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PreCentral: Checking out the Galaxy Nexus Open webOS port virtual keyboard [video]

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Checking out the Galaxy Nexus Open webOS port virtual keyboard

Having successfully completed the build process for the Open webOS alpha on the Galaxy Nexus, I knew that the next time it came around I'd have a better idea of what to do. Mostly because I'd already failed a dozen times before. This time around, armed with a modicum of knowledge, I was able to complete the build process for the latest version of WebOS Ports' alpha without running into any bumps.

The reason for running the latest version of the build was to check out the latest modifications made. While behind-the-scenes bits have been improved, what we were most interested in checking out the user interface improvements and the the virtual keyboard discovered and implemented by Josh Palmer (known around the webOS sphere as ShiftyAxel).

Palmer's modifications have brought back some of the classic bits of the webOS smartphone user interface, including rounded corners and the bottom-aligned notifications bar. He's also tweaked it so app icons appear at a size more appropriate for the Galaxy Nexus's screen (it's worth restating that the Open webOS released to open source was designed for TouchPad-size screens). But the new virtual keyboard was what we really wanted to check out, especially after tooling around with the practically fun-sized keyboard shrunken down from the TouchPad.

The made-for-smartphones keyboard is notably taller than the shrunken TouchPad keyboard. It's also been rearranged, losing the top row of numbers to a more traditional spot hidden behind a '123' key with other special characters. The layout has a lot in common with other smartphone virtual keyboards on the market, including the iOS and Android keyboards. A lot of the old TouchPad functionality is there, including pressing and holding on keys to bring up alternate versions of that character.

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