February 23, 2009

The Gesture Area: What’s Possible?

Filed under: Musings — mikecane @ 2:38 pm


One of the distinguishing differences between the Pre and regular smartphones is its Gesture Area, below the screen, highlighted below:


It’s bilateral, separated by the center button which invokes the Card View.

We’ve seen three gestures demonstrated.


Back, which I’ve illustrated on the left side above. It can also be done on the right side of the Gesture Area, with the same leftward swiping movement.


To invoke the Wave Quick Launcher, begin in the Gesture Area and swipe and hold towards the interior of the screen. Again, this can be done on the right side too.


To call up the full Application Launcher, begin in the Gesture Area and swipe and lift inside the screen. As well, it can be done on the right side.

Those are the three Gestures we’ve seen.

Are others possible?

What about this:


Two fingers beginning at the outer edges of both left and right sides and moving inward?

Or this:


Two fingers beginning near the center button on both left and right sides and moving outward?

For that matter, what about using the Gesture Area for tapping?

No, don’t ask me what these other possible gestures could be used for. That’s up to application developers — if Palm hasn’t already reserved those movements.



  1. One thing of interest is that the gesture area can be controlled by software applications.

    I remember one video that showed that when in the browser in landscape, you can do a gesture up from the button to scroll up and down from the button to scroll down (like your 3rd image).

    Comment by JayCanuck — February 23, 2009 @ 2:55 pm | Reply

    • *facepalm* I’d forgotten about landscape scrolling in web pages.

      Comment by mikecane — February 23, 2009 @ 4:16 pm | Reply

  2. I don´t know either of course, but I doubt there´s multitouch down there as it seems to me that the reason for the gesture area is “one-handiness”. It´s in reach of the the thumb while the keyboard is also in reach. If you´re going to use two hands you might as well multi-touch gesture on the UI object in question. Any takers ?

    Comment by Thomas B — February 23, 2009 @ 2:58 pm | Reply

    • Yeah, I understand that too. But it didn’t sop me from doing the post anyway! Ha!

      Comment by mikecane — February 23, 2009 @ 4:17 pm | Reply

  3. I don’t know where, but remember seeing that if you just “hold” down on that area and “select” with another finger text, that’s one way of doing Copy/Paste. So its not only for movements, but also for shift, alt ect. I think.

    Comment by Mahootzki — February 23, 2009 @ 4:54 pm | Reply

  4. Another great post, Mike. The landscape scrolling is a cool feature, but I wonder if it limits web nav a bit since it replaces the gesture area swipe for back. On this topic, since you mentioned some gesture based app launching on older Palm versions, I wonder if we will see some expanded interfacing along those lines.

    Also, as soon as I saw the touch capable gesture area on the Pre I immediately thought “this is HTC hardware”, here’s why:

    Comment by Galt — February 23, 2009 @ 8:40 pm | Reply

  5. How about a semi-circular swipe to the left – possible use as redo or a similar swipe to the right as undo.

    Comment by Afaebe — February 24, 2009 @ 9:20 am | Reply

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