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Galaxy Nexus port geting a new virtual gesture area

The Open webOS porting project to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is moving along. We've already seen the port in action, and while still a work in progress, that code has been released for public hackery. There's plenty of work yet to be done to get Open webOS running well on the Galaxy Nexus, but that doesn't mean the developers working on the port aren't going to make some improvements along the way too.

Case in point, a video posted today by WebOS Ports showing off a newly-implemented virtual gesture area on the Galaxy Nexus running Open webOS. If you'll recall, Open webOS is from the user interface perspective essentially the same thing as webOS 3.0.5 on the TouchPad. And there's something the TouchPad is missing that those of us that are webOS phone users have come to know, love, and cherish: the gesture area.

Alas, the Galaxy Nexus does not have an extension of its touch panel below the screen like our beloved Pre, Pixi, and Veer smartphones. But that doesn't mean the gesture area is something we're going to have to live without. Even though we expect Open webOS 1.0 will work just fine on a Galaxy Nexus without a gesture area, there's something to be said for the one-handed operation such an addition permits.

And with all the expansive screen real estate that comes with the Galaxy Nexus, creating a virtual gesture area wouldn't be stealing away too many pixels. It's worth noting that when Samsung and Google were designing the Galaxy Nexus, they did it without hardware buttons on the chin (the Galaxy Nexus being the first Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone, and thus having virtual navigation buttons instead of physical), so the margin under the screen is fairly narrow, meaning a virtual gesture area wouldn't be too far up from where we'd expect it to be.

So create a virtual gesture area did @ShiftyAxel do. Right now it just serves to emulate the swipe-up behavior present on the TouchPad, which is a start. As WebOS Ports chief Tom King noted in response to a comment about the lack of the expected back gesture on the YouTube video, "Rome´╗┐ wasn't built in a day...takes time to implement "features"." Indeed, it does, and this is just pre-alpha at this point (they're not even releasing the code yet it's so early). But progress is progress, and we'll take that any day.

Video after the break.