, I was able to complete the build process for the latest version of WebOS Ports' alpha without running into any bumps.

The reason for running the latest version of the build was to check out the latest modifications made. While behind-the-scenes bits have been improved, what we were most interested in checking out the user interface improvements and the the virtual keyboard discovered and implemented by Josh Palmer (known around the webOS sphere as ShiftyAxel).

Palmer's modifications have brought back some of the classic bits of the webOS smartphone user interface, including rounded corners and the bottom-aligned notifications bar. He's also tweaked it so app icons appear at a size more appropriate for the Galaxy Nexus's screen (it's worth restating that the Open webOS released to open source was designed for TouchPad-size screens). But the new virtual keyboard was what we really wanted to check out, especially after tooling around with the practically fun-sized keyboard shrunken down from the TouchPad.

The made-for-smartphones keyboard is notably taller than the shrunken TouchPad keyboard. It's also been rearranged, losing the top row of numbers to a more traditional spot hidden behind a '123' key with other special characters. The layout has a lot in common with other smartphone virtual keyboards on the market, including the iOS and Android keyboards. A lot of the old TouchPad functionality is there, including pressing and holding on keys to bring up alternate versions of that character.

There's also a significant visual change to the layout, dropping the faux gray keys of the TouchPad, in fact, dropping most of the keys altogether. The dominant color of the keyboard is black, with white characters set in rows across that inky blackness (with the Galaxy Nexus' AMOLED screen the it's really quite the contrast). The shift and backspace keys (bookending the second-from-the-bottom-row) and the 123/ABC, forward slash/comma, space bar, question mark/period, and Enter keys (the entire bottom row) have lighter outlines with dark gray fill, but they're the only keys that stand out.

Overall, the keyboard's not half bad. It's worth repeating that this is alpha testing level stuff right now, so the fact that it's not perfect shouldn't be held against anybody. The letters are nicely spaced and sized, though it takes some getting used to typing without a grid, there's something subliminally disconcerting about the lack of key outlines, but it's easy enough to get used to. Plus it's just so damn sexy.

With these interface modifications it's a lot easier to see using Open webOS on the Galaxy Nexus as a full time operating system. There's still a lot of work to be done, though, as the Galaxy Nexus port is still lacking a lot of hardware integration and still needs serious optimizations in some parts. Oh, and there's that little matter of it needing to be booted from and tethered to an Ubuntu computer to work in any fashion. But progress is progress.


Nice! Good to see progress.

There are lots of people still following along for each milestone. Keep up the good work.

Is there going to be away to take ios or android, autocorrect algorithm? My touchpad virtual keyboard sucks big ones...


is that like the Text Assist on webOS 2.2.4? don't you have that on a TP? it's on my Pre3, but i have to turn it off it increases my SMS character count.

I would like to re-iterate my offer to purchase a functional webos phone from webosports for $100 over the cost of the unit itself plus perhaps a monthly user fee for ongoing support.

If there are enough people out there to make this worthwhile I think some enterprising individual or group will step up to meet the market.

i wish. i'm struggling to keep webOS for daily use. i had a franken pre2 and dropped it, gorilla glass my arse; and i've tried two Pre3s, a new one and a used on on ST and T-Mo, but i'm still daily using my 9th Sprint Pre- because it's the only one that will work w/o bugs annoying the crap out of me. and that phone has been in a hot tub.

but, it also fits in my pocket nicely, is super light, and is still a sharp looking little round phone, not a tiny computer monitor rectangle.

does anyone remember when phone handsets were shaped to feel natural on your ear and in your hand????? y'no, like old skool Bell telephones? i dont want a big square. i like the river pebble!

Man it's looking so good.

Dammit, why am I so attached to a freaking Operating system...

This is gunna tak a long ass time ;(. WebOS is darn dead :(

I hope this can somehow magically optimised for current webOS phone all the way from the Palm Pixi to the Pre3

WebOS internals!

yeah putting it in the pre3 would be good

but man the galaxy nexus is looking preatty friken awsome with the rounded corners and all I think the keyboard black/white keyboard looks great I really love the .com key its esential so I hope they incorporate it some how but I think it looks great

umm, the WiFi is working? :O and why is it needed to be hooked up to a computer? PowerManagement?

I don't know the specifics of why, but not everything is on the computer. More than once I've unplugged it from the computer, had it work for a little while, and then it failed to turn back on.

Very encouraging. I hope LG is paying attention.
LG you will have me as a customer if release a webOS phone in next six months.

relax puppy its not a heart attack....daddy is just having another webOS moment :-)

Awesome! I know what my next phone will be. Can we also put it on the Nexus 4? That charging orb thingy looks pretty cool. If not looks like I'll be getting one of those modded Nexus 3 back covers so I can use the touchstone.

The lightbar is a MUST to make webOS like it was on the phones. I think it was so stupid of HP to make the Touchpad have the physical button vs the lightbar. I loved swiping back and across to switch apps. If they can integrate that for all webOS hardware built into the screen (like nexus does with their buttons), it would work in portrait and landscape and always be there!

I own a Nexus on Sprint, but don't see it making it to CDMA anytime soon, but I will follow the progress as usual in hopes of owning a webOS phone again that gets supported. This will likely only happen if LG tries at it if all plans out with the tv, etc.

But in webOS world, I dont plan on anything going too good as it seems it should.

Derek, how much time it takes to boot on current state?

I don't like this. I usually use "@" button in order to login

This is fantastic! Gentlemen, proceed. Let us know how we can help.