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LunaCE 4.9.10 Alpha vastly improves cursor placement and brings back the wave la

It's been a little while since we last checked in on the LunaCE project, and things are coming along quite nicely. The latest version of the alpha software based on the open source webOS Community Edition includes a number of new features over the already awesome stuff included. To recap, already in the LunaCE alpha the last time we looked were larger dashboard widgets, pinch-zoom card management and mini cards, tabbed card stacks, and app switching gestures.

The latest version, 4.9.10, adds a 'virtual trackball' for improved (i.e. any) cursor placement. The cursor mover is placed on the top right corner of the keyboard, moving over the button row to make room. Moving around the cursor is as simple as placing a finger on the little ball and dragging away. The further away you move, the further the cursor moves in that direction. The trackball is so nicely implemented that there are even little directional arrows around it that softly light up in the direction you've dragged. Essentially the virtual trackball emulates the arrow keys from a physical bluetooth keyboard, which means you can also hold down the virtual Shift key to select text by dragging. It's not quite the text selection we wanted, but it's certainly better than nothing. Far better, in fact, than the old hunt-and-tap we've had to deal with up to now.

And making its triumphant return to webOS is the wave launcher. The popular quick launcher from the first version of webOS was omitted from webOS 3.0, much to the consternation and confusion of many webOS fans. Feeling that same frustration, the webOS Ports developers working on LunaCE set forth to resurrect the old standard and have done just that. The new wave launcher is implemented by swiping up along the side of the screen, from which point you can drag out to the quick launching app of your choice. And by the side of the screen, we mean the side - go just a fraction of an inch in and you'll be swiping up into card view (a gesture that's particularly awesome with the fluid motion option).

The cursor-moving virtual trackball is enabled by default upon installing LunaCE. It's really not something anybody would have any reason to turn off anyway, unless you like being eternally frustrated while trying to place a cursor in text you're hoping to edit. The wave launcher, along with many of the other headline LunaCE features, is enabled or disabled through Tweaks.

The standard "this is Alpha software, tread with caution" warning still applies, though in our experience over the past few weeks LunaCE has been a pleasure to use. It seems to be just as stable as a stock webOS installation and certainly is much smoother and easier to use, thanks both to optimizations and the new features it brings along. If you're wanting to test out the latest version of LunaCE, all you have to do is follow the instructions at testing.preware.org to install.