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Old 05-25-2005, 05:51 PM   #1
Bob Russell
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Project Rome: Next Generation PalmOS User Interface Revealed

Larry Slotnick, Chief Products Officer for PalmSource, has revealed this morning a significant initiative called "Project Rome." Project Rome is a new next generation user interface architecture designed to simplify user interaction on phones.

The new and revolutionary UI for smartphones is coming soon to phones via PalmSource, and is designed to handle interruptibility and smaller screens which characterize the situation faced by phone users. It provides order independence, so that for example, one can currently be on a call, and have the option to see a picture, and send it to someone. Or conversely, when someone is looking at the picture they can choose to send it. The idea is that whatever you are doing, you will find help in the UI to do the things that you might want to do next.

The UI also features single hand operability and supports devices that may not have a touchscreen. It will appear next year in the form of a product.
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Old 05-31-2005, 05:17 PM   #2
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Interesting. I wonder what they will do. Hopefully, it will not be so window driven that it would be easy to get lost. Nav-ability aside, too many windows makes screens look cluttered no matter what the resolution.

I also wonder how much of that will trickle into the non-telephony devices. I know I love the one handed nav on my T5 enough that I want it on my laptop; so it has to be at least that good.
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Old 05-31-2005, 06:41 PM   #3
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I know what you mean about the one-handed nav being really nice. Before I got the Treo, I thought it was a waste to implement that. Now I'm upset every time an app doesn't fully support it because it's great!!! The way it rests in my hand it's very natural to use the d-pad instead of the touchscreen. And it's amazing how much you can do easily. You have to try it to realize how nice it can be. Even hitting the application's buttons on the screen right at the bottom are just as easy.

I don't know how nice it would be on a laptop -- the screen is so big you'd have a lot of territory to cover with your thumb!
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Old 06-01-2005, 12:27 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobR
I know what you mean about the one-handed nav being really nice. Before I got the Treo, I thought it was a waste to implement that. Now I'm upset every time an app doesn't fully support it because it's great!!! The way it rests in my hand it's very natural to use the d-pad instead of the touchscreen.
Therein lies the crux.... remember the older Palm devices? The case was actually thicker on the left side because most people (so they thought at the time) are right-handed, and hold the Palm in their left hand.

You've got to be able to reconfigure the simpleness (a new word!) of the navigation interface for multiple users who may be right, left, or both-handed (as I am). Also, there are people who use these devices, but may be arthritic or have other hand impairments (MS, thalidymide sufferers, etc.) They can't be ignored (though they're admittedly a smaller market, but if you're going after phones too, those people still use phones).

Being able to switch the interface from a left-side thumbwheel to a center directional rocker or touchscreen only (no stylus or keyboard or thumbwheel) without losing function inside the applications themselves, is very important.

Duplicating the code is messy and sloppy there, but being able to set some classes where hardware inherits these behaviors and the applications inherit those behaviors, makes sense.

Case in point too... I was at my new chiropractor today getting interviewed and he asked if I was right or left-handed. I replied:

"Well, both... but I write with my right hand, mostly." and then he asked:

"Well, what hand do you use your computer mouse with?", and I said:

"Well, right... because all good mouses are made for right-handed users, unless you get an 'el-cheapo' mouse that can be used with both hands, but they're not comfortable to use. Any respectable, high-quality mouse is right-handed.. But I also use a Thinkpad, and my mouse is in the center of the keyboard, and I use whatever hand is closest to it at the time to use the mouse, so I guess both... but I play hockey lefty and I eat lefty, so I guess I switch around a lot"

(He marked me down as right handed).

Our industry is still very geared towards righties.. but maybe that'll change soon enough too.
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