UI ideas/questions or can we animate things as smooth as iPhone?

Tomasz Zielinski tomasz.zielinski at gmail.com
Wed Jun 6 14:52:33 CEST 2007

2007/6/6, Fabien <fleutot+openmoko at gmail.com>:

> And I think openmoko can lead to real improvements in this domain, if:
> - some people with the right social skills make the UI improvement effort
> run smoothly.

iPhone is fascinating because it's GUI is so responsive and so smooth.

Unfortunately, current OpenMoko GUI running on GTA01 is exactly
opposite - every icon tap causes lag, busy indicator isn't too
reliable and user experience is hit by overall slowness.

As we know, much less powered machines (like 7MHz Amiga with Workbench
and even 1MHz C64 with Geos) had enough resources to provide rich and
usable user interface. I mentioned PalmOS some time ago - it executed
programs in-place so most apps started literally in half a second.

Question to FIC Team an/or other embedded developers: is it possible
to speed up OpenMoko GUI responsiveness by a factor of 10 or the
guilty is too-multi-tiered architecture of Xorg/GTK/Matchbox set?

If with GTK/Matchbox we cannot achieve such rich, fluid and, erm...,
fluid GUI as iPhone, maybe it's not too late to drop GTK and choose
other framework, designed for mobile devices and running quick
framebuffer operations? GameBoy provided nice full-screen animations
in 1989, eighteen years ago.

I'm 100% sure nobody will cry after pure-X11 applications we loose
this way. Almost every GTK application would require rewriting/porting
to fit OpenMoko capabilities, so it's not great loss too. Not to
mention font and other DPI-aware issues.

If OpenMoko will be judged as "poor's man iPhone look and feel", it
won't be attractive ever. To attract public attention we need at least
one demo application which can animate elegant GUI with colorful
widgets (e.g. album covers) as nice and smooth as we saw at iPhone
commercials. If it cannot be done, it will be hard to advertise Neo,
because youtube screencasts is today primary way people become
acquainted with new device's user interfaces.

Tomek Z.
tomasz.zielinski at gmail.com

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