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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

KDE Plasma for Tablets - Video Review

Tablets are all the rage right now, thanks in no small part to the success of the Apple iPad. With a number of tablets slated for launch, Linux is not falling behind with several projects aimed at taking advantage of the capabilities of tablets and other touch input devices. The KDE Plasma Mobile Tablet edition is one of those projects.

When designing Plasma, the KDE team was very keen on making the platform modular and scalable. The idea was to write code once and then adapt it to the needs of various platforms and devices.

“With Qt 4.7 a new framework has been introduced: the declarative UI, that permits to do quite fancy stuff in the QML language in a very short time. So with the development of Plasma mobile we started an experiment,” KDE developer Marco Martin wrote.

The experiment in question is a new Plasma UI for tablet devices, based on the Plasma Mobile shell. While the tablet Plasma is more of a proof-of-concept, put together in a very short time to demonstrate the power of the new features in the Qt framework.

So far, the Plasma shell has been adapted for the desktop, the very first release along with KDE SC 4. Recently the Plasma Netbook has been getting a lot of attention and is pretty much considered complete with the release of KDE SC 4.4.

The latest effort is bringing Plasma to mobile devices, a move which faces unique challenges. Screen sizes and resolutions vary from device to device. Mobile devices are also varied in scope, smartphones are very different from small tablet devices, despite the many physical similarities.

The Plasma Mobile project is still very much in development, but is already capable of handling some of the specific requirements, like touch input. Apparently, at least one manufacturer is looking to launch a tablet device based on KDE with a Plasma shell.

KDE Plasma for Tablets - Video Review

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