GNOME Shell on Mobile Is Shaping Up Nicely, Gets New Navigation Gestures, Quick Settings

GNOME Shell on Mobile

It’s been more than three months since GNOME developer Jonas Dreßler teased us with what was done and what’s coming to the GNOME Shell for mobile devices, and now we have a new report to share with you.

In my previous report, I told you that GNOME developers are working on a native port of GNOME Shell, the main UI of the GNOME desktop environment, for mobile devices (a.k.a. Linux phones and tablets), since the release of GNOME 40.

At that point in time, the GNOME desktop on mobile already featured a fully customizable app grid with pagination, folders and drag-and-drop re-ordering of items, “stick-to-finger” horizontal workspace gestures, as well as swipe-up gestures for navigation of both the Activities Overview and App Grid.

Now, developer Jonas Dreßler shares that “there’s been a huge amount of progress” since the last update in May 2022, and that GNOME Shell on mobile received a sophisticated 2D navigation gesture system similar to what Android and iOS offer, but with a single overview for both launching and switching. Here it is in action!

“The gestures to go to the overview vertically and switch horizontally between apps are fluid, interruptible, and multi-dimensional. This allows for navigation which is not only quick and ergonomic, but also intuitive thanks to an incredibly simple spatial model,” said Dreßler. “This allows us to avoid the awkward “swipe, stop, and wait” gesture to go to multitasking that other systems rely on.”

In addition to the two-dimensional navigation gestures, GNOME Shell on mobile automatic also received a new shell search experience featuring a single-column layout for narrower screens, a revamped on-screen keyboard gesture input with a redesigned emoji keyboard that’s more in line with that of Android and iOS, as well as a new fancy gesture to hide the keyboard.

On top of that, GNOME Shell on mobile got the new Quick Settings that will also be available in the upcoming GNOME 43 desktop environment for PCs, new gestures for closing and hiding notifications, and the App Grid layout has been adapted to portrait sizes and it now features a new style for folders.

Next, the devs will be working on implementing calls on the lock screen, emergency calls, haptic feedback, PIN unlock, terminal keyboard layout adapted for mobile, more custom keyboard layouts, revamped notifications, flashlight toggle in Quick Settings, and reordering of workspaces in the Activities Overview.

Image and video credits: Jonas Dreßler

Last updated 1 year ago

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