Android, and basically all major mobile OS platforms, don’t use a visible windowing system Like OSX, Linux and, uh, Windows. Most of the time that’s because there just isn’t enough space on a smartphone or tablet screen for more than one application at a time. Wind River, a branch on Intel, has found a way around that restriction, and may make true user window management on Android a reality soon.

The company has developed a user interface modification that allows multiple apps to be shown on the screen simultaneously, in a manner not dissimilar to desktop operating systems. In fact it’s even got the minimize and maximize buttons that’s become a staple of desktop UI design. Obviously there isn’t much utility for smartphones, even with the incredible resolutions we’re getting as of late – the physical space of the screen just wouldn’t support this kind of multitasking. But tablets are another matter, especially considering that 1920×1200 and even higher resolution screens are rumored for the near future.

Wind River is developing the UI software to sell to manufacturers, in the hopes that they’ll incorporate it into their own customized versions of Android. The demonstration above looks like it’s running on a Cupcake or Donut build, so it’s obviously a long way from making it to modern Honeycomb or Ice Cream Sandwich machines. Still, I wouldn’t mind giving it a try, especially since there’s still no way to run videos in the background on Android.

[via Ars Technica]

  • This is ripe for lawsuits from Microsoft, not a good idea for Android (Google and it’s OEMs) as they get enough petty lawsuits from other companies as it is lol, then again it is an Intel company so maybe licensing is already done?

    • lee

      Why would this cause a lawsuit from Microsoft? This stuff is more than 30 years old! The windowed GUI was created at Xerox and later taken by Apple Microsoft and XWindows.

  • lee

    This would be a good replace for webtop, so that docked phones/tablets can have a desktop feel.

  • I think it’s crap. It kills the way we are using the tablets/smartphones – the major difference that defines that tablet is tablet and netbook is netbook. We choose tablet instead of netbook/notebook because we like the way the interface is.

    • Wutwutman

      well not really.  The majority of people choosing tablets do so because its “cool” and convenient.  Interface is a factor but no where near a major deciding at this point.  Wait till the “fad” wears off.  Then people will pay attention to more utility factors.

    • lee

      Don’t say netbook versus tablets, there have been windows tablets long before they was an ipad.

      We choose android over windows because of battery time and being able to have a device that is always on receiving messages and emails while we are not using it. Interface is secondary to that and it’s always good to have options or different modes when we want it.

  • Axel Terrier

    I think that’s great!

  • Christian

    Most of the time that’s because there just isn’t enough space on a smartphone or tablet screen for more than one application at a time. 

    so webOS never existed?
    now Android is gonna be a webOS wannabee

  • Pghawke

    “Stick It! Free Your Player”  – Windowed VIDEO Player.