Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Direction Eden Panels Need To Go (Notion Ink Adam)

     If you don't know what a Notion Ink Adam is, please head over to my explainer page here. Panels are the magic of Eden. They are the basis of the entire UI. They are designed to give you a portion of an app to view next to two other panels. Part of the panel design is to not give full functionality to these panels to save resources and battery. This is a good system, but there are so many places Notion Ink could go with it.
     Android recently had an event to detail their new honeycomb (Android 3.0) OS update. While you probably already know about it, I'll explain it anyway. Honeycomb is built for tablets. Google detailed app fragments to make app that have extra menus and screens when on a bigger screen, but lose the extras for a regular smartphone. Unlike the iPad, an android app can now have one version for both phone and tablet. In his most recent blog post Rohan stated the "Fragments is what panels are".

     We all know that the Adam needs the market. The reason that it doesn't have the market now is because they are all phone apps that look stupid on a huge screen. Why shouldn't we be able to run these phone apps in a panel to avoid blowing it to outlandish proportions? This won't work with all apps (like landscape apps), and it would tax the resources a little harder. For the apps that won't work in panels it doesn't hurt the enlarge an app every once-in-a-while. As for the added pressure on the processor... well I don't have a plan for that.

     Smartphone apps in panels is slightly less of a good idea in froyo as compared to honeycomb. Honeycomb brings app fragments into play for excellent panel integration. You could have the full tablet mode of the app in full screen, and have the slightly stripped phone rendition of the app in the panel. This may have been what Rohan meant when he made is statement about fragments, but it doesn't seem likely. When Notion Ink pushes out the honeycomb update for the Adam the market is coming with it, and the market will come with a plethora of smartphone apps. Notion Ink, please put panels to good use.

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