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The webOS Wish List: TouchPad gestures, darnit 13

by Derek Kessler Fri, 09 Mar 2012 6:50 pm EST

The webOS Wish List: TouchPad gestures, darnit

If there's one thing that webOS and the Palm Pre ushered into maturity it was the gesture-based user interface. While gestures had been a part of modern mobile operating systems like Android and iOS, they'd only been present in places like the app launcher or widgets panels. webOS kicked that all up a launch, using gestures to go back, to go into multitasking mode, to switch between apps, close apps, delete items, open menus, and much more. It was a genius use of gestures and it gets so engrained in your use of webOS that your author often finds himself trying to swipe up into card view on non-webOS devices.

The TouchPad ditched a lot of that when webOS 3.0 could have taken things up a notch (or ten). The multitasking gestures are still there, and for hardware and usability reasons the back gesture went away, but as I noted back in August, there's no reason that webOS couldn't have adopted plenty of new gestures. Be it swiping in from the sides to switch apps (a feature now in use in BlackBerry's PlayBook OS and Microsoft Windows 8), two finger swipes to go forward and back in the browser, and so much more. None of these would be necessary for anybody's use of webOS, unlike the Playbook which is almost dependent upon knowing gestures, but for users that do know the gestures will make webOS even faster and more fluid to use. So, HP, you're working on Open webOS 1.0. Give the gestures are bit of love, will ya?

Have your own thoughts on this webOS Wish List entry? Of course you do - the comments are below. Surely you have your own ideas as to what ought be on the webOS wish list, and so we've created a forum thread just for what has proven to be an awesome discussion.

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13 Comments

Gestures on the Touchpad and webOS 3.x would be a real winner. A real winner.

What I would like, as well, is a more customizable keyboard...iOS enables a keyboard split so it can be used with thumbs only.

I have a real problem typing correctly with the keyboard on either of our Touchpads...is it just me?

I don't have a horrible time typing on the touchpad, but I would much rather type on a physical kb, this is one of the reasons why I haven't left webOS for another smartphone and I own the BT keyboard.

For the split keyboard there is a nice patch if you homebrew that is a pretty quick an easy install if you can follow instructions, I have been using it for a while now. Easy KB switching in webOS is awesome, I switch between 3 different setups, without ever even leaving the keyboard or app.

Well, how do you do it? How can you switch between 3 different setups without ever even leaving the keyboard or app?
I'd like the TouchPad to have the nice thumb keyboard that is available through homebrew in portrait mode and the standard one in landscape mode. If I have to switch manually, fine, but switching between the two easily would be a very nice thing.
-pac

I think webOS has kicked up much things and then inexplicably they kind of leave it aside.
The Touchpad has some gesture to bring up the app menu but definitely lacks the fluid performance that differentiates webOS from the rest!
I have to say though that for a gesture area like we know it in every webOS phone to be adapted to the TouchPad it has to be more with hardware (gesture area) than webOS itself.
Hopefully it'll be adapted in the next -as Meg said she loved to see another- webOS TouchPad 2.0.

I agree. Implementation of something like a two or three finger left swipe to emulate the back gesture would have gone a long way towards compatibility with older apps not updated with back buttons.

I was surprised last year when I heard that the Touchpad DID NOT support gestures. Unfortunately, I suspect that its absence is another bungle by HP because they were trying to draw people away from the ipad by mimicking it (more).

To me, gestures are not only part of the charm of WebOS, but they also add functionality (multi-tasking fluidity). I've never even hand my hands on a Touchpad, but I simply can't imagine WebOS without them!!!

- Sent from my Pre- (Pre3 patiently waiting to be activated) :)

i have a 10 digits on my hands, yet most all tablets are designed to be used primarily with 1 digit (pinch to zoom is the exception). Lame!

Aren't there a few Preware patches that add gestures, at least to the browser?

Totally agree. I love gestures!

I agree, it was the very thing that defined the OS - to leave it out was baffling. I bought a PlayBook, and it's exactly what this should have been, fun, intuitive and easy to navigate. I've since bought another TP, but still...

Yes that's a nice dream. Meanwhile let's see if HP can release a version of the current webos source that can be built and installed on a device. If they can't do that, then what is the point of any new release?

Some of us screamed pretty loudly in the developer forums (maybe I was the loudest) and we were essentially ignored and told to shut up. There was some BS excuse that gestures confused the average user. Oh, really? My experience with "average users" differs. I think HP executives had an experience with Android, or most likely iPhone, and THEY may not have understood gestures - especially if they never touched a webOS device. Grrrrrr....