PlayBook Tidbits #2

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More small observations from the goings-on at CES in 2011.

  1. In the video with Mike Lazaridis we can see some interesting new navigating gestures Mike uses. Note that these aren't available on the SDK yet:
    1. While swiping sideways between running apps without minimizing them so the Navigator is visible, he can flick an app upwards to terminate it. This is similar to how you close them in the shuttle bar area in Navigator but it's new.
    2. In the "between-app" view (as above), you can just drag left or right to continuing moving between apps, rather than having to swipe in from one of the bezels as you do in the current SDK. He even shows holding position between two apps while they both keep rendering. Obviously you can also just swipe from the bezel but that's really needed only to enter this new "switching mode".
    3. (This wasn't Mike, but my own observation on the simulator.) You can not only swipe up to expand the icon area, but you can swipe up again to minimize it. Not sure that will make it through to the production unit since it might be too inconsistent for user comfort.
  2. In the Navigator, in the category selection area above the app icons, there are arrow icons that you use to maximize or shrink the icon area. In many of the CES demo units you can now also see a little "pencil" icon at the left edge.'s latest video shows that you can use this to reorganize your app icons in the Navigator.
  3. In the beta SDK a minimized app had a red X close widget in the upper right corner. In the demo units it has moved down to follow the app title (a good move).
  4. The three simultaneous ray-tracing demos running side-by-side, with Mike interacting with them in realtime, pretty much prove that this baby kicks any wimpy Star Trek gadgetry in the teeth. Take that, 24th century technology!
  5. Someone pointed out in one video that along the top is not just one but two microphones... stereo. In theory that could be a big help for noise cancellation, though I don't know if the stereo nature of it will be exposed up through to the AIR APIs.
  6. Mike L. mentions that the "USB connection can drive Ethernet", so they either have or intend to have driver support for some USB-Ethernet adapters. This is good for anyone thinking of driving serious business presentations out the HDMI without risking wireless glitches (assuming your source is on a network). (For anyone who hadn't heard, by the way, the HDMI output can technically function as an independent display, which would totally rock for business presentations, or just for letting someone watch a video on your TV while you surf the web.)
  7. Mike commented that running his third instance of the ray-tracing app would start to slow down the system, so clearly they have the multicore support functioning in the demo units now. Or, at least, in his!
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