webOS "cards metaphor" appropriated for Android task manager [Video] | webOS Nation

webOS "cards metaphor" appropriated for Android task manager [Video] 103

by Nathan Mylott Mon, 25 Oct 2010 2:36 pm EDT

Itching Thumbs card style interface on Android

Perhaps the highest form of flattery is emulation. So too, it is ironic that although disappointingly few people take webOS seriously in the tech world today, somebody thought enough of it to borrow Palm's innovations and mimic gestures and the card metaphor on Android.

A new free task manager for Android called 'Itching Thumb' blatantly mimics the webOS card system. As seen in a video demonstration, you can now switch between open apps on Android with live thumbnail previews, nearly identical to the cards system Palm invented.

Using Itching Thumb, you can also launch apps by using custom made gestures, such as a G for Gmail. This take on app launching is quite a bit different than what we get on webOS, but we can't help but wonder if the heavy reliance on gestures in webOS inspired some additional gesturing from the Itching Thumb developers. Of course, it's worth noting that the gesture-letter-to-launch-app has been around in various incarnations for a while, like all the way back in the halcyon days of Palm OS.

It is also worth pointing out that after the initial iPhone, there were countless iterations of apps and themes on all platforms that attempted to mimic its minimalistic and simple but effective interface, which itself borrowed some ideas from the old Palm OS days. Apple never took the bait of the user interface patent lawsuit after this initial wave, though since they've fallen prey to the patent litigation bug.

While this free Android task manager takes a card from the webOS playbook, HP and Palm have bigger things to worry about than whether some minor developer is appropriating what is likely to become a common user interface concept (see MeeGo and the BlackBerry Playbook). Perhaps this is something that the webOS community will just have to shake our heads at, and point to as evidence of the brilliance of webOS, hmm?

Source: AppBrain; via: Android Central Forums


Cool! Perhaps an Epic switch won't be that bad if nothing awesome from palm happens at CES.

my thoughts exactly.

it kept freezing my Epic. its not user friendly, you can not get to where you can use any apps at all. and it uses A LOT of battery. i was getting 6-8 hours of hard use with my Epic with this app it dropped to 4-5 easily.

i am just dealing with the Epic until HP brings out their line up for next year and gets the apps i have to have.

i just prefer WebOS

Cool! Perhaps an Epic switch won't be that bad if nothing awesome from palm happens at CES.

I've already downloaded this on my Nexus. It works amazing as a Task Manager and the gesture based app launching is nice. It lacks some overall polish and the user experience is a bit choppy and not user friendly like the Android operating system. The only complaint I have is that Android OS still does not multitask and it's annoying.

Uh, Android's multitasking is a bit clumsy, but it's most certainly there.

It ain't multitasking unless it's true multitasking!!

One thing webOS still has over the competition.

The "true" multitasking bit is aimed at Apple's gimped multitasking in iOS, not Android. Heck, even WinMob 6.5 multitasked. webOS isn't nearly the first mobile OS to truly multitask, it just the best by far.

Oh no I'm talking about Android. At least on Froyo -- try selecting a contact from the contacts app, go to the web browser to check the latest scores on ESPN and switch back to the contacts app. Yeah, you're expecting to see that contact where you last left off to give him/her a call but NO! You're back in the main screen because there is no such thing as multitasking on Android. True multitasking is what I'm talking about, Palm is the only one that has it (from the current competent smartphones)

On my Epic, I tried your little experiment. Opened a contact, went to ESPN.com, then hit the back button, and I was back at the contact I opened up.

Could it be that you just don't know how to work Android? Hint: do a long-press of the home button to open the browser. I grant you it's not intuitive, but it does work.

Make sure you're using the standard contacts app and not touchwiz. If anything the android contacts app was modified by samsung so it can multitask. Which actually proves my point further: Fragmentation, inconsistency and not true multitasking. Don't mind me much, I'm just an opinionated, biased webOS developer. Android is a great operating system, it has it flaws though which I can't ignore as a web developer.

I'm very much willing to bet you're wrong, but I'm gonna hafta test this out for myself on as many Android devices as I can find, shooting for HTC, Samsung and plain Android, both new and old.

To make a guess, maybe the contacts app is open and running in the background, hence, multitasking, but Android manages its open apps so incredibly poorly that the only way to get back to the app is to relaunch it, thus bringing you back to the start. If true, it is still accurate to say Android truly multitasks, even if it does a crap job of managing it. But I bet even that's wrong.

tried it with the standard AOSP stock contacts app and it went strait back to the correct contact not the first. maybe check your task killer.

back to the topic, i tried this app as i missed multitasking on my old pre and its cool. a bit clunky though. hopefully they update.

It's good enough for most people and it's not keeping people from buying them in huge numbers and that's the only thing that matters.

Most people want a phone that takes pictures, browses the web. can download music and of course makes phone calls. Most people aren't phone experts or aren't in touch with their geeky-gadget side. And since Android seems to come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colors...it just seems like the perfect recipe for mass consumption.

not only that, it's shed it's geek, utilitarianism, to at least appear more glossy and appealing to the mass market.

i only think that if you're selling mostly the geeky gadget side and ignoring the media side, the play music, surf the web, take pictures, pick fantasy football teams, etc side of a phone you're advertising stuff a lot less people are looking for.

Like a Ford Mustang has airbags. But it barely get's mentioned in commercials. instead they show the car power sliding on dirt and revving engines cause that's what sells to the bulk of the buy usa, american muscle sort of crowd.

An F150 may have great saftey ratings, dual climate zones, and a great construction for the safety of your family in crashes but the commercials seem to show it towing something, climbing rocks of having somebody drop a pallet of bricks in bed. Cause that's what the people buying that want to see.

Accords, Volvos, they don't do that stuff, They show seat belts, families, safety ratings, side impact ratings, reliability awards cause that's what family sedan buyers care about.

It's no suprise that Apple's very successful marketing has highligted, things like video recording, video editing, facetime video chat, hd photos, Apps, games, Music playback, music purchasing, social networking. That stuff sells. Those are the big consumery things people like to do.

I sense a "Cease and desist" order from HP lawyers coming.

IP protection is, in this case, absolutely warranted- remember Teal OS for Palm's own Treo line????

If they didn't allow THAT, they certainly won't allow this!

You know Palm didn't invent cards, right?

Shhh! reality shall not be tolerated.

not to mention that there is an argument one, that you can't copyright the idea of cards as app switching, Second whether when done as cards that is is unique enough given that "user interfaces" in computer programs tend to get very narrow copyright protection. Not to mention pretty much every piece of software that switches apps shows some sort of image or icon when switching. And if there's basically one way to do it courts tend not to protect that. personally i think that's where they need to highlight, along with some of the other features like an elegant multitask and synergy, etc.

Your argument is invalid. They have a specific patent on the user interface... This app directly violates the patent.

There are several card type apps available on Android so this is not the only one.

If android just rips off all the things that make webOS great, then webOS will be dead because webOS can't compete with the hundreds of different phone form factors and thousands of android apps if it doesn't at least have a better OS.

Android can't rip off everything.If they copy everything it would be infringement.Plus lets say they ca copy some things,thats not enough to make it better.You can't make a pizza with only sauce and not dough or cheese.Then it's not a pizza.Even more it won't taste as good.

It's funny that you say this.

I ALWAYS order my pizza without cheese. I am lactose (and stupidity)* intolerant so it is absolutely better...for me and others like me.

I will leave you to see how this affects your analogy.

* - but that's another story

This not Androids doing this is a individual developers doings. There's also a Iphone type app manager also available on Android...it's all about making the phone yours.

RIM is working on that with QNX,

Jeez! That's just too much work. Glad I'm on an authentic multi-tasking OS.

That is SO a rip off. Not even close to how webOS manages cards though. Android to me just looks too sloppy. It seems you have to jump through all these different hoops to get to where you want to go. And all those double taps would be annoying.


Awesome! I'm going to try this out on my Epic. It'll be just like my old Pre, except about 1000 times faster.

ha lmao! I disagree 100% it will be no where near a pre.Nice try though.

Well, I own one launch day Pre, and one Epic. Take a wild guess which phone is in my pocket right now and which phone is in a drawer collecting dust.

I love WebOS, but I'm sorry, there is simply no contest between the devices. Don't try the Epic unless you're sure you're done with your Pre, because you'll never be able to look at your Pre again after you try the Epic.

It has some functionality that I wish Palm would look at (gestures would be cool) but yeah, I'm thinking the makers of this app might get a call from H/Palm.

Perhaps HP/Palm should get a patent on the cards metaphor. Ya know, like Apple did with pinch-to-zoom, except thaaat was retarded.

I downloaded it for the EVO, it's amusing, more of a parody for me. I haven't rooted it or side-loaded any apps but I've gotten way more App crashes than on my old Pre, which tends to annoy me than TMC error ever did(that went away with overclocking). Not to mention the OS just doesn't handle multitasking elegantly..

This affair with Android will come to an end before my 30 days are done, especially because my 3G connection is faster than my 4G connections.

Considering that Palm chose to beef up webOS' strengths instead of shore up it's weaknesses for 2.0, I would not be surprised in legal action from HP to protect its investment. It would have been a costly distraction for Palm before the acquisition, but the HP machine wouldn't skip a beat.

our gestures are much better. this looks more like an itching butt than thumb

All the Android people will be heralding this monumental achievement in mobile computing, and be completely oblivious to the fact that webOS launched with this feature.

All the webOS people will be heralding this monumental achievement in mobile computing, and be completely oblivious to the fact that Apple launched their mobile browser with this feature.

What is the state of multi-tasking on iOS? Oh yeah, it's one of those features that devs have to enable for their apps. Even then, iOS multi-tasking is nothing compared with webOS multi-tasking. Heck, the iPad doesn't even have any multi-tasking. Any pad using webOS will have true multi-tasking by default.

How did you get "devs" and "webOS" to show up together in the same paragraph? Can you do that with "users" and "webOS" as well? Better yet, get them to show up together in the real world and we can talk. In the meantime, keep playing the "true multi-tasking" card.

Hahaha so true, I just got my epic, and I am so mad I waited so long to get android. Almost everything is better on android except the "true multitasking". In a perfect world google would have bought palm and incorporated the best of both platforms. Pre 2 is DOA

Not I, don't need cards.

Interesting. The more smartphones develop, the more they will look like WebOS. It's true multitasking can't be beat. Even the more diehard iphone or Android fan will agree.

Cool but there's so much button tapping. What i really like about Palm is the native gestures. I don't have to tap, double tap, hold a button.... just swipe.

Their new motto should be "Just Type, Just Swipe... PAAAAAALLLMM" (that's when the masked guy comes through the screen like the old kool aid guy)

goatslacker likes this.

This is toooo funny!! My brother in law just came to my house to in his words 'throw true Andriod multitasking in my face' (oh I have a Sprint Pre overclocked to 800...he has an Evo). Sooo we sat down an went side by side on his 'true' multitasking app he got. What a joke this app is. While he's going through the clunky menus to set it my and I'm pointing out that my Pre just does it....with ease...butta!! So after an hour of him setting up his quick gestures and such he was ready. First test was launching the web (mind you he handicapped my quick launch bar)....so from the lock screens we both launch the web. Me...swipe up to unlock phone...type w...e...web app pops up then tap ....done. Him....unlock screen double tap some screwy button then search (mind you he had to preload these test launches first so they would be running) found web app...then tap and launch. Wow...i told him it would be easier to use the regular way instead of the app. He tried it and said you're right. So my next question was ......sooooo why do you need a biters app (fake) for mutitasking when it's seems easier to do it the original clunky way?? No answer and he deleted it....lmao.

classic story,lol. I'm pretty sure it would be like that with most phones especailly Androis.They have like 3 pages to it's home screen.Then they have a menu button that pops up at the bottom.So much to grow through to do something so simple.

hahaha... i cant wait for my android fanboy friend to show me this and for me to do the exact same thing u just did with him. its gunna b glorious... o and btw, why dont u have it clocked to 1ghz? its plenty stable and the battery consumption vs 800 is pretty much the same

Well idk why I'm not overclocked to 1ghz lets just say I want my launch day Pre to last as long as possible due to the for warning of faster speed = faster cpu death. Just giving myself a false sense of security.

no reason.....800mhz is fine for my needs.

so what do we call this a Pre-Droid wet dream? lol...was it designed by a Pre fanboy or a android fanboy or a mixture of both? lol

This makes me upset,ppl talk so much crap about palm because of hardware but don't get it that without software all you have is a lil box with speakers.Again this proves that webOS is the best.Not to mention that apple and Google tried to buy it.(palm that is) Palm has been doing this before iphone and android,so wy is it hard to believe they are better at it?

doesn't everyone emulate everyone? Like the first time i saw the card thing was really "control Alt Delete". And before i saw the "card metaphor" i saw Apple's Cover flow (before they bought it). I just wouldn't get bent out of shape over "blatantly mimmicking cards" cause i think cards mimmicks a few things that came before it too.

Yeah, and didn't Palm copy Iphone's video editing shorty after it debuted on the iphone...there's no denying that.

..lol , you show him how it's done, Wayne173!!!!! Now that's how you promote webos, or in the least how HPalm should.

I think companies buy Android OS because it cheap and plus Google licenses their OS.Thats why they are on so many devices. Being cheap and licensing their OS.What other companies do that? Iphone is not licensed,palm webOS isn't.If Apple or HPalm started to license their os alot of companie would ditch their os and buy those.Then they would be alot more phones coming out with WebOS and IOS. Case solved.

Hey, off topic for a sec...did you guys catch the article webos roundup posted? Looks like ZDNet ranked Palm Pre 2 in their top ten smartphones..theres a poll there too, so you can vote. Check it out. They ranked it 8.

Geez, you guys are just amazing. Here is an app, developed by a SINGLE PERSON and you are comparing it to something that Palm spent millions of dollars and most likely hundreds of thousands of man hours developing and then saying things like "it's choppy", "it's clunky", "doesn't have the polish".

Wow, just wow...

But the point is.....If Android is sooo superior and Palm WebOS doesn't compare (in most tech arenas) why do people try and copy it (webos). Even if it is a single dev. But now that I think of it.....HP!!!! If you are reading/listening or however you get your info....this is a great marketing op for you. Get someone to make a commercial with iPhony mutitasking, Andriods mutlitasking and this Andriod multitasking app with Webos doing ...you guessed it multitasking and the slogan is ' WebOS mutlitasking is as simple as one two three' ......the rest of the phone still showing how to get to the different apps then their screens blowing up.

Once again, wow. Who has ever said "Android is sooo superior and Palm WebOS [sic] doesn't compare"? Certainly not me. Especially when it comes to multi-tasking.

Sure Android has superior: number of apps in their store, hardware, marketing, user base, momentum, etc.

The only people who will say that one OS is "sooo" superior to another is most definitely a phan boy. Each OS has its owns pros and cons.

I was merely pointing out that everyone was criticizing this launcher like it was Samsung, HTC, or Google themselves that poured tons of money and effort into it. Sure it ain't as great as using a Pre and getting the real webOS feel, but it is accomplishing this metaphor quite well.

So true, I was all hyped up to by a droid (marketing). Then did some research & went with the pre plus. No regets or hadware envy. Just love this phone, especially webos!

You know what would be pretty impressive is a commercial showing the Pre 2 multitasking between a few 3D games. Start with Assasin's Creed, flip to Ground Effect, then Angry Birds, then back to Assasin's Creed, showing your character dying because you were too busy with other apps to fight back, throw away Assasin's Creed and go back to Ground Effect, showing your vehicle crashing because you flipped to another app, then back to Angry Birds just because. That should drive home the point that webOS does multitasking.

I want to try it on my Pre-, but I'm afraid it will freeze the phone.

And they still won't buy a Pre/Pixi because with Android and soon to be Wp7 you have choices...webos phones you only have two small girly like phones to chose from.

as an owner of both os's i can say i love them both. the problem with palm at the moment though is they dont have good developer support. this is quiet important on a smartphone. palm need apps greatly. one thing i noticed i do different with my pre and my evo is that when i show off my phone, for my palm i do a lot of os flaunting. but on my evo i show off all these awesome apps that i have, plus my evo hardware. to me this says, "hey, apps are what makes or breaks your device". so hopefully people will pick up the new devices and we can generate some developer interest in the platform.

also, everyone is not the same, if the customer doesnt like the available palm hardware they'll just move on to the next device. with android on the other hand, its not a forced "one size fits all". if you hate the slab w/o keyboard, you can just go for any of the other form factors that also include the the same os.

If it's choppy and clunky then how is that a unfair driticism? A single person can produce a quality product.

Palm spent millions of dollars and most likely hundreds of thousands of man hours developing and then saying things like "it's choppy", "it's clunky", "doesn't have the polish".



Never been impressed by Android.. I work in the tech field and I wouldnt be caught dead with it.. honestly it ranks 3rd (maybe 4th if I find win7 to be decent) webos, apple and then android or winmo, then blackberry.

The people don't always make good choices..we all know this... most go into vz and they sell them whatever they want to push. Very few have enough knowledge (lack of caring probably) to actually research phones on their own.

I want the one with the bigger G-B's

Yes the biggest GB's please!!! Hahaha

It's like what happened when computers started to be marketed to regular people. They just looked at the GHz and judged the computer based on that. Situation here is they look at the GHz and screen size.

yea this is just disgusting by android nd the develper... Lke honestly that was part of the reason I left android was bc of the interface nd multitasking.. I got my webos phone this summer bc I realized that it had THE best os.. Nd just so yuh guys noe, this is not the first time I've seen an app lke this on android.. But it's still disgusting.. People be original plz smfh

From what it looks like on the commercial, the Blackberry tablet has the same card system as WebOS too. Apparently there isn't a patent on this.

it is so unfair. I tell all my friends, but they just dont care. it is up to HP/PALM to flood the airwaves so that everybody knows that webOS will some day rule the world of electronics...dont tell topolsky that! ;)

That must be the worst demonstration video I have ever seen. What's it take him like 30 tries just to get the stupid app to open? FAIL

iOS jailbreakers can have it, too. Pro-Switcher works in tandem with Backgrounder.


But they do credit webOS. Gestures work the same way, it's pretty cool. It is what I use on my jailbroken first gen iPod touch.

Let me tell u guys i have all devices. The ipads proswitcher is junk. It is so buggy that you can only background a few things reliably. the rest will background but when you use something like the browser it will just forget about whats backgrounded and use the browser as a background. Plus even with non intense games like just backgrounding slacker and then a few other items will cause it to crash. I just tested this one on my girls EVO and its junk. Its all a doke by apple nerds and android people to say they have the best.. but they dont got the best.

What the video does not show is that you can also "Toss" the cards away like in WebOS to kill the app. I agree with everyone that WebOS multitasks like no other, however, android actually multitasks just as well, it is just not as intuitive and polished.

If Palm came out with hardware as stout as whats available with android (aka autofocus camera, compass, front facing cam, high res screens) and also the app catalog got populated with useful apps instead of all 3d games, Id love to make the switch back. There are just so many little (and big) things that amaze me every day about this Evo. And there are things that most likely WebOS will never be able to do that are very nice, ie Google earth, an awesome google maps app, skymaps, stellar voice command and recognition system. I know BFG maps is nice, but if youve used Maps on a 2.2 android you know palm/palm devs will likely never be able to compete with it.

WebOS can do it. The real question is if HPalm will include it as a native solution...

If HP believes any of the "card" apps for Android infringes on Palm patents, then HP absolutely needs to go after the developer and shut them down.

To say HP should just let little developers or anybody use their intellectual property is ludicrous and demonstrates a complete lack of understanding on how patents work. If you don't use it, you lose it pertains to enforcing copyrights so if HP doesn't actively pursue parties that are infringing, they will lose the ability to keep their patents.

Why, only a hand full of people would try this junk, most Android owners buy android for Android and don't want Webos.

If they did they would have a Pre/Pixi right now...I wouldn't put this on my Evo.

Whats sad is the ones that are curious about webos will try it and base their experience of this app with how the real Webos is and will never try the real thing because of this app.

The Android market is so big you have to really be looking to find this app and chances are most will never see this app unless a friend tells them or its featured somewhere.

sfm Evo

I agree that our GPS is the weakest link though. And i hate that about palm. They really need to light a fire under a makers ass like tomtom or route66.. heck anybody.. just some option for real turn by turn gps. Id like to see wase come to palm in a very bad way.

I think Sprint Nav works pretty well, but standalone apps would be great. It would be nice to have a GPS app that can work without a cell signal. It would also be nice for people who are on carriers that charge extra for Telenav.

Right now I'd like to see them get Verizon to uncripple aGPS, especially on the Pre 2 as it's only available on Verizon.

Tried it on my evo. Terrible. I switched from the Pre to the Evo for better build quality.

Definitely a more solid product, with a weak OS.

I miss webOS for sure. But the speed of the evo shows - even for things as simple as loading web pages, streaming music, etc.

But back to the point - this webOS card emulator sucks.

Lot's of better hardware choices out there today.

Clearly, no better OS choices than WebOs.

Hmm what makes a phone good for most? Is it the hardware or OS? Some users just want a phone with a huge screen, good camera, lots of wifi thingy's and a dozen or so of those GBz. Like ordering doughnuts. And that's OK!

Seems like hardware would be the easy part of the equation. I would bet Palm HP figured this out and will be coming out with the hardware that will match what they have in best OS with WebOs.

Then again I remember the original Palm Pre commercials and the Borg Queen, the bit about housewives can use it to organize their crazy schedule and lastly the name Pixi, are you kidding me. The first thing I think of when I hear Pixi is Pixi\Fairy dust. Good thing I have a Pre and not a Pixi. lol

Hm, they somehow managed to rip off (or VERY closely emulate) webOS Card View and Apple Cover Flow.

On a side note, why is navigating through Android so damn messy?

yeah, I've got pro switcher on my jb ipod touch 3rd gen and it works much the same way

I think it's cool. But palm did stop teal os; hp may stop this too. (oh ya, teal os > itching thumb).
Is itching thumb a paid app?

So, uh..

You have to hold on a card, and then tap on a close button? I'll stick with just flicking it away, thanks.

One thing that is really nice with WebOS is the intelligent use of gestures. This means a LOT on a smaller device that you use on the go. You need to be able to quickly interact with the interface without accidentally hitting the wrong widget. Tap-hold, then search and peck at buttons? No thank you.

My fear is that WebOS will start to try to emulate android/iphone rather than remain the far superior interface.

Yeah, it's a ripoff, but so what - almost all commercial device UI design is ripped off from somewhere.

I think this guy needs to be encouraged. I would really like to have a lot of android users exposed to the Palm cards metaphor - then when they see it done well (i.e. by Palm) they should be ripe for the taking.

I'm not sure if Palm did invent "cards" but I have to say they dam near perfected it! And the fact that others are trying to emulate it just shows the potential that webos has. If they step it up I'm sure Palm will be number one hands down. It's certainly number one for me. With a great operating system already, and accompanied by the awesome homebrew community Palm will leave ANYONE far behind.

I just have to say good job to the devs on this... albeit it has some ways to go and it loos greatl but, none the less, it's better than the android task manager/UI... now only if you could make it the default. I still like my Pre (4th one already since it lunched last year in June) but wish I could use it more for work as an IT admin, being able to RDP/Citrix/XenDesktop and use tools like my colleagues with their androids and iphones. Specially a browser that is more compatible.

doesn't Droid have their own website? Seriously, you left Palm and got a Droid phone. Why are you still coming over to (PRE)central? Droid fans are like those crazy girls from high school you dump them but they keep calling you and coming back.

Because some of these so called Droid fans still own Pre's/ Pixi's and the last time I checked it didn't say that once you buy a phone from a competitor your membership was nil and void.

It's also amusing to see how wrong and utterly uninformed Pre zealots can be.

Why buy an imitation when u can get the real thing......
Would u rather all natural 34-C or implants?

haha! 2.0 will be out so soon with NEW (i.e., HP trademarked) stuff >.

Iphone, Androids, are coping ideas from the best. I'm not mad at them. If you can't beat them > join them.(Copy cats) :-D

Just like the Webos copied Iphone's video editing shortly after it debut on the Iphone. I don't see cards on any OEM Android device.

Don't a lot of you guys theme your pre's to look like the ios or android? This is a pretty humorous discussion.

I'm glad I dont have to "kill" my webOS cards. It sounds kinda mean.

@Xacto01 U actually do have to "kill" your webos cards.. What do u think swiping them up does?? lol