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Android applications should not be grouped in the same window [released]

asked 2013-12-24 17:57:25 +0200

updated 2013-12-25 10:58:58 +0200

eric gravatar image

Problem: At the moment in Jolla, if you open multiple Android applications they are all grouped under the same window and you have to use the Android task switcher to switch them.

This is both annoying, not user friendly and also unsafe. Annoying because you have to do more operations. Not user friendly because you have to perform two different operations to switch from an application to another one. unsafe because if by mistake you close the Android window you close ALL the Android applications.

Take example from BlackBerry 10 OS. They have a similar Android layer but Android apps look independent from the others.

Proposed solution: please launch the Android applications in a separate window.

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The question has been closed for the following reason "released in a software update" by Andrea Grandi
close date 2014-07-16 09:51:02.979917



I am desperately waiting for more native Apps to make Salifish even better and more easy to use. The focus on Adroid is for my opinion a step in the wrong direction.

hewi ( 2013-12-25 20:27:48 +0200 )edit

Agree. Making Alien Dalvik better is good, but Jolla needs to focus on Sailfish itself.

parasemic ( 2013-12-25 20:33:33 +0200 )edit

Having native applications for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc... would be the ideal solution, no doubt about it. But is it the most doable solution in the short time? No, it's not. Until that time, we should make the use of Android apps easier as possible.

Andrea Grandi ( 2013-12-25 20:53:47 +0200 )edit

Sailfish's main argument is the UX, and focusing on Android does not put that to the front. Still, currently the Jolla without Android apps is way less interesting, so getting Android apps working correctly is an investment so more native apps can be created later. IMHO...

Xowap ( 2014-01-03 15:12:06 +0200 )edit

9 Answers

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answered 2013-12-24 23:06:48 +0200

parasemic gravatar image

updated 2013-12-25 00:46:53 +0200

To understand why this might be impossible, you need to understand how the Alien Dalvik works. First of all, I haven't used BBOS10 devices, but I know it's android support is a different infrastructure. Alien Dalvik is a virtual android device, and acts just like an android device. Yes you can install google play, yes you can install a launcher and operate it from there, and yes it has it's own settings eg. the volume which is way too low at default (download volume controller app for android to fix this!!!).

The apps think they are layered on top of each other, just like on an android device. Thats why the topmost application won't send notifications, as it thinks you are currently watching it on an android devices screen (as Jolla doesn't send information about screen turning off to Alien). Unfortunately all this means it might not be possible to have more than one cover for the android apps, without having multiple Alien Dalviks running the same time (which would give a huge hit to the power consumption).

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Interesting. I hope really a way to handle the display can be achieved. I'm thinking VMware with Unity view, plus Wine support of Windows apps on Linux.

Faz ( 2013-12-25 00:11:03 +0200 )edit

On BB10 (and the Playbook) devices android apps all run in their own separate windows. How BB have done that, no idea.

onion ( 2013-12-27 23:56:46 +0200 )edit

Most likely their infrastructure is based on actually running the apps, and not emulating the android system like Alien Dalvik does.

parasemic ( 2013-12-28 20:05:17 +0200 )edit

answered 2013-12-25 18:15:07 +0200

MartinK gravatar image

updated 2013-12-25 18:15:25 +0200

Given the architecture of the Alien Dalvik virtual device, as described by parasemic, I think individual Android applications covers could be implemented/hacked together like this: - individual running Android applications would have their own covers - last used application cover is connected to the live output of the Alien Dalvik virtual device - other Android covers have just a static screenshot taken when user switched out of the application (maybe with a pause icon on top ?) - when user switched back to such "screenshot cover", screenshot of the current application is taken and the AD device output switches to the new cover, the old cover being replaced by the screenshot - if the current application is closed, the live output would switch to the last used Android app

On top of my head, the following actions would need to be taken by the individual OS components:

AD = Alien Dalvik virtual device TS = Task Switcher - AD needs to tell TS if a new Android application windows is opened, so that it can add new cover and switch AD output to it - AD needs to tell TS if an Android application windows was closed, so that TS can discard the corresponding cover and divert AD output to last used Android app (if available) - TS needs to tell AD if users closes an Android app cover, so that AD can kill the corresponding app

Did I miss something ? :)

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By my logic this could work!

Would be lovely to have a way to kill the processes, as at the moment the android apps are running in the background and can't be closed without separate task manager app or closing the whole Alien Dalvik.

parasemic ( 2013-12-25 18:47:16 +0200 )edit

answered 2014-06-11 23:07:03 +0200

ssahla gravatar image

updated 2014-06-11 23:37:48 +0200

It seems this is planned for update 8 (July).


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@TK so much "I"s on your comment :) I think, you should convert your comment to an answer, so that the crowd can vote for it. Democracy for the win! :)

ejjoman ( 2014-06-11 23:41:03 +0200 )edit

Who said that we have democracy? I want the gapps to be grouped! :D In ''your'' opinion it's a little bit late now.

TK ( 2014-06-12 01:06:48 +0200 )edit

In my opinion there are things with higher priority than this. Btw: I like it the way it is now and I don't want to "mix up" the Android applications with the native ones in the homescreen.

torcida ( 2014-06-12 11:13:03 +0200 )edit

answered 2013-12-24 18:08:33 +0200

updated 2013-12-24 18:09:27 +0200

I for one don't mind that at all as their not native applications. I think we could have a stacked covers.

One example from the N9 is that I used to have at least 3 messaging windows open to switch quickly between conversations, on the Jolla it's a single window.

I do think it would be cool if lets say Messaging app windows could be stacked under one cover and special long press or something else could expand the windows of that cover and from there you could go to whichever conversation you wanted.

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Or you could switch between apps by swiping cover. See this:

LaruX ( 2013-12-28 22:26:57 +0200 )edit

answered 2013-12-29 02:05:06 +0200

ramoth gravatar image

updated 2013-12-31 17:21:15 +0200

As another Option I just put this question I posted today (and at the same time close the original post)

Android runtime App cover should allow switching between currently running apps I think it would be useful to have swipe gestures left/right on the active cover to allow quick switching of the cover preview between currently open Android Apps.

Edit 31.12.2013: Tipping the active cover should then bring directly to the currently shown app. Edit end

Maybe this would also at least partially solve the discussed points. I like it, that all Android Apps run in one active cover, as this allows me to simply identify them and they don't take too much space, even though some are running. However, active cover should allow to differentiate them.

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I think this might be the most elegant solution!

thisisme ( 2013-12-31 09:55:29 +0200 )edit

answered 2014-06-12 01:08:58 +0200

TK gravatar image

If it is possible please do that optional! I Iike it the way it is right now! I have a launcher intalled and the phone performs like an android device. I rarely use android apps, but when I use them I want them to perform as they would on any android device! Wouldnt you?
Other solutions are welcome!

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who the hell did downvote an "optional" request? +1 from my side!

chemist ( 2014-06-12 03:07:26 +0200 )edit

+1 from me, too. I like the idea, that every Android app gets it's own window, But customizability is never bad!

ejjoman ( 2014-06-12 07:54:49 +0200 )edit

@TK Since it is already planned for the update 8 in July, maybe you could make this request a separate question so it would be noticed better and possibly attract more votes.

Neo ( 2014-06-12 13:17:48 +0200 )edit

Actually customisability can often be bad. It leads to laziness in design decisions (ie. "I don't have to think about this as I'll just make it an option") and adds UI complexity. It's why so many opensource applications are highly frustrating as they slap you with a barrage of options without a clear indication of what is relevant, what isn't.

The question to ask yourselves: if they were separate windows from the start (ie. no option, no grouping), would anybody be complaining? Would anybody even consider it should be any other way?

Setok ( 2014-06-12 13:23:06 +0200 )edit

@Setok The answer to your question is 'Yes', because there are and would be users looking for a genuine Android style experience.

My view on customisability is that where a user can be given a choice that option should be open to them. The real question is how those choices are presented to the user. The Jolla phone is a good example of this itself, as the more options you have the greater your ability to express yourself but Jolla address this question of options by introducing new ways to interact with the phone.

In short more options do not imped UI design, bad UI design impeds UI design.

An extreme example of this is the famous mock Apple product - the Mac Book Wheel. Look it up.

dies_felices ( 2014-06-12 14:07:24 +0200 )edit

answered 2013-12-28 21:25:02 +0200

Bale gravatar image

If multiple covers for Android apps is too difficult to do, at least the runtime cover could indicate how many are open. I created another feature request for this:

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answered 2013-12-24 22:41:48 +0200

Matoking gravatar image

The way I'd like to see it is that you have a cover for every open Android application. The Android application that is currently visible in the Myriad Alien VM has its content visible on the cover, just like how it works at the moment. The other Android applications that are open but not currently visible instead show the application icon on the cover.

Of course, that's assuming that Myriad Alien supports that.

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answered 2013-12-25 03:58:18 +0200

chemist gravatar image

So what you are asking is something not even android does but as you are used to multitasking you are asking for several instances... keep in mind that android does come with a taskswitcher!

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dungmourice ( 2017-03-01 15:34:15 +0200 )edit

To understand why this might be impossible, you need to understand how the Alien Dalvik works. First of all, I haven't used BBOS10 devices, but I know it's android support is a different infrastructure. five nights at freddy's

anthonysmith ( 2018-09-26 11:36:38 +0200 )edit

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Asked: 2013-12-24 17:57:25 +0200

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Last updated: Jun 12 '14