Android Central

Last week the Samsung Galaxy Nexus became some kind of Frankensteinian abomination when the recently open-sourced webOS was shoehorned inside. Already the beast is looking a little better now that the developers have managed to mock up a gesture area at the bottom of the screen. As you can tell in the video, things are still very much a work in progress.

Of course, since the Galaxy Nexus doesn't have any capacitive buttons, the software had to create a row of pixels along the bottom to detect gestures. Presumably, that same row will be usable for the old forward and back gestures eventually, but one thing at a time.

Google Chrome has already borrowed the idea of virtualized border gestures for switching tabs, while others, like RIM, went hog-wild with gesture areas in the PlayBook. While we're busy giving webOS some credit, Touch to Share between the TouchPad and Pre 3 was a solid precursor to Android Beam. Do we have any webOS expatriates in the house? Are there any particular features of webOS that you'd still like to see emulated in Android, or has Palm's operating system already made any mark on the world that it was fated to make? Anyone with a Galaxy Nexus interested in seeing what it's like to use webOS once the software is in a more usable state?

Via: webOS Nation


Reader comments

Samsung Galaxy Nexus gets gesture area care of Open webOS


Man, I really miss WebOS.. it was the best OS I have use on mobile phone.
I hope it makes it as Open Sources, and ends up working (well) on fast hardware..

yes, its a great OS but lack of apps, widgets and multitasking I installed Android on my touchpad.

I miss switching between apps with the long swipe! Man, I wish HP just made WebOS a UI for Android like Sense or Touchwiz. Take the Google Search bar off the home screen and put it at the top of the card view along with your five dock buttons at the bottom. Swipe up to close/kill an app, swipe down to take a snapshot. The gesture area would only need the Home button, swipe or tap for back, menu light would appear when needed. Maybe hold home for voice search and two finger/thumb swipe up for keyboard to search. Keep Jellybean notifications but just a tap in notifications bar would reveal them like WebOS.

+1 I loved webOS and I still think it's the best multitasking mobile OS. My Evo 4G LTE has cards, but not usable like webOS was, especially on the Pre 3 and Touchpad. The lack of apps and hardware is why I'm here now, and I love the hardware, but I do feel like Android isn't as clean to use.

I am in the same boat with all ex-webOSers. I hope it gets high quality ports and I hope the community keeps building apps and I hope HP doesn't ever do to it what it did just over a year ago.

It's easy to clean house when there's nothing making it dirty ;)

WebOS was pleasant to use and fun because it was different, but it just lacked support and official hardware was crap.

I don't think webOS's issue was just hardware, although that played a role. Mostly, it was adoption rate, and thus, apps. It all comes down to apps. There just weren't enough, and HP pulled the plug before they could make a serious effort to speed/spread adoption.

Hopefully some of the better bits and pieces -- namely, the cards -- can be snagged and integrated into Android.

Honestly, Cards aren't the only thing I miss.

webOS' integrated chat/sms app was the best in class.
webOS' integrated voice/video/phone app was the best in class.
webOS' mail app still beats the pants off the weird gmail/mail separation in android.
Just Type was way better than the Google search option, from a design perspective.

The whole operating system was far more uniform from a design perspective, and there was so much more to the card metaphor than just the running apps view. People seem to dismiss it as just that piece, but stacks became important to me, and I wanted to see the card metaphor expand to having your Deck (launcher), Hand (current apps in live state), and Table (Widgets).

finally, "rooting" a webOS phone is as easy as typing upupdowndownleftrightleftrightbastart and clicking "Developer Mode". Then you can have root, no questions asked. That OS was the most developer friendly that's hit the market yet.

Edit: Two more things: Unobtrusive notifications--the android window shade thing is a humongous waste of space; a swipe down quick settings menu that allows me to adjust my volume, screen brightness, enable/disable radios, and see/connect to wifi networks. It is annoying to have to swipe down a thing that takes over my whole screen, then click settings, then click wifi, then click the network i want to join. In webos, it was swipe, tap, and all the while you could still see what you were doing, so it didn't feel like a *mental* interruption. It didn't feel like *another task*.


I miss webOS tremendously. I moved onto Android due to my company dropping support for the Pre+ I had, but I could do everything much easier on the pre+ than I can on my Android phone.

I had the original Pre, and there was a lot of things to love about WebOS. I liked its notification system a lot. I'd like to see the "swipe to delete" gesture on Android. That was always a quick way to get rid of emails you didn't care about, among other things.

I gave my girl my TouchPad and then my Xoom (Jelly Bean and All) and she still prefers the TouchPad...

I would like to see the Text/Chat Synergy... I want to go to one place and have all my instant messages appear by Contact. (Text, Google+, Google Talk, FaceBook, Yahoo, etc...). This was incredibly useful. I could chat by person instead of by app. I've found some apps that will merge a lot of the chats, but none of them do it with the Text messages.

Wave Launcher looks like it does a good job of simulating where the WebOs bar was going, but I haven't bit on the $2 bucks yet.

I also think that WebOS handled Contact synergy significantly better than anything I've seen on Android thus far.

ya i agree. that made talking to one person across all platforms easy. it was in one thread for that one person, didnt matter if it was gchat, aim or a text message.

more swipe control as well, the pre was awesome with swiping to do everything. no phone has come close to all that was done with the swipe then webos

ICS does a good job of simulating the cards with it's task switcher, but Multi-Tasking, in general, worked a WHOLE lot better on WebOs then it does on my Sprint E4GL (One X)

I bought wave launcher and it was kinda cool but it made typing on any keyboard difficult because if you hit the spacebar too low it wouldn't recognize and it would think you're trying to swipe up the menu.

I miss task switching with Cards.
I miss synergy
I miss the unobtrusive notification system.

I have yet to find a mobile operating system that worked as intuitively as webOS. Even with the lack of apps, I was more productive with my pre than I am on Android or iOS. And yeah, that includes my Galaxy Nexus.

This post is bringing back a lot of bad feelings directed at HP.


Ditto. I'll be buying a new Windows 8 Laptop within the next few months. I GUARANTEE it will NOT be an HP.

I'm willing to say that 70% of ex-webOS users/lovers have switched to Android.

I absolutely loved webOS, while the features themselves have pretty much all been taken to Android (cards that you can swipe to close programs, interactive notifications that you can swipe to delete single ones while keeping others, and even gestures are making their way into everyday use for Android) the thing Android can't mimic is the simplicity that the gestures brought to using the phone. I could go back on any app by swiping my thumb along the bottom instead of looking for the back button, I could switch programs by swiping up on the bottom, I could open my app drawer within an app by swiping up twice on the bottom... things like that. It was so intuitive and really nailed what a mobile OS should be. I never had to look for a back button, home button, or recent tasks button... I just kept my eyes focused on the main part of the screen.

That being said, I can't ever see porting this thing to my GNex. Besides the obvious lack of support for it in the apps/development department, it has fallen behind Android in many areas that I just don't want to live without. The smoothness of Jellybean and the way JB does notifications alone is enough to not switch back to webOS at this point.

It's a shame every other phone in the world didn't realize how awesome the TouchStone was... so convenient. Yeah Apple has a cord where you don't have to look at which direction it is facing to see if you're plugging it in correctly... 4 years ago I could just set my Pre down on a puck, without having to worry about which direction a cord is facing, and have it angled towards me so I can see if I had any notifications and start charging.

And lets not forget how simple and awesome Preware was... so much easier than rooting/flashing new roms to change even the most minuet feature on your phone

I recently left the desert wasteland that was webOS and I do miss a couple of things that the little-OS-that-could offered.

I think Palm had it right when they thought up the Gesture area. iPhone sucks it up (as always) with the button-that-always-breaks and Android just feels like it's missing something with the three-option-approach. Even though the soft buttons of Vanilla feel MUCH better, I think the Gesture area of webOS was where the party was at. It was a notification bar, back/forward button, and close button all rolled into one!

Finally, you'd be amiss to not mention the card system. Even on inferior hardware (Thanks for nothing HP) the stuff just worked. Samsung is getting it right with the split-screen aspect of the Note 2, but if you could get those two ideas together and have a baby, then you've got a great future of mobile tech.

Yes, another die hard webOS fan here. Finally jumped when seeing the GS3.

A few things that still have yet to be brought in from webOS that haven't been mentioned.

1) Notifications can be opened (in ICS) by swiping down from the top - just like webOS. However, doing the same thing (swiping down from the top) should also dismiss the notification page. Currently, you have to pull the tab up from the bottom of the screen to make it go away - or, yes the back button.

2) Swipe up from the bottom to bring up the "cards". Holding down the physical (damn Samsung) button to bring up the app "cards" is just so jarring and time consuming coming from webOS.

I am so happy to finally see Matias Duarte's influence start to show through.

Regarding the touchstone - anyone who hasn't actually used one for any length of time has no idea just how excellent it is. It is easy to dismiss the concept as a minor convenience. It is truly transformative. That said, the potential for GS3's wireless charging was another big draw for me. In fact, I'm currently working on the touchstone hack of putting a pixie charger coil in my GS3. Pretty psyched to finish the project.

looking into putting a different launcher on your phone, like Apex or Nova, you can add gestures to do whatever you want. Like swiping up on the home screen to bring up recent apps or double tap on the homescreen to bring up settings

Nope, nope, nope. Credit for trying, but you are light years from understanding.

Gestures in webOS were the same across the ENTIRE operating system. Not just the launcher or home screen. The back gesture in one context works the same in virtually every other context. Developers *could* hijack certain gestures, but that was only used when that gesture's understood function was not applicable in the given situation; for example, to access the color and brush controls in webOS's early painting app, Paintr.

The maddening inconsistency with Android's back button is a source of constant frustration for me. There are times when you need to go back one screen in the same app and other times when you need to back to the previous app. WebOS's two back gestures (half swipe and full swipe) did this effortlessly. Android's single back button can't, so the OS and/or Dev chooses for you. For me, at least, I frequently expect it to do the opposite of what it ends up doing.

I absolutely loved the touchstone and the wave launcher. Although the touchstone hasn't made the transition yet, the wave launcher is available in the PlayStore for download. I'm still a WebOs fan.

im a switcher from the pre.. let me tell you, i loved the simplicity of the entire os. it was so easy to tweak, and to open up to play with. it literally would do everything you could think of because of palms willingness to continue investing in the homebrew community. I hate that about my android, if you hate the baked in overlay you have to root it, you then have to load a new rom, restore your apps, just to get the tweaks you want, and at times you find what you load may be good in one thing, but not good in the other.

I know there is some dedicated developers and i love them for their work, but i think android should pull more from webos, as it is now open it can be done, maybe branch off an android based enyo business unit.

just my thoughts.

My fiancee had a Palm Pre2 (or pro, whatever one VZW had for a while) and she really loved that phone. It was tough to get her switched over to Android but she finally took the plunge. She's by no means a "techie", so doesn't mind her DINC2 (most days at least). But I know she really liked WebOS, and what little I messed with her phone I can see why she and many others liked it so well. As many have pointed out there were a lot of great features to like about it. Maybe if they get this WebOS port working near flawlessly on the GNex in the months to come I'll see about converting my GNex to WebOS for her and handing it down and moving myself to the new Nexus 4!!! LOL

I loved 8 track tapes too but....

Strategy, if you've got the best thing going (WebOS) but don't aggressively market it to destroy the competition (much like Android is attempting when competing with Apple), then don't even play. Commercials sell devices. HP should have known that.

funny enough, I fired up my original Palm Pre the other night just for nostalgia. I loved webOS at the time, but man that device is slow, webOS is slow, and although some of the design elements are great, the interface is cartoony. probably doesn't help that it was so low-res, but I am an Android convert, and I don't miss much from WebOS. The gestures were great, and the notifications as well, although they are implemented a little better in JB as far as I'm concerned. Card switching and multitasking was great in theory, however, after a few cards it became pretty unpleasant to use. All in all, I think Android is a logical and more functional evolution of where WebOS was trying to go.

I had the Pre Plus before getting my current SGS2 Skyrocket.

Things I miss about my Pre:
The gesture area
Pretty sweet/unique form factor
Card view/multitasking
Touchstone dock (seriously - how has that not caught on? it was amazing! SERIOUSLY!!)

Things I don't miss about my Pre:
Tiny keyboard (seriously, even my wife hated how small it was)
Wasted space on home screen (adding widgets to WebOS would have been AMAZING)
TOTAL lack of app support.

I still, at least so far, would say the Pre Plus was my favorite phone ever had, but that's probably me just being nostalgic - I do love my Skyrocket.

Definitely still bitter about that whole "HP-murdering-what-could-have-been-the-best-mobile-OS-ever-with-a-chainsaw-and-stomping-all-over-its-dead-lifeless-body" thing... but overall I'm happy with the progress Android is making - WAY superior to iOS.

I miss WebOS. I had a PalmPre and a Touchpad and they were great devices. I would love to have it on my Nexus so I can play with it again. The cards were the best part of it. Apps were the worst part since there weren't too many.

Pretty much agree with all the above, I had a Pre+ then a Pre2 and a Touchpad.
The synergy implementation was great and a huge timesaver, the card/stacking philosophy was the best multitasking environment I think I've ever used (including desktop).

Ironically, the thing I miss more than anything about the webOS phones was nothing to do with the software, Touchstone charging, seriously if someone can patent that into a standard interface like USB I think it would be a license to print money!

The open attitude of Palm to the developer community was pretty special too, they positively encouraged the userbase to try things out on the phone, the good ideas often made their way into the next OS release too. The webOS doctor was another sign of their open nature, it provided a one stop means to get you back to stock when the inevitable screw up happened. Unless you were modifying hardware stuff and physically damaged something it was pretty much impossible to screw it up so bad that the doctor couldn't recover your device.
It was a sad day when HP effectively killed them off as a mainstream competitor, I don't see Open webOS being anything more than novelty.

I miss my Palm Pre :) I still use my touchpad for email and web surfing while playing skyrim. Have to hit that skyrim wiki every once in a while

Stuff like this that hardens my resolve to get a GNex. WebOS, Firefox OS etc. it's the phone most likely to get everything hacked onto it.

The day after webosnation reported that someone had succeeded in porting Open webOS 1.0 to the Galaxy Nexus, I went out and ordered an unlocked one from Google. I admit I'd been on the fence before that (my friend, and fellow former Pre user, had gotten one, and Android 4.1 has come leaps and bounds in terms of usability), but that cemented it.

As I said, Android 4.1 has come a long way in usability, but it's still not as smoothly consistent and polished as webOS is. I'm really hoping that someone figures out how to dual-boot this.

Synergy. Such a simple thing, but no one else has even come close to matching what WebOS had on the Synergy front.

In my fondest dreams I envision Google buying up the Palm operations from HP and integrating the gestures and synergy of WebOS into Android, then beating Apple over the skull with Palm's patents.

Come on Matias... make this happen.

I'm really hoping that Matias Duarte [really] is only 1/3 of the way done with Android.

Gingerbread felt like one of those homes on Hoarders: everything was there, but no one thought much about where anything should go. ICS is better, of course, and JB should feel even better (even though I'll hate losing Flash.) Hopefully Android can be as good – in it's own way – but that's still several letter versions away.

I miss the "every thing is united" thing although a point i also disliked. I had installed Plug-Ins for additional protocolls Facebook, Live Messenger, ICQ and i was allways online via the build-in messaging app. i could see who is online from the contacts list or in the dedicated app. Universal Search was truly universal and it gave me options. search the web, a cetain portal, apps, contacts and so on and on. what i hated was the heavy dependency from the internet, since everythig was stored online and the synergy stuff was not flexible. well if i could build my own OS it would be full of ideas from webOS, Nokia S40/S60, SonyEricsson feature phones and Android...well 90%Androind, rest are inspirations for a better OS.

Android is coming along. I'm really enjoying the ride with Android, and Matias only considers it 1/3 of the way to what he envisions! I wonder what other WebOS stuff will make it over to future versions of Android.

I also wonder how often Matias uses his old WebOS phone, and maybe which model he has...

Most of what I loved about web os has been documented above so I won't go into a tedious list except to say that web os was, and still is, the best of the bunch. If Palm had had deep enough pockets to have hardware with the quality to match the software at the original Pre's launch, things would be different today. But alas and alack. It is my great hope that now that there is an open source web os, courtesy of the weasels at HP, some of Palm's visionary greatness will not be lost on the future developers of Android.

I miss synergy, gestures and especially the messaging app. how all messaging to a contact was in one place. If I sent a group message it was copied into their thread. Also, the timestamp for messages was based on sent vs receipt time. I hope the Android devs pay attention and implement these features. I would likely go back to WebOS though.