webOS Tablet UI Detailed: Multitouch Gestures, Virtual Keyboard, Panels and More

Also included in the Topaz leak this morning was a variety of plans for the webOS tablet user interface. Obviously there are some changes to be made for the bigger screen, but how exactly they go about upscaling webOS will be particularly interesting. Keep in mind that this is all from a planning document from last year, so some things may change before launch.

First up is something we’ve been seeing from Apple in the iPhone OS 4.3: multitouch gestures. Instead of looking for three or more fingers though, Palm is aiming to stick with two for tapping and dragging, which strikes me as a lot more practical. They’ll also be implementing a double-tap, which at this point seems like a bit of a throwback to the desktop computer experience, but could definitely have some uses. Right now, we only ever really see double-tapping to zoom in the web browser and on pictures. I’d be curious if Palm could push that boundary a little bit.

You’ll need to type on something with an all-touchscreen tablet, won’t you? Palm has already been playing with a virtual keyboard in webOS, so it’s no surprise to see it planned for the Topaz. Although webOS has always been big on unobtrusive notifications creeping up from the bottom of the screen so as to not get in the way of what you’re doing, it looks like with the added screen real estate, they’re planning some limited pop-up dialog boxes, as in the picture above for the Calendar, as well as Google maps. Speaking of which, Google Maps will also have a new menu option for saving a place to your bookmarks.

Finally, Palm is considering a panel interface much like the Notion Ink Adam, which will allow for two strips that are 320 pixels wide, plus 128 pixels to spare to separate them. Those three sections would fit exactly into the Topaz in portrait orientation (768 pixels), and with a bit of scaling down, you could fit a fourth panel in there in landscape orientation. Despite having panels on the drawing board, it looks like tabbed browsing on a webOS tablet will be more or less traditional.

All of these ideas are from a planning document, so they may not look that way on the Topaz whenever it launches, but it does give us something to expect. It seems like HP and Palm are going in the right direction with this, I’m just curious to see how it transitions from the planning stages to something a little more concrete.

[via PreCentral]

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