User Interface idea

Peter A Trotter peter.trotter at
Mon Aug 13 09:37:46 CEST 2007

Sounds like an interesting idea. Perhaps a gesture could be used to swap,
not sure how you would make that clear to a user though.

I need to carve out some coding time :S


On 12/08/07, Derek Pressnall <dpressnall at> wrote:
> One of the things that I've found on most pda-phones/smartphones is
> that they make the phone capabilities feel like just another
> application.  But when you want to use the device as a phone, it would
> be nice for the rest of the features to melt into the background.  The
> Motorola A780 does this nicely; it is a pda-phone when the flip is
> opened, but with the flip closed it becomes a regular feature-phone.
> So, that gives me an idea for UI layout.  First, have the interface
> support two virtual desktops, most likely via the window manager.  The
> primary desktop (PDA desktop) would remain how OpenMoko has it
> currently laid out.   The second desktop (PHONE desktop), however,
> should resemble the face of a normal phone.  The bottom half (or two
> thirds, whatever) of the screen would have a permanent phone keypad
> displayed (the keypad app), includuding directional buttons and
> several special-purpose buttons (answer/disconnect, function-A,
> function-B, Menu, OK, etc.).  Any application running in the Phone
> desktop would only be able to write to the window in the upper part of
> the screen, and they would receive their input through the keypad app
> runnin in the bottom.  The keypad app could have an API so that apps
> can request that certain keys be re-labled when that app is in the
> forground, but other than that the keypad would always display a
> similar layout for any running app.  This would enforce a consistant
> feel among the various apps.
> Now any app that wants to use the secondary Phone desktop would have
> to be specifically coded for it; I'm thinking that apps such as the
> Dialer would be running in the background, and have an active
> connection to the Phone desktop along with the PDA desktop.  The list
> of apps that should have Phone desktop capabilities would include the
> Dialer, SMS/Email, Media player, Calculator.
> Also, I haven't decided what the best method of switching between
> desktops should be -- should a common button that appears in both
> desktops toggle between the two, or should there be two buttons that
> appear on each desktop, at opposite sides of the screen, so that you
> know that hitting the lower left corner of the display will always
> bring up the Phone desktop (even if it is already displayed).  Or
> maybe have one of the hardware buttons assigned to this task.
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