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